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Electrical Wire and Cable

Using a Circuit Tracer to Detect a Broken Electrical Wire

How can I locate a damaged or broken electrical wire inside a wall? Electrical Wire Locators and Circuit Tracers, What to Do if Electrical Wiring has been Damaged Inside a Wall.

Home Electrical Wiring Video

Hooking Up a Generator to the House Panel
Using a Circuit Breaker Interlock Kit
for Backup Power

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Circuit Tracers Can be Used to Locate Broken Electrical Wire
Electrical Question: How can I locate a damaged or broken electrical wire inside a wall?
I need to detect where a damaged or broken electrical wire is within a wall.


This electrical tester question came from: Debra, a Handy-woman from New Port Richey, Florida.

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your electrical tester question Debra.

Electrical Wire Locators and Circuit Tracers

Application: Electrical Troubleshooting and Repairing a Damaged Electric Circuit.
Skill Level: Advanced – Best performed by a Licensed Electrical Contractor.
Tools Required: Basic Electricians Pouch Hand Tools, Voltage Tester or Volt Ohm Meter and a Circuit Tracer.
Estimated Time: Depends on the type and age of the home, the condition of the electric wiring, and the access to the circuits and wiring to be evaluated.
Precaution: Identify the affected circuit, turn it OFF and then Tag it with a Note before performing any wiring or inspections or electrical repairs. Electrical troubleshooting and repairs requires specific tests of the electrical circuits.
Notice: Repairs to Home Electrical Wiring should be made according to local and national electrical codes. Installing new or replacement electrical wiring may require a permit and inspections.

How to Locate Damaged Electrical Wiring

What to Do if Electrical Wiring has been Damaged Inside a Wall

More about Repairing Electrical Wiring


Understanding Electrical Testers

When working on home electrical wiring using voltage testers can play an important part in electrical safety. Electrical testers enable you to identify electrical circuits and help prevent the possibility of accidental electrical shock.
Types of Electrical Testers
Using Electrical Testers

Home Electrical Repairs and Electrical Troubleshooting
Home Electrical Repairs Made Simple! Easy to Understand Electrical Troubleshooting with Wiring Diagrams, Step by Step Instructions and Electrical Pictures.

Repair Electrical Wiring
troubleshooting repair electrical wiring

Troubleshooting and Repairing Electrical Wiring

Licensed Electrician Reveals the Secrets of Successful Electrical Troubleshooting Methods used to solve the majority of the home electrical problems and wiring failures encountered.

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Dave's Guide to Home Electrical Wiring:

» You Can Avoid Costly Mistakes! «

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
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 Electric Circuit Tracer, Electrical Repair, Electrical Troubleshooting and Home Electrical Wiring:
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FAQs Frequently Asked Questions and Comments

2 Responses to “Using a Circuit Tracer to Detect a Broken Electrical Wire”
  1. steve benedick says:

    Hi, thanks for being here. My electric bill seems to be about twice what it should be and I’m wondering if I don’t have a line leaking to ground somewhere. I have 2 separate circuits that go outside underground to a garage and one to a light pole. The garage line has been in place at least 40 years that I know of and spliced once. The light pole is only about 30 years old but could have been hit on a couple occasions while digging nearby. I was thinking about getting a meter to clip on each circuit at the breaker box and narrowing it down by circuit and then by appliance or outlet. What meter would be best for this? Am I on the right trackin this thinking about losing power to ground? The house is about 120 years old but I think all wiring has been replaced. Thanks.

  2. Dave Rongey says:

    Hi Steve,
    Here are two methods of Electrical Circuit Testing that will reveal the condition of the circuit conductors.
    The circuits may be tested for Resistance using an Ohm meter, and tested for Load using a clamp on amperage meter. The results of each test must be evaluated according to the circuit wiring and the known connected loads. By performing an inspection of the circuit wiring, and factoring in the age, and the methods used during the installation you can almost determine what the test results may be. Abnormal electrical consumption or unusually high electric utility bills may be a sign of voltage leaks, which is bad in itself, but it also presents a great hazard with destructive capabilities, especially in moist conditions. Circuits that are thought to be damaged should be disconnected until they are properly repaired or replaced. Electrical circuit testing methods must be fully understood before proceeding. When working with electrical wiring there are risks involved which are escalated if the wiring is suspected to be damaged, therefore electrical wiring and electrical testing is best performed by a qualified electrician.
    I hope this helps with your circuit problems,