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Thread: Locate Abandoned Wire

  1. #1

    Default Locate Abandoned Wire

    When my house was built a can was installed in the ceiling for a picture light connected to a switch on an adjacent wall. We discovered this after the drywall was installed and, since we did not want the picture light, the builder capped it off somehow and covered the can with a drywall patch of some sort. We would now like to be able to add more light to the room, in the center of the room. Is there a way to find this abandoned wire without guessing? There is no other load on that wire and we do not have access to the attic above this room. Thank you.

  2. #2
    DIY scratch-pad engineer leejosepho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Duke76 View Post
    ... a can was installed in the ceiling ... a switch on an adjacent wall ... builder capped it off somehow and covered the can with a drywall patch ...
    We would now like to be able to add more light ... in the center of the room ...
    There is no other load on that wire and we do not have access to the attic above this room.
    Is that switch still on the wall? Either way, there still might be power branched to that circuit unless that is a dedicated circuit that might or might not still be connected at your breaker panel.

    You might be able to make a hole in the ceiling where you want your new light to be -- be cautious about hitting other wires -- and then use a mirror or camera or whatever to try to locate that original can where a junction box and cover will need to be installed in order to extend that wire.
    Last edited by leejosepho; 12-12-2011 at 06:41 AM.
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  3. #3

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    Thank you. Yes, the switch is still there. It is in the same box with two other switches, one controlling an overhead fan (with light kit) and an outside light. The room has a vaulted ceiling and the fan light kit is just not enough light for the room.

  4. #4
    DIY scratch-pad engineer leejosepho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Duke76 View Post
    Yes, the switch is still there. It is in the same box with two other switches, one controlling an overhead fan (with light kit) and an outside light. The room has a vaulted ceiling ...
    There is probably some kind of device that can detect that wire between the switch and the hidden can, but if that can is not between the same two rafters as where you want the new light, I would guess there is little chance of easily extending that wire to where you want it. But if the fan light is separate from the fan motor at your wall switches, it might be possible to add a new light to that wire and get what you want.
    Last edited by leejosepho; 12-12-2011 at 09:49 AM.
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  5. #5
    Jack of all trades DonL's Avatar
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    Maybe could use a Sniffer to locate the wire.

    I have a vaulted ceiling that uses a 5 Lamp fan light kit and have Rocket Sockets® in the 4 lamps that point outward.

    When I need a little light I turn on the single Dome lamp, When I need more light I turn on the other 4 using the X10® controller.

    Works good, Last a long time...
    Theory only works perfect in a vacuum.

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