I'm starting to redecorate a small flat soon, and would like to make some changes as to the electrical installations in it (would like to install pipes for some cables, if possible; would like to install potentiometer light switches, maybe motion detect light switches and place a few more electrial sockets) - and for that I need to know where the current electrical installations go through.

So I'm wondering, what is the easiest way to detect where wires/installations from electrical sockets go and what is the right way to go about this? (Really, grateful for any advice you can give, no matter how useful you may think it may be).

I would like to avoid tearing down the walls, more than necessary.

2 Answers 2


Studfinders usually have AC detection circuitry, but they only work if there's power in the wire. These are $20 or so, and you run them along the wall to find the wires.

To detect which socket/circuit they are on, have an assistant turn off the breakers one by one until the studfinder stops flashing, and then go back and use a test light to determine which socket it is connected to.

  • that method works well when you dont have an 800.00 meter to do it with.I use a CS8000 from Greenlee but I do this all the time. Gbronner method will work in most cases.
    – Ed Beal
    Jan 15, 2016 at 22:35

You can use a Wire tracer, but they are quite expensive. A telephone type toner and probe is cheaper, but won't work as well for detecting wire inside the wall and can't be used on live wires.

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