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How to Find a Broken Wire Underground [5 Easy Steps]

Struggling with finding wire underground? It’s really problematic. Finding wires underground can be tricky. Because you don’t know where the wire is traveling through. 

How to find a broken wire underground?

Finding a broken wire underground isn’t that tough. You’ll be needing a broken wire finder. After that, use the machine above the area you suspect the wire might be broken. The machine will blink light when you hover above a broken wire. Dig the solid and reattach the wires. 

There are multiple steps involved in finding and attaching a broken wire. We have discussed in detail each step below in this article. 

How to Find the Broken Wire: Follow 5 Steps

Wires stay under a lot of protected sleeves. Also, when they are underground, they are protected by the soil. But it can tear apart from a hit of the shovel or anything sharp. 

It is hard to find exactly where the wire ripped apart. That’s why you’ll be needing a broken wire-finding device. Also, there are specific types of wires which are called burial wires

If you are thinking of purchasing a broken wire finder, you can give these a try. These machines give accurate output:


Besides accurate reading, they will last you a long time. These are also really cheap devices. Now, let’s move on to the main steps.

Step 1: Specify the Type of Wire You are Looking for

There are a lot of types of wiring. There are wires which provide the internet. Those are known as ethernet cables and are usually made out of optical fiber.

A different type of wire is for your TV cable. There is high voltage wiring. Also, ground wires are meant to be exposed underground. High voltage cables are really thick. Also, they usually don’t break.

Ground wires pass the excess electricity from your outlets and devices. It saves them from power surges and high voltage. You can use a surge protector, but even surge protectors go bad

You need to specify the type of wiring because you need to be safe accordingly. You suggest you never go near high voltage wiring. They flow a tremendous amount of electricity. Which can even kill you.  

Step 2: Inspect Above Ground

Inspect the places you might think the wire might be. If you have the blueprint of your home wiring, it will come in handy. 

If you don’t have it, look where the wire begins and ends. The wires usually start from the transmitter and end at the electronics or outlets. 

If the wire goes straight into the ground from the transmitter, dig up the soil a bit. It will show which way the wire is going. 

The wires don’t sit really deep into the ground. So even if you have to do some digging, it’s not that much. 

Step 3: Find Any Visual Damage Above Ground

If you have installed new fencing or did some gardening in your backyard. High chances you might have damaged your wires doing so. 

Wires which sit underground are not that deep. So the wire can be easily damaged when you are working above. 

So find a place where you suspect you have worked in the soil. Most probably the wire is damaged there.

Step 4: Use the Wire Finder to Locate the Wire

The wire break finder is an easy way to find where the wire is broken. Keep the sensitivity as low as possible. 

The machine works with electromagnetic fields. A broken wire will emit more electromagnetism than a cover wire.

So if the magnetic field gets stronger, it detects the broken wire. The machine can detect high voltage. But it cannot detect negative voltage.

Work on the place where you think the wire might be broken. The machine will make a low humming noise when you are above a live wire. So, when you come across a broken wire area, the noise will stop and a light will blink on the device.

Step 5: Patch the Broken Wire

Now that you have found the broken wire. It’s time to patch it up. But make use that the wires are no ground wire. Ground wires are supposed to be exposed under the ground. It can be difficult to connect different wires such as connecting 12-3 and 12-2 wires.

With any other wire. Connect the copper ends of the wire. Be careful if electricity is flowing. Take some electrical tape and cover over the ripped area. If you want to protect it in a better way. You can use a heat shrink tube.

In that case, before you take the area, slide the heat shrink tube inside the wire. Then put some tape on the broken part of the wire. Afterward, put the heat shrink tube on top of the area.

Use a heat blower or a hairdryer to shrink the tube on the broken area. It will be good as new. 

This way you can find and fix a broken wire which stays underground


Questions: How to reattach an ethernet cable?

Answers: Attaching ethernet cables are tough. Attach all the wires matching the colors. We suggest taking help from the professionals.

Question: Should I fix multiple tears or replace the wire?

Answer: You can but you should not. Multiple attachments might cause disturbance in power delivery. Replace the whole wire. 

Question: How to protect wires underground?

Answer: Remember where the wires travel. You can dig the full length of the wire and put a metal or plastic sheet. So nothing from above will hit the wire.


By now you should know how to find a broken wire underground. It can be tricky, but with the right method and right tool, the task is easy to do. 

Be careful while working with live wires. Cut the flow of electricity when you are working. 

Good luck with your wires!