How to Locate Electrical Wires Behind Sheetrock How to Locate Electrical Wires Behind Sheetrock
Locating electrical wires behind sheetrock is important when attempting a wall repair or replacement of an electrical outlet. The easiest way to do this is to locate the schematics for the home and follow the plans to identify where the wires were placed. The other way that would be easy is to hire an electrician who has been trained to locate wiring.
To save money and not have to go to engineering school in order to figure out electrical plans, here is a simple guide to help you with locating electrical wiring behind sheetrock.
Punching Holes in the Sheetrock
You can go the route of punching holes unto the sheetrock along where the electrical outlet is located. Electrical wires are connected to a circuit box that is run alongside the stud wall. The problem with this method is that you will have a lot of holes in the sheetrock that will need to be patched and repaired.
Purchase a Stud Finder
The easiest and simplest way to locate electrical wires that are hidden behind the sheetrock is to use a stud finder. A stud finder is a tool with an electronic sensor that can detect obstructions behind sheetrock, such as metal or wood. A stud finder can be purchased for around $20 at any home improvement center, hardware store or online retailer that sells this equipment.
Purchasing a stud finder is a good investment for any project that you have in the future that you may have that involves locating the wooden or metal studs and any wiring. Be sure when purchasing a stud finder that you purchase one that has a setting for electrical wiring.
Use the Stud Finder
With the stud finder set to find electrical wires, place it against the sheetrock wall and move it alongside the drywall. A signal will indicate the location of any electrical wiring that is behind the sheetrock. Use a pencil to mark the location of the wiring so that you can make a hole in the sheetrock at the precise location in order to remove the bad wiring or conduct whatever activity required you to locate the wiring in the first place.
How the Stud Finder Works
Typically, the stud finder will have a series of lights that increase in intensity as they locate the object for which it was set to search for. Some models will emit a beeping sound along with the lights that will get louder and louder as you get closer to the wiring. This warning system is designed to attract both your auditory and sight sensors in order to inform you of the exact location of the electrical wiring.
Repairing the Sheetrock
Once you locate the electrical wiring with the stud finder and make the necessary repair or replacement, you will need to fix the sheetrock. The best type of repair involved cutting out a section of the sheetrock and replacing it with a drywall patch that is the size of the repair area. The sheetrock or drywall patch can be purchased at a home improvement center along with the stud finder.