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Finding Hidden AC Electrical Wall Outlets

When AC outlets get covered by drywall, it really isn't that unusual.

But the covered boxes, and even switches, are not that easy to see afterward where they have been nailed onto stud framing. The boxes are concealed, yet the plane of the drywall contour may reveal what is underneath. The surface should be raised a minimal amount from the rest.

Looking at heights where boxes should be placed - take a straightedge - a three foot level, and place it on the walls of these areas. Cast a harsh halogen light across the wall.

Any location that is suspect should first be verified with a stud finder, since the outlets are nailed to wood (assuming wood framing). If your finder is so equipped, run the metal/electrical sensor choices to find the wiring that accompanies the receptacle.

As another method, have a skilled electrician search for the outlet with a tone generator to detect location. The tone generator connects with the early wiring while its' remote locator is run along the signal of the internal wiring.

To prevent the outlets from being covered, diagram the receptacles before wallboarding.
Take great care when cutting out the discovered receptacle(s). The wallboard is likely attached with screws and could be under tension. By using a zip tool, set shallow, rather than by sawing, cut at a depth that will not contact wiring and the outlet. The power at the breaker box/fuse box should be off always when cutting.


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