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Old 03-31-2019, 10:36 PM   #1
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Recessed medicine cabinet


Looking to install a recessed medicine cabinet in the master bathroom in the approximate position shown in the red outline in the attached photo. When using a stud finder it only found the one stud which is in the center. May also be one close to the mirror but Iím not concerned about that.
What I am concerned is any electrical wiring in the wall. That same stud finder has an AC setting and Iím getting some mixed readings depending on the height where I run the stud finder from. If I use a jab saw in an area where I know there is no wiring and then look around in that small cutout area for wires in the surrounding area will that be the best way to determine if itís safe to install a recessed cabinet in that spot? That mirror in the picture goes the length of the vanity so that spot is the only area which makes sense to install a cabinet.
Based on the light switch and the outlet already on that wall, do you think it should be safe and/or possible to install a cabinet there? Def want it to be recessed.
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Old 04-01-2019, 05:08 AM   #2
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Re: Recessed medicine cabinet


Unless there is another electrical outlet inline with those switches the odds are the electrical goes up and not straight across but I don't know if there is any way to tell for sure other than cutting a hole so you can see.
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Old 04-01-2019, 06:31 AM   #3
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Re: Recessed medicine cabinet


Suggestions;
Turn off breaker to determine whether or not the switches (presumably to a fan/light) and the outlet are on the same circuit.
Remove cover plate and outlet to determine how many cables come into the outlet box.
Remove cover plate and switches to see how many cables come into the switch box.
What is above this bath? If there is an attic above look to if any cables come down the walls.



Are there more outlets along the vanity?
What is on the other side of this wall?
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Old 04-01-2019, 06:49 AM   #4
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Re: Recessed medicine cabinet


It is unlikely that any cables behind the plaster board would have been installed diagonally.
(In the UK such an installation would not be permitted.)
It is probable that the wires come downwards from the ceiling.

However, what is the situation on the other side of this wall?
Are there any "electrics" installed there?
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Originally Posted by hkstroud View Post
Remove cover plate and switches to see how many cables come into the switch box.
Also, check if they come into the box from the top, bottom or side.
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Old 04-01-2019, 09:48 AM   #5
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Re: Recessed medicine cabinet


Good idea about removing the plate, will do that tonight and see how the wires are running in. I'm guessing vertically since the lights are obviously up above. Nothing on the other side of that wall other than part of the bedroom. There is a small area that can be considered a "powder" room on the other side of that mirror which has a light switch and a power outlet (doesn't appear to be working). There are no additional outlets along the vanity.
If the outlet inside the bathroom and the light switch are on the same circuit, will I see a wire or some kind of piggyback running directly between the two? If so would that be horizontal since they're adjacent to each other?
There is an attic above the bath but no easy way to get up there, has to be done through a walk-in closet but the attic isn't really walkable, just joists, no floor to walk on.
Will definitely have my Klein non-contact voltage tester during this testing. Has to be one of the most important tools anyone can have No, Klein did not pay me to say that lol
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Old 04-01-2019, 09:03 PM   #6
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Re: Recessed medicine cabinet


A bathroom receptacle must be served by a 20 amp circuit. That circuit can only serve that bath or another bathroom. That circuit cannot serve a bedroom. However, that does not mean that the circuit also serves the light in the bath. It may or the light may be on another general lighting circuit. Knowing what is on the outlet circuit and what is not may help you before you begin cutting drywall.

It is almost a certainty that you will be cutting the stud to which the outlet is attached to install the medicine cabinet. If you have a cable coming down that stud you should be able to install a box in the attic and install a longer cable to the outlet and route around the medicine cabinet.

Note also that bedrooms usually have a flat paint surface as opposed to the semi-gloss surface of the bathroom walls. You should be able to find the stud on the bedroom side, then using a 1/16 drill bit locate the exact edge of the stud. Then using a small stiff wire (coat hanger) feel the side of the stud for a cable before you commit. Repair to the bedroom side of the wall can be a simple as a small touch of joint compound.
Knowing whether or not a cable comes down that stud and whether or not it can be moved will make you better prepared when you start opening up the wall.

So describe the cables in the outlet and switch boxes and we can help you guess. Going up in the attic can make you certain.
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