With the right tools and techniques, you can trace your wiring without damaging your walls. ­

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­If you need to find the wires inside your walls, you'll probably want a non-invasive way to look for them. After all, without a method to your madness, you'd just be hammering unsightly holes through your drywall in a vain attempt to cross paths with your wires. Instead, there's a better way: With the right tools and techniques, you can locate, or trace, your wiring without damaging your walls.

Tracing electrical wiring in walls can be tricky, and it involves more than just looking for the wires themselves. To figure out exactly where the wires are, you'll look f­or the outlets and appliances that each wire connects to. You'll also figure out which circuit breaker applies to which section of your home's wiring.

­You may be wondering why someone would go through all that trouble just to figure out the locations of wires. Knowing where your wires are can help you make repairs, plan for home improvement projects and even make your home safer. By knowing which outlets are on which circuits, you can decide where to plug in power-hungry appliances without overloading your electrical system. If one of your outlets is on the fritz and you don't have an electrical blueprint of your home to use as a reference, tracing the wiring can help you figure out exactly where the problem is. If you want to run new wires to a home theater system or other electronics, knowing your current wires' locations can help cut down on electrical interference, which can lower the quality of your picture and sound. And you'll definitely need to know where the wires are if you plan to do any renovation or demolition projects to your inside walls. Breaking into a live wire could damage your home and cause serious injury.

Read the next page to find out what tools you need to trace electrical wiring in walls.