When I first moved into our house there were cheap and nasty wall sconces
installed . I removed them and blanked them off [wire nuts and electrcal
tape] but left the switches.
Now the walls have been refinished and the locations of the scones totally
obscured . Years later I want to install track lighting and use the sconce
wireing as a feed, is there any way of locating the location of the original
sconces with out tearing the wall apart.??? mjh
Let's try a few low-tech solutions...
Presumably, you patched the walls after removing the sconces. Unless you're
much better at that than most folks, your patches left some slight
irregularities in the walls, which may be detectable under the right
Using a strong light at a low angle in an otherwise darkened room, you may be
able to see where those irregularites are.
And if you have at least a general idea where to look, try closing your eyes
and feeling for them -- your hands will detect things your eyes won't. (That's
how, in my first house, I found a couple of boxes that had been plastered over
when a previous owner removed wall sconces.)
If the boxes are steel, a strong magnet might find them.
Or you could sound for them, by rapping on the wall with your knuckles, the
same way you would to locate a stud.
If all this fails, then get some of the detection equipment recommended by
others in this thread.
Doug Miller (alphageek-at-milmac-dot-com)
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There's a much better way. Plan some project, like putting an anchor in
the wall to hang a painting, which requires that you penetrate open
sheetrock with nothing behind it. Pick your spot and bang it in.
You're guaranteed to find the old electrical box that way. Never fails.
If you really want to be sure, do it with the last anchor you've got,
right when the stores close on Saturday night, and your wife's coming
home from a trip tomorrow morning and expects the picture hung.
There is a small device that will sense the presence of energized
wires. I've heard it called a voltage detector. Mfgrs include
Greenlee and AW Sperry. I've purchased them in the electrical dept of
HD and Lowes. You would need to turn the switch on and scan the wall.
Unfortunately it has limited range (1/2 to 1") so it might take a
while to scan the wall.
It's a code violation to conceal any junction box where the wires are
joined...so technically you won't be able to use these concealed boxes to
feed anything because the wires are discontinued at the panel/fuse box.
Otherwise, if you want to sell the house at any point in the future, you
just might want to get a case of altimerz and forget about those concealed
So the wires were just run inside the wall with no box mounted where
they exited the wall surface? That's a no-no as I understand it. There
should be a junction box at any location where the wire run is begun or
Likewise, as sam noted, you can't cover a box such that the box is
inaccessible without tearing apart a finish surface. When one removes a
fixture such as your sconces one should either put a standard blank
cover over the box opening (not generally a very aesthetically pleasing
solution) or pull the wiring completely back to the previous box (much
more effort and complex if the removed fixture is in the middle of a
run) or, similarly, trace the circuit backwards and disconnect the
splice that feeds your sconce wiring. The point being that there should
be no energized wire without access to its start and end points.
If there's no box in the wall where the sconces were mounted then you
really should trace and maybe pull the wire back to a point where you
can locate an accessible box to begin the track run. This is a simple
thing to do from an attic or basement.
Owen Lowe and his Fly-by-Night Copper Company
Offering a shim for the Porter-Cable 557 type 2 fence design.
I'd guess 80% of woodworkers are also DIY handymen who do a little
plumbing, wiring and everything else. A little input on what the code
says is always a good thing for guys like us. Thanks.
Fly-by-Night CC wrote:
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