ask the electrician
Electrician Training Electrical Certification wiring recessed light fixtures Electrical Wiring Electrical Troubleshooting and Electrical Repairs wire outdoor light fixture Home Electrical Wiring Diagrams
wiring home generator and transfer switch wiring a 220 volt range cord outlet Wiring for GFCI Outlets Wiring Outlets and a Switched Outlet Wiring and Installing Ceiling Fans and Remote Controls wire dimmer switch wiring diagrams for switches wiring a dryer cord and 220 outlet circuit breaker panel
Electrical Wire and Cable

How to Avoid Damaging Electrical Cables Inside Walls

Can wire locators accurately show where electrical wires are inside a wall? Methods of Home Electrical Circuit Wiring, Electric Wiring Inside Walls, How To Locate Electric Wires, Home Wiring Techniques.

Home Electrical Wiring Video

How To Hook Up a Generator to the House Panel
Using a Circuit Breaker Interlock Kit
for Backup Power

NOTE: A List of All my Helpful Videos
Will Display at the End of This Video
So Keep Watching So I Can Help You Wire it Right!

Check out my YouTube Channel:
» AskTheElectrician «
and Subscribe!

Learn more about Home Electrical Wiring
with my online Video Course:
Basic Home Electrical Wiring by Example

Installing Electrical Wiring
Electrical Question: Can electrical wire testers and wire locators accurately show where electrical wires are inside a wall?

Thank you very much in advance.

This electrical wiring question came from: Slava, a Homeowner from Brooklyn, New York.

Electrical Question #2:

This electrical wiring question came from Sue in West Linn, Oregon

Dave’s Reply:
Thank you for your electrical wiring questions.

Home Electrical Wiring Techniques

Application: Installing Additional Electrical Wiring.
Skill Level: Intermediate to Advanced – Best performed by a Licensed Electrician.
Tools Required: Electricians Pouch of Hand Tools for Rough-In Wiring, Electric Drill and Auger Bits and Extension Cord.
Estimated Time: Depends on the extent of the project, the type of construction and available access to the project area.
Precaution: Any existing wiring in the immediate area that may interfere with the installation should be identified and turned OFF and Tagged.
Notice: Installing additional electrical wiring should be done with a permit and be inspected.

Basic Fundamentals of Home Electrical Wiring

Obtaining knowledge before starting a home electrical wiring project is very wise. The information below will describe how to avoid hitting an electrical wire and causing damage.

Basic Methods of Home Electrical Circuit Wiring
Understanding The Path Of Electrical Cables as they have been installed inside the building structure.

The NEC addresses UnSupported Cables inside Existing Walls

RE: NEC 334.30 section (B)

More about Home Electric Wiring

Electrical Panel Circuit Listing

Electric panel


More about Electrical Safety Guidelines


More about Electrical Codes For Home Wiring

The following may also be helpful for you:

Dave's Guide to Home Electrical Wiring:

» You Can Avoid Costly Mistakes! «

Here's How to Do It:
Wire It Right with the help of my Illustrated Wiring Book

Great for any Home Wiring Project.
  electrical wiring  

Complete Guide to Home Electrical Wiring

Perfect for Homeowners, Students,
Handyman, Handy Women, and Electricians
Wiring GFCI Outlets
Wiring Home Electric Circuits
120 Volt and 240 Volt Outlet Circuits
Wiring Light Switches
Wiring 3-Wire and 4-Wire Electric Range
Wiring 3-Wire and 4-Wire Dryer Cord and Dryer Outlet
How to Troubleshoot and Repair Electrical Wiring
Wiring Methods for Upgrading Electrical Wiring
NEC Codes for Home Electrical Wiring
....and much more.

Learn more about Home Electrical Wiring
with my Online Video Course:
Basic Home Electrical Wiring by Example

Be Careful and Be Safe - Never Work on Energized Circuits!
Consult your Local Building Department about Permits and Inspections for all Electric Wiring Projects.

Electrical Tips to Help You Wire it Right

The Safest Way to Test Electrical Devices and Identify Electric Wires!

The Non-Contact Electrical Tester
This is a testing tool that I have had in my personal electrical tool pouch for years, and is the first test tool I grab to help identify electrical wiring. It is a Non-contact tester that I use to easily Detect Voltage in Cables, Cords, Circuit Breakers, Lighting Fixtures, Switches, Outlets and Wires. Simply insert the end of the tester into an outlet, lamp socket, or hold the end of the tester against the wire you wish to test. Very handy and easy to use.

The Quickest Way to Check for Faulty Electrical Wiring!

The Plug-In Outlet Tester
This is the first tool I grab to troubleshoot a problem with outlet circuit wiring. This popular tester is also used by most inspectors to test for power and check the polarity of circuit wiring.
It detects probable improper wiring conditions in standard 110-125 VAC outlets Provides 6 probable wiring conditions that are quick and easy to read for ultimate efficiency Lights indicate if wiring is correct and indicator light chart is included Tests standard 3-wire outlets UL Listed Light indicates if wiring is incorrect Very handy and easy to use.

Strip Off Wire Insulation without Nicking and Damaging the Electric Wire!

The Wire Stripper and Wire Cutter
My absolute favorite wire stripping tool that I have had in my personal electrical tool pouch for years, and this is the tool I use to safely strip electrical wires.
This handy tool has multiple uses:
The wire gauges are shown on the side of the tool so you know which slot to use for stripping insulation.
The end of the tool can be used to grip and bend wire which is handy for attaching wire onto the screw terminals of switches and outlets..

The wire stripper will work on both solid and stranded wire. This tool is Very Handy and Easy to Use.

More articles about Cable, Electrical Wiring, NEC Code and Home Electrical Wiring:
« Previous Next »
How to Wire a Surveillance Flood Light How to Fix a Tripping GFCI Outlet

FAQs Frequently Asked Questions and Comments

2 Responses to “How to Avoid Damaging Electrical Cables Inside Walls”
  1. craig voorhees says:

    I have a 220 dryer wire running from the breaker box in the bedroom to the plug in the bathroom. The wiring runs through the walls, up top and the down to the plug at the bottom of the wall. My wife put up some shelf’s in the bathroom and hit one of the hot wires. Well after 3 dryers that would come on but not heat up I decided to open the wall up and see what was going on. That is how I found the screw through the wire. So I cut the cord were the break was and spliced it back together with wire nuts and taped all separate and then spaced them out and did a final wrap of tape to make sure nothing was exposed. We then used the dryer and as we walked into the room we smelled wire burning so I opened the wall back up and one of the wires had melted and the tape around it. What would have caused this to happen?

  2. Dave Rongey says:

    Hi Craig,
    From what you have described, the spliced wires may not have been tight inside the wire nut connector that is sized correctly. If the spliced wire connections are not made good and tight then this can cause arcing, which can then cause the wire insulation to melt and become damaged, which could also led to a very hazardous condition. Be aware that the spliced wires should be enclosed inside an approved and accessible electrical junction box which is covered by a blank plate. For close splices such as this where the wires may be short you could use insulated in-line splice terminals inside the junction box.
    I hope this helps,