Electrical Wiring in the Home/Test voltage leakage?


Hello, Greg. You recently helped me figure out that insulation staples had pierced some Romex feeding an outdoor light fixture. I did pull the sheet rock to inspect the other Romex cables going to/from the outlet box. No staples affected those cables. Looks like a situation where three cables made for a tight fit along the stud, bringing one so close that it got stapled with the insulation. Question: Is there a tool that can be used to detect voltage leakage in a circuit from staples or nails? Maybe something that I could hire an electrician to do? It'd take quite a long time to remove all sheet rock to perform similar inspections.

I agree that would be a huge and expensive job to check each wire.

Electricians use a device to follow electricity in a wall, but that would only show where there was a break, not what you are finding.

The other tool electricians use is a "megger", which may be a little more helpful in your situation. But not necessarily so because it depends how the staple went in.

Typically an electrician secures the wires in a manner that the staple from insulation would not hit the sheath.
It could be that there were just too many wires crowded in that spot.

Probably the most helpful thing I can tell is to hire an electrician familiar with the houses in your neighborhood and get them to come out and give you an assessment.

If they seem to be telling you need a lot of work then hire another one to get a second opinion.

I have seen homes burnt down from electrical fires (I am not trying to scare you) and the people would have paid a lot of money in retrospect to fix the problems.  
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Electrical Wiring in the Home

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Greg Hughes


Troubleshooting electrical including appliances and HVAC.


34 years of experience.

Both college and tech schools in this field.

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