How to find and fix a broken wire in the wall: an overview of ways

Because of the violation of the integrity of the wiring, bricked up under a layer of finishing materials, the tenants of the apartment may be left without the usual amenities. To restore the flow of current, you need to know how to find a broken wire in the wall and correct the situation.

We will tell you how and with what tools the damage to the wiring is detected. We will show how the detected faults are eliminated. You will learn what to do to prevent such problems.

The content of the article:

  • Signs of cable break
  • Causes of malfunctions
  • Instructions for finding the place of the cliff
    • Phase wire break
    • Ground wire damage
  • Troubleshooting wiring lighting
  • Finding the exact location
    • Opening the wall during major repairs
    • Logical search method
    • Handy tools: radio and microphone
    • Search using professional equipment
    • Check wiring homemade device
  • Search for electrical wiring for preventive purposes
  • Elimination of phase and neutral wire breaks
  • Laying open power grids
  • Conclusions and useful video on the topic

Signs of cable break

It is possible to suspect damage to the power grid in case of a partial disappearance of the supply of electrical current. A break in the wire may indicate the absence of voltage in the sockets located in a certain zone, or lighting not working in a separate room.

Sometimes wiring problems may also be accompanied by smoke or sparking cable. The cause of sparking can be not only a break, but also a fusion of insulation as a result of illiterate wire and cable selection.


Wire defects include breaks and breaks in the cord, as well as faults in the insulation sheath of the cable.

Damage occurs at different sections of the network: the power supply may be broken at the junction cable with socket or switch; in the area between these devices and the box or lighting device.

Causes of malfunctions

In compliance with the rules of operation of electrical communications, they can regularly serve for decades. But in practice, quite often there are damages to electrical networks, which can be caused by different reasons.

These factors include:

  • Long-term cable operation. Posting can function flawlessly for many years, but after a certain time limit it begins to break down. In this case, strands are broken in the network and leaks appear, which regularly knock out the residual current device (its absence affects the amplification of leaks). Sooner or later, such violations lead to interruptions, and then to the complete cessation of the supply of electric current.
  • Mechanical damage. Without knowing the layout of the electrical network, when drilling holes and driving nails into the wall, you can easily hit the wire, causing it to break, and sometimes short-circuited. Sometimes a slight mechanical damage gives a delayed effect: in this case, the integrity of the core can be broken not instantly, but after several months or even a year.
  • Defective wire or Poor wiring. Damaged cables tend to heat up permanently, which can lead to fatal consequences. After a sudden surge in voltage, such conductors may break.
  • Incorrect use of adapters. Malfunctions in electrical wiring may be caused by improper use of extension cords or tees. This can happen if several high-power household appliances are connected to the device, for example, a washing machine and a dishwasher.

If the adapter is used incorrectly, the cables that come from it are subject to overheating and increased load, which can lead to the melting of the insulation.

In all cases, it is necessary to identify the location of the cable damage in order to immediately repair the damage.

Instructions for finding the place of the cliff

If a malfunction is identified, it is necessary to take immediate steps to clarify the cause of the damage and search for the approximate location of the defect in the power supply network.

First of all, you need to check which rooms have problems with the supply of electric current.

Damaged socket

Molten switches or sockets indicate that the damage to the wiring happened in adjacent areas of the power grid

Then you should find out if the cable breaks the lighting fixtures or sockets by checking them with a tester. Depending on the answers to the last question, you should follow the instructions below.

In this case, the fault may be caused by a fault in the phase or zero cable.

Phase wire break

First of all, it is necessary to determine to which machine the damaged outlet is connected. Having found out the power source to which the faulty cable is connected, it is necessary to disconnect the electricity and disconnect all wires from the shield: “zero”, “phase”, “ground” (if present).

Check the machine

In order to find the power source of the outlet, it is necessary to switch the machine while checking with the indicator the presence or absence of a phase

Then you need to arm multimeterwith which you should consistently check all connections adjacent to the damaged object, starting from the cable in the shield.

In this way, you can identify the affected area: usually between two sockets there are two, and in the presence of "ground" and three wires. If it is possible to identify only one core in this area (for example, zero), we can safely assume that the precipice is located here.

