A light switch that does nothing!

I just bought a house that has a light switch that controls nothing! How do I trace what this switch is supposed to do without ripping out walls to trace the wiring? Suggestions? (now... be nice) ;-)
--
Mr W.



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Are there any wires connected to the switch? Maybe the switch is bad.
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Are you sure it doesn't control half of one of the duplex receptacles in that room? It might also have gone to the fan in a fan/light combo that is now just a light. Is it near a basement or attic access? How about an outside outlet? I had a "mystery switch" that controlled a landscape light outlet in the yard. That took a while to figure out. ;-)
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Greg wrote:

Yep. If it's an older (50+) home, it could go just about anywhere, be broken, or some combination of the above. Oh, joy! <g>
If the home is more "middle age" (20-50) or newer, I would lean towards the 'half-of-duplex-for-table-lamps' as more probable, and it it's < 20 I would think it could have been put in for "future use", which builders didn't really do until recently. If so, and it is anywhere like Greg said, you may want to look for a blank cover plate on an outside wall where you might place a light fixture or outlet.
--
The real Tom Pendergast [ So if you meet me, have some courtesy,
aka I-zheet M'drurz [ have some sympathy, and some taste.
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Greg spilled my beer when they jumped on the table and proclaimed in

I have one similar to your story. There's a light switch in a closet here, that is live, and it works. The light is a pullstring light. I checked every outlet in the house to see if the previous owner had it wired somewhere for some insane reason, then gave up when I couldn't find it.
2 years later, I'm working in the attic above this closet when I see wiring come out of the 'floor', go up a support stud to two wire nuts, and stop.
To this day, I have no idea what he was planning to use it for. The bare ends are perfectly straight, as if they were cut, stripped, then wire nutted and left. (I boxed them just to be safe. :) )
NOI
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A switched light in the attic..is there a ceiling trapdoor in the closet for attic access? ..or maybe there 'was' going to be one.
OR, run the circuit across the attic and out to a box w/ duplex outlet in the soffit/eaves area
Gives you a dry outside place to plug in your "roof" Christmas lights and switched "inside". No cold wet trips outside in Winter to turn off/unplug the Xmas lights.
We have 2 such circuits Ho Ho Ho!
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Rudy wrote:

giving art classes. Above the ceiling was an attic, so it was easy to run the wiring to a newly installed switch on the DR wall connected to an outlet on the adjacent LR wall. When my wife gave up the classes, I removed the track lights but retained the switch, which then did nothing. Subsequently, I installed a motion detector light on the rear of my house (for the dog) and used the DR switch to control the outside light.
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Rudy spilled my beer when they jumped on the table and proclaimed in

Well, it is on the opposite side of the house from the attic entrance...

Well, that was an idea I had, but since my wife and I got to the point where we hate Christmas time, that idea fell flat. :)
NOI
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As sure as sheetrock, you are correct! I've never heard of such a thing, but the switch DOES control one half of an outlet!
Thanks! Mr. Whippy
--

"Greg" < snipped-for-privacy@aol.com> wrote in message
news: snipped-for-privacy@mb-m02.aol.com...
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Split receptacles, oh yea, I wired a couple of those in my house. You wind up having a receptacle to use for a lamp with out having to put another one side by side for a lamp. I use one of them for electrical repair projects when I want to stand back a ways to test what ever I hope I fixed. They are not so handy when you can't remember why the vacuum that was running just a minute ago now doesn't run. I also have a switch that does nothing for a garbage disposal I'm going to put in, someday, when I get around to it, when I think of it, and they are sale, maybe I find a new one at a garage sale...
"Mr. Whippy" wrote:

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Well, they DO do something and I wish you would stop f*cking with them! I'm having a helluva time trying to read!!!
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I had one of these too. It used to control a ceiling fan or light in the kitchen. This is now controlled with just one switch, however the power was going through this switch - noticed the fan didn't work when these wires were disconnected (a long story).
Good luck
On Sun, 24 Oct 2004 05:19:36 GMT, "Mr. Whippy"

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Some new houses have extra circuits, and perhaps switches too, for plans the owner never got around to implementing. In my house these are (1) outdoor lights (extra switch at the front door) and (2) unbuilt extra bathroom (circuits only, no switches.)
--
Don Phillipson
Carlsbad Springs
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On Sun, 24 Oct 2004 05:19:36 GMT, "Mr. Whippy"

You might want to look carefully at the ceiling in any room that doesn't have a ceiling fixture. I found small round plaster repairs in the ceilings of two rooms in my house. The previous owners apparently didn't like ceiling fixtures.
I took a chance that the one in my MBR might still be active and chopped away the plaster. I installed a cheap "temporary" fixture that I had bought in case it worked. That was, of course, a couple of years ago. The difference between temporary and permanent is a subtle one in my house.
Even if I didn't need a fixture, it's just as well that I opened up the ceiling box. If memory serves there was no cover on the box, just a wad of newspaper stuffed into it to serve as a backing for the plaster. The wires inside were just taped off and the tape was in questionable condition.
Greg Guarino
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I had one of these, too. At some point, I had a worker up in the attic who mentioned that the attic fan wasn't running, though it was 90F+ out (and thus, oh, 3,000F or so in the attic). I got an electrician out, who went up, tromped around, then came down and quickly found the switch, said "You're not gonna like this..." and turned the fan on. (Being a "sensible" sort, I'd left the "useless" switch off...)
(Actually, he was there to do something else as well, so it didn't cost me much; better than the time I spent $43 to learn how to reset a GFI breaker -- it never occurred to me that the "half-tripped" position meant to turn it OFF and then ON; I kept trying to turn it on, decided it was physically busted, called the electrician...)
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Mr. Whippy wrote:

Remember the Steven Wright joke:
"In my house there's this light switch that doesn't do anything. Every so often I would flick it on and off just to check. Yesterday, I got a call from a woman in Germany. She said, 'Cut it out.'"
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Greetings,
It probably controlls a switched outlet. Plug in a lamp to each outlet nearby and flip the switch until you find out which one it is. I could also be an emergency gas boiler shutoff switch.
Hope this helps, William

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William Deans wrote:

Also note that sometimes switches can be wired to control only half of an outlet.
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In my house there's this light switch that doesn't do anything. Every so often I would flick it on and off just to check. Yesterday, I got a call from a woman in Madagascar. She said, "Cut it out." -- Steven Wright
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