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

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Use a 2' level and lay it flat on the wall until you find the bulge.
 

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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.

FW
 

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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.
 

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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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Home Inspection: "A business with illogically high liability, slim profit margins and limited economies of scale. An incredibly diverse, multi-disciplined consulting service, delivered under difficult in-field circumstances, before a hostile audience in an impossibly short time frame, requiring the production of an extraordinarily detailed technical report, almost instantly, without benefit of research facilities or resources." - Alan Carson
 

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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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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 10°F or greater difference on the two sides by using heating or AC.
 

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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:laughing:.

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:thumbup:. After a couple of houses locating boxes with my foot, the sheetrockers got real asstute at cutting the boxes out:laughing:
 

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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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finding a buried outlet in sheetrock

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!:yes::no::drink:Don't Drink and Drive!!!
 

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

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:thumbup:. After a couple of houses locating boxes with my foot, the sheetrockers got real asstute at cutting the boxes out:laughing:
Sounds like ya cured 'em :thumbup:
 

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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 :jester:

We KNOW you are the "contractor":laughing:
 

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various methods for locating buried outlet boxes

Sounds like ya cured 'em :thumbup:
The 12" or the or the 3'x3' method are very good when you're dealing with sheetrock. But when the boxes are buried in concrete it's a different matter altogether. On one of the jobs, more than one box was buried in concrete. We traced the location from the Blueprint and started chopping away!:furious::no::drink:Don't Drink and Drive!!!
 
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