Junction boxes are often unavailable because they are hidden under a layer of finishing materials. If you have access to such devices, it is desirable to open them, as they often damage the cores.

If no faults are detected, you should check the broken wires with an indicator, starting with the twist, and examine the terminal strip and disassembled twist.

Possible wiring option, not providing installation of a terminal box. In this case, the cables go unhindered from one outlet to the other, and two wires go into each plug, making up 4 cores. In this case, in order to identify the defect, it is required to remove the devices placed at the beginning and end of the faulty section, and then examine all the wires with a multimeter.

Ground wire damage

The search for a zero wire break does not practically differ from the work on the detection of a “phase” break, however it has certain features.

You can find out about the break of the zero core at the socket contacts by bringing an indicator screwdriver to this place: it will glow at the “phase”, however it will show the absence of “zero”. In this case, it is useless to use a multimeter to check the voltage, since this device will show an arbitrary value from 0 to 220 V.

It is important to observe strict precautions: due to the phase in place, there is a danger of electric shock even when the outlet is not working.

Wiring in the apartment

In the intricacies of wires placed inside the wall, it is difficult to understand. To identify a faulty cable, it is often necessary to check the integrity of each network element.

If a three-core cable is used for electrical wiring, a “grounding” conductor can be used as a last resort for transmitting the “zero”. However, in this case, the “ground” function will be absent from the outlet: this is generally undesirable and unacceptable when it comes to high-power household appliances, for example, a washing machine.

Troubleshooting wiring lighting

If damage occurs between the box and the switch or the source of artificial light should use the indicator (single pole voltage indicator) to use it to detect the presence or lack of "phase".

The lack of light in the chandelier

In the absence of light in one of the rooms, it is necessary to initially check the condition of the lamps and cartridges. If their condition is not worrying, most likely it is a cable break

To do this, open the switch from the lighting device; in the off position, the presence of a “phase” on the contacts is checked. In its absence, the place of the cliff is between the box and the switch.

If there is a “phase”, its presence is also checked on the lamp (in this case, the switch is turned on). In the absence of a “phase” on all the conductors, the damage site should be sought between the lamp and the box.

There is an option when, with inactive lighting and the absence of a “phase” on the switch, the indicator shows its presence on the lamp. This alignment means that the zero and phase wires are swapped.

To solve the problem, it is required to trace the passage of the “phase” wire over the entire distance of the laid cable, starting from the box to the luminaire and then to the switch. It is necessary to find the point where the change of wires occurred, disconnect them and make a new fixture, correctly arranging the wiring.

When performing a damage search, disconnect the power supply of the cable, which can be carried out from any sources. In some cases, you may need to burn through the insulation of the wiring to reduce the level of resistance.

Finding the exact location

Having established an approximate affected area, you should proceed to an in-depth search for the site of damage, which can be done using various methods. There are a variety of ways to find damaged wire.

Opening the wall during major repairs

The easiest way to detect cable damage is to completely clean the walls of finishing materials. In this case, it is easy to inspect the strokes made to accommodate hidden cables. They differ in color from the rest of the surface, in addition to them additionally putty is applied.

Finding a wire break by a specialist

Finding wire breaks is a rather complicated process, so in some cases it is advisable to call specialists of the electrical network with special equipment.

However, since in this case, a complete exposure of the walls and the dismantling of decorative coatings (paints, wallpapers) is required, therefore It is advisable to use in the overhaul of the premises, which provides for a new design of vertical surfaces.

Logical search method

If tenants do not have a grid plan, you can try to recreate it using logic.

Professional electricians are well known for basic principles of electrical communications, namely:

  • Wiring is always carried out strictly along the vertical and horizontal lines, that is, the cables always run parallel and perpendicular to the floor.
  • Power lines, located above the sockets and switches, always go strictly upwards, which is why drilling and nailing are strictly prohibited in this area.
  • Wiring is usually pulled at a distance of 15 cm from the floor or, more often, the ceiling, so there is also no need to carry out repair work.

