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Old 07-07-2009, 08:58 AM   #1
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how to find an electrical plug, covered up by a wall


I had a contractor put in new drywall on a damaged wall and they covered up the electrical outlet. is there a better tool to use besides a stud finder?

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Old 07-07-2009, 09:11 AM   #2
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how to find an electrical plug, covered up by a wall


sure is....a telephone. Call the contractor back and have them locate it.

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Old 07-07-2009, 09:19 AM   #3
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how to find an electrical plug, covered up by a wall


Use a 2' level and lay it flat on the wall until you find the bulge.
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Old 07-07-2009, 10:20 AM   #4
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how to find an electrical plug, covered up by a wall


Do you have a stud finder that can detect AC?
My Zircon does, and quite well if it's NM rather than MC. I just tested and it will find a receptacle from about 3" through air. That distance would be shorter through drywall, but I would think it would work.

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Old 07-07-2009, 10:50 AM   #5
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sure is....a telephone. Call the contractor back and have them locate it.
2nd That!@!
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Old 07-07-2009, 01:18 PM   #6
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how to find an electrical plug, covered up by a wall


I'd imagine this contractor hasnt been hanging drywall for very long if he just put sheetrock over an outlet! I would certaintly call him back and have them take care of it, or at least have them pay to have it taken care of.
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Old 07-07-2009, 01:38 PM   #7
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how to find an electrical plug, covered up by a wall


I'd try the noncontact electrical tester first, if that doesn't work, and it's an exterior wall, and it's a metal box, and you know someone who has access to IR camera, they can likely spot it at the right time of day.

Here's an example of a 4x4 box drywalled over at the peak of a cathedral ceiling:



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Old 07-07-2009, 05:15 PM   #8
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how to find an electrical plug, covered up by a wall


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x4 box drywalled over at the peak of the cathedral ceiling:
That is very cool, no doubt. Would this really work on an interior wall though? I can imagine where loaded wire might be a bit warmer than normal, but unloaded and interior wall? I'd think it would be the same temp as the surrounding material.

The box in the ceiling would have acted like a heat sink for radiant solar energy, just like the spine of the ceiling appears to have done, unless that line is the wire.
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Old 07-07-2009, 05:18 PM   #9
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how to find an electrical plug, covered up by a wall


I like to use a hammer. A good swing every 12 inches, high and low. Just in case.
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Old 07-07-2009, 06:00 PM   #10
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That is very cool, no doubt. Would this really work on an interior wall though?
Only chance on an interior wall would be if you could produce a 10F or greater difference on the two sides by using heating or AC.
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Old 07-07-2009, 06:01 PM   #11
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how to find an electrical plug, covered up by a wall


Way way back in the day, I did residential punchout for cookie- cutter tract housing. Every house had at least one covered box, often two or three. Granted, if it is to code, you can get in the general area, but really it can vary, especially with the less-than-good, less-than-legal rough crews we had. So, for awhile I located boxes with the level idea, sometimes that doesn't work because our less-than-good roughers didn't always put the box at the right depth. So, poking around the suspected area with an offset swiveling screwdriver would find the box after awhile.

The sheetrockers got to covering over so many boxes at one point, that my boss lost it. He blew his top. He visited me on a job where I was locating my third box, and talked with me a minute, then started kicking holes in the wall until he found the box.

He told me I had an option for locating the boxes in the future: I either could cut a large section of wall out, like 3'x3', or I could use his "size 12" method. After a couple of houses locating boxes with my foot, the sheetrockers got real asstute at cutting the boxes out
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Old 07-07-2009, 06:42 PM   #12
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how to find an electrical plug, covered up by a wall


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The box in the ceiling would have acted like a heat sink for radiant solar energy, just like the spine of the ceiling appears to have done, unless that line is the wire.
Actually, what you're seeing there is the warm side of a cold ceiling, the outlet box, ridge board and rafters are better thermal conductors than insulated rafter cavities, so they appear cooler than the rest of the ceiling.

If you look closely you'll see some small dots on each rafter - those are the drywall screw or nail heads, under ideal conditions you can image those as well!
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Old 07-07-2009, 07:16 PM   #13
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how to find an electrical plug, covered up by a wall


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I'd imagine this contractor hasnt been hanging drywall for very long if he just put sheetrock over an outlet! I would certaintly call him back and have them take care of it, or at least have them pay to have it taken care of.
I had a kitchen installer bury an outlet (intended for the Microwave oven) behind a kitchen cabinet. When the contractor was alerted to it, he said; He'll bet me $1,000.00 that there is no outlet there. I said; Start paying now!Don't Drink and Drive!!!
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Old 07-07-2009, 07:17 PM   #14
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how to find an electrical plug, covered up by a wall


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then started kicking holes in the wall until he found the box.

He told me I had an option for locating the boxes in the future: I either could cut a large section of wall out, like 3'x3', or I could use his "size 12" method. After a couple of houses locating boxes with my foot, the sheetrockers got real asstute at cutting the boxes out
Sounds like ya cured 'em
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Old 07-07-2009, 07:26 PM   #15
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how to find an electrical plug, covered up by a wall


Use a studfinder to locate the studs.

Determine the height by measuring other existing receps.

Poke a skinny screwdriver thru the drywall on both sides of the studs to locate the box.

Patch the small holes with a bit of caulk or spackle.


And be more careful next time

We KNOW you are the "contractor"

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