LESLIE: Ooh, going far north with Cathy in Alaska. Welcome. How can we help you?
CATHY: We have an older home. When we moved in there’s a lot of telephone wires and cable wires all like wrapped around the outside of the house …
CATHY: … running from the box all over the place and we’re trying to get some of that cleaned up and moved out of the way so we can paint. And we had been told that if we start – because these wires seem to not be connected to anything.
CATHY: We were told – like especially the telephone wires – if we went to take those off that we could disconnect the telephone wires and mess the whole thing up. But we have some running all over the place; the outside (inaudible). How do we begin to clean this mess up?
TOM: Well, certainly if you happen to take down the active telephone line you could disconnect your service. But if you say it’s not connected to anything then it’s just a matter of tracing that wire and seeing where it goes. I know what you mean because a lot of times, over the years, utility companies and cable companies use subcontractors as installers…
TOM: … and they get paid by the job. So the faster they get the house wired and on to the next one the more money they make and that ends up with a lot of …
LESLIE: And they never disassemble the old stuff.
TOM: Yeah, it ends up with a lot of very sloppy wiring around the country. (Cathy chuckles) And so, your options are to try to do it yourself, very carefully, if you can identify which are the live or not. But if not, you know what? It might be worth just spending $75 or $100 on the skills of an electrician that can test all the circuits, identify which are hot and pull down all the rest that are not. It will look a lot neater and you’ll be a lot more happy and you can get the house painted.
CATHY: OK, great. Well, thank you very much.
TOM: You’re welcome, Cathy. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.