Knowing the location of sockets and switches, you can create a communication scheme in the apartment.

Log break trap

Knowing the basic principles of the location of electrical networks, it is possible to reduce the time to search for faulty wiring, focusing on the most likely areas of damage.

However, to verify the intended layout of electrical networks, it is advisable to use special devices (professional or self-made), which will be discussed below.

Handy tools: radio and microphone

If necessary, the usual transistor receiver will allow to establish the cable damage area. It must be tuned to 100 kHz waves and brought to the intended area of ​​impact. Above the place where the grid passes, the receiver noise will increase, and the crack will die down above the gap.

Microphone to find a wire break

Do not rush to throw away the microphone from the old radio. This elementary device will help you identify the location of damage to the electrical wire.

Instead of a radio, you can also use a microphone from a portable tape recorder. It should be included in the network and carried over the surface of the wall, where it is assumed that the faulty cable is located. As in the previous version, a crash will be heard above the electric route, which will stop if a break is detected.

It is important to note that improvised devices give an error of 10-15 centimeters. In order to avoid electric shock when carrying out repairs, it is better to insure yourself by taking extra precautions.

Search using professional equipment

Special devices - hidden wiring indicators allow not only to detect the cable, but also to find the area where there is a burnt or punched wire.

Budget tester

Inexpensive household testers are on sale, with which you can easily examine the wiring and find the damaged wire

Among the various devices used to search for damage include:

  • Signaling device E-121 ("Woodpecker"). With it, you can carry out work at a depth of 7 centimeters, which allows you to detect electrical wiring and a torn vein, even in a wall, finished with plasterboard.
  • MS detector. Another popular detector that is easy to use and allows you to get a fairly accurate result.

These and similar instruments give fast and reliable results, but they have certain disadvantages. First of all, using them it is impossible to find a cable protected by a foil-clad screen.

Such devices react not only to electrical wiring, but also to other metal objects, for example, nails and screws in the wall. Finally, although these detectors are easy to use, working with them requires attention and certain skills.

You can also examine the wire in the wall using an indicator screwdriver, but this method is only suitable for the case when the conductors under voltage are at a shallow depth in the concrete.

Using a thermal imager

The thermal imager allows you not only to determine the location of damage, but also to check the quality of electrical communications in the building, detecting network problems (short circuit, leakage)

Bosch DMF 10 zoom, VP-440, POSP-1, GVT-92, GVD-504A and others are also suitable for detecting hidden wiring and points of damage to the conductor under the plaster. It is possible to use the tracker or other professional equipment.

Check wiring homemade device

An alternative to expensive professional equipment can be a low-cost metal detector made from the material at hand.

One of the most popular options is the device for the manufacture of which used old CDs. Despite the seeming simplicity of this device, it allows you to find live wiring, located under the decorative trim at a depth of 10 cm.

For the device will need:

  • unnecessary CDs and DVDs (double-sided ones make the device more sensitive);
  • battery "Krona";
  • calculator (simple model);
  • glue;
  • insulating tape.

Step-by-step instruction:

  • First of all, you need to cut off the headphone plug. Strip the insulation on the two wires, exposing the conductors to 0.5-1 cm.
  • The exposed wires should be divided into 2 parts, so that 4 veins are obtained.
  • Each of the disks is attached to one of the contacts taken from different groups. On a two-sided carrier, they are attached arbitrarily, on a one-sided one - to the writing side.
  • The installed wires are fixed with glue and then additionally fixed to the disks with the help of electrical tape.
  • The remaining two conductors are connected in a standard way with the plus / minus of the battery, after which the bare contacts are carefully insulated with tape.
  • The included calculator is also attached to a CD with insulation material.
  • A DVD is placed on top of the calculator, then the design is secured with tape for integrity.
  • A battery is attached to the surface of the video disc using electrical tape.

After that, you can test the device, which will emit sound over metal objects.

Metal detector made from receiver

A homemade metal detector can also be made from a radio operating in the AM range and a calculator. It is enough to put the included elements in a box from disks and to fix an insulating tape

Modern construction technology often involves the use of beacons or markers in the passage of electrical networks. This greatly facilitates the process of searching for a damaged vein with the help of both professional and amateur means.

