Drilling a hole in wall without hitting electrical wires?


Old 02-08-07, 08:47 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: usa
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Drilling a hole in wall without hitting electrical wires?

How can you drill a hole in a wall & be assured you won't hit electrical wires? I want to hang up some pictures & mirrors & need to drill holes to do it, but am concerned there might be wires where I drill. Any help would be appreciated. Thank You.
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Old 02-08-07, 09:23 PM
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I suppose you can never be assured you won't hit wires, but you can take some precautions to avoid them.

Most wiring for receptacles is run horizontally through the wall at 6" to a 12" above the receptacles. Avoid drilling in this zone if possible. Also avoid the spaces directly above or below light switches or wall mounted light fixtures.

Wiring is supposed to be run at least 1-1/4" deep in the studs, which should be 1-3/4" deep from the face of the drywall. Although not always the case, it is unlikely you will hit any wiring with a hole no deeper than 1-1/2" or so. If you live in a fairly new house, the electrician would have installed steel protection plates over any shallow wiring to prevent accidental damage.

Finally, you can buy a stud finder that also has a wiring finder feature. This tool will beep when you pass it over a portion of the wall with live wires.
Old 02-09-07, 07:17 AM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 3,188
To add to ipbrroks' cautions, try to avoid drilling immediately above switch boxes and outlets. Sometimes the wires for those boxes will run vertically alongside the stud where they are attached. You can also use a drill stop or a piece of tape on the drill bit to limit the depth that the drill penetrates. A good rule of thumb is no deeper than the wall thickness (typically 1/2") plus one inch.

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