We've all been there - you're hanging a picture or mounting a TV and you hit a spot in the wall that sounds hollow. Upon further inspection, it becomes clear there's some sort of wire or pipe hiding back there. Do you really have to cut open the wall to fix it? Thankfully, the answer is no! With the right tools and techniques, you can remedy wiring issues behind drywall and avoid a major repair job.

In this comprehensive guide, I'll walk you through everything you need to know to fix that one weird wire behind the drywall without tearing open your walls.

Finding the Exact Location of the Wire

The first step is pinpointing exactly where the wire is located. Here are some tips for tracking it down:

Use a Stud Finder

Run a stud finder vertically along the wall to detect any horizontal wires. The stud finder will alert you when it senses the metal inside the wire. Mark the exact spot so you know where to focus your efforts.

Look for Electrical Boxes

Wires are often run behind walls from one electrical box to another. Locate any visible electrical boxes on that wall and mark between them as the likely path.

Follow the Wire

Start pressing along the wall to feel for the wire. Once you detect it, keep following in either direction to trace the full path. Mark as you go so you know the length you're dealing with.

Use a Cable Tracker

For just a few dollars, you can pick up a cable tracker tool. It emits a signal along a wire that you can track with a detector wand. This makes it quick and easy to identify the wire's location.

Determining the Issue with the Wire

Once you've found the wire behind your drywall, you need to diagnose what exactly the problem is before deciding how to fix it. Here are some ways to determine what's wrong:

Accessing the Wire Through the Drywall

Now that you've located the wire and diagnosed the issue, it's time to gain access without ripping open walls. Here are a few methods:

Cut a Small Hole

Use a drywall saw to cut an access hole about 4 inches wide. Make it large enough to see the wire and use tools to fix it.

Drill Along the Wire Path

Use a 1⁄2 inch drill bit to drill a line of holes just above where you detected the wire. Space them a few inches apart so you can access the length of the wire through the holes.

Remove Drywall Anchors

If the wire is running next to a seam where drywall sheets meet, you may be able to remove just the drywall anchors holding it together. Then you can separate the seam enough to reach in and access the wire.

Snake a Camera

A small borescope camera that snakes behind the drywall can help you inspect the wire and determine the best access method.

Repairing the Wire

Once you can see the wire through your access point, it's time to make the repair. Here are some common ways to fix wires behind drywall:

Splice a Broken Wire

Use wire nuts to splice any severed or damaged wires back together.

Insulate Exposed Wire

If insulation has rubbed off, wrap the exposed wire with electrical tape or heat-shrink wrap.

Reroute Wire

If the wire is loose, secure it back into position or reroute to a better path without kinks.

Replace Old Wire

For degraded or outdated wire, pull new wire through and connect it properly at both ends.

Add a Junction Box

You may need to cut the wire and install a junction box if it wasn't connected correctly.

Ground Loose Live Wires

Properly ground any loose live wires so they don't present a hazard.

Closing Up the Wall

Once you've completed the repair, you need to seal the wall back up. Here's how:

With the right prep and tools, you can remedy pesky wiring issues behind your walls the easy way. Just be sure to turn off power at the breaker box before working on any wires. Follow these steps, and you'll be back to smooth walls in no time!