Search for electrical wiring for preventive purposes

Usually, electricians or residents begin to look for cables passing through the apartment when there are disturbances with the light.

Meanwhile, this should be taken care of in other situations:

  • Before the planned redevelopment of the apartment. For any manipulations affecting even non-supporting structures (for example, when parsing a partition or when moving a doorway), it is important to consider arrangement of electrical communications.
  • Before installing the sconce, hanging pictures or other wall accessory. To carry out such work, it is important to know where the cable is located so as not to stumble upon it when drilling holes or hammering nails.
  • When purchasing a home. Immediately after the purchase of an apartment, it is advisable to draw up a plan of electrical networks located on the walls and ceiling. The diagram also worth noting the location of sockets, switches, junction box. This markup will help in the implementation of capital / renovation of the apartment, as well as in the arrangement of furniture.

To search for electric tracks, you can use self-made or professional devices that have been described above.

Elimination of phase and neutral wire breaks

Having found out the exact place of cable breakage and having determined its feature (damage to “phase”, “zero”), you can begin to repair it.

To eliminate a damaged phase conductor, you should follow these steps:

  • First you need to disconnect the phase wire.
  • Using a hammer or other tool, remove plaster or other finishing from the wall surface. It is necessary to clear the area along the route by about 10-15 cm, capturing the zone to the right and left of the intended center of damage.
  • It is required to separate the damaged core from the network, trying not to touch the insulation on other cables.
  • Copper wiring is best connected by soldering. To do this, you need to take an additional piece of a similar product from which the repair jumper is made.
  • It is also advisable to put a polyvinyl chloride or heat shrink tubing on the core of the damaged cable. The ends of the jumper are twisted with the ends of the broken wire, after which the connections are soldered.
  • An insulating tape is applied to the repaired place tightly (in several layers), after which a tube, dressed on the wire, gently slides onto it. This ensures the tightness of fasteners.

Aluminum wires worse solder, which also requires a special solder and flux. In this case, the most reliable method of connection will be WAGO terminal, while its place of attachment is required to wrap tape and additionally covered with sealant.

Wires can also be connected using a junction box. To do this, isolation is removed from a torn-off wire, after which its ends are separated in different directions. With the help of a perforator, equipped with a special crown, a hole is punched in the wall, the dimensions of which coincide with the parameters of the junction box.

The device is inserted into the opening, after which it is fixed with alabaster. Wires are placed in the box, and damaged wires are connected in color and wrapped with insulating tape. Finally, the recovered wire box is covered with a lid.

If the cables are placed in special tubes, the damaged conductors should be carefully pulled out to the outside, and instead of them, insert new wires using a pull-through device.

If the zero cable is damaged at the beginning of its operation, it is necessary to disconnect it from the bus by attaching a phase core. The rest of the process coincides with the regulations described above.

After any kind of repair, the shafts are covered with plaster. Giving voltage to the repaired wiring is possible only after the coating has completely dried.

Laying open power grids

Repair work associated with a wire break hidden wiring, usually require complex construction and repair of works: dismantling of finishing, wall shading, followed by sealing and covering a section of the wall with decorative materials.

Repair wiring

Removing a hidden wire break often requires dismantling the finish, so it is advisable to combine such work with an overhaul of the premises.

Since the immediate conduct of such manipulations is not always available, in some cases you can recommend to lay a new wire on the wall surface, covering it in a special box or the tube.

With a detailed description of the rules and technology laying open network You will read through the article recommended by us.

Conclusions and useful video on the topic

The videos below show detailed video instructions for finding the damaged cable.

Video # 1. Finding a cable break with a metal detector:

Video # 2. If there is a radio on hand, it can also help:

Finding a wire break is a fairly complicated and demanding process. It requires attention, accuracy and strict adherence to instructions. Using the above methods, you can find the place of damage to the wire and eliminate the defect found.

Please write comments in the box below. Interesting are your stories about finding a break in the electrical circuit and how to fix it. Ask questions, share useful information and photos on the topic of the article.

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