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Locating wires within walls

How do I determine the location of wire that leads to a ceiling light?

I need to shore up the cracked plaster ceiling in the area with plaster washers and screws and, of course, would like to avoid drilling into the wiring.

The plaster is tight around the wire where it attaches to the light, so I can't see into the wall to see what direction the wire comes from. Is there a more sophisticated method than shutting off the power and hacking a hole in the ceiling?


Re: Locating wires within walls

The ceiling light box is usually attached to a joist and the wires should be secured to the side of that joist for the run of the wire in the ceiling..... depending if this is the wiring that is original to the house.

Hope this helps.:)

Re: Locating wires within walls

I'll keep the joist in mind when I take another peek at the situation tomorrow -- thanks.

There is no light box. The wire just shoots out of the plaster, like a sprout coming out of the ground, then hooks to a light socket on the ceiling. It appears to be knob and tube original to the house (1903).

Re: Locating wires within walls

Thanks! I figured there was something easy like this that I just hadn't come across before.

For anyone else trying to find one, Zircon makes a line of stud sensor/wire scanners for $20-$50 at the big-box stores.

In online stores, they seem to be organized with the stud sensors, not the electrical testers.

Re: Locating wires within walls

I've never used one of those devices to trace wires , so I'm a little skeptical . I use a signal tracer at work that would be a lot more accurate , but probably too expensive for occasional use . Let us know how things turn out , I'm interested in knowing if those things work like they claim .


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