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Old 11-12-2011, 04:11 PM   #1
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help me identify this switch




I have this switch in my bedroom as shown and I can't figure out what it's for. It still has power so it's live, although as best I can tell it doesn't control anything. the circuit it's on is mostly my living room receptacles (other side of the house, which is weird) and the utility room, although I don't think it controls anything in the utility room either.

So, question is, any ideas as to what it could be? it's positioned right next to the master bed. House is circa 1959 and this looks original.

Further, I thought I read that 3M has a kit you can use to splice the wires together and have it be good for NEC code, is this true? if so, where can I find it? I'm guessing that just turning the power off, splicing the 2 ends if I can to code and burying it is the best bet so that I dont' need to worry about having turned something off that I only use in some weird season.

I don't know, advice? anyone know what it could be for?

thank you for the help

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Old 11-12-2011, 04:22 PM   #2
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help me identify this switch


Looks like a 3-way switch. Are you sure it doesn't do anything?

Are any of your outlets controlled by a switch? Odds are one of them was replaced at one time and the tab wasn't pulled so it's now "hot" all the time.

As to the "burying" the wires, don't. Just splice the wires if you need to and put on a blank wall plate.

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Old 11-12-2011, 05:24 PM   #3
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help me identify this switch


It's on a different breaker than the outlets in the bedroom so it doesn't do that. I'm starting to convince myself it might have been for a whole house fan or something that I think may have existed in the house for a year or 2 before HVAC was put in. There is an outlet above it that looks like it had a 16 gauge wire routed up to it but thats all disconnected.

Is there a tool out there that puts tones on the power line so I can find out if I can trace to where it's tied in and disconnect it?

Thanks.
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Old 11-12-2011, 05:41 PM   #4
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help me identify this switch


Yes, they do make tracers that you can use.

Some "stud finders" can also detect power cables if there is a load on it.
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Old 11-12-2011, 05:49 PM   #5
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help me identify this switch


so I went and played with the switch. It doesn't snap like an on/off switch which is making me think it may be a dimmer.

Also, I'm guessing it's related to this, from a previous post and yet identified. They are in the same room.
what is this "feature" in my ceiling?

I'll have to see if my stud finder can help me a bit, but unless it makes turns or something I'll get lost once it runs into other power lines.
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Old 11-12-2011, 06:10 PM   #6
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help me identify this switch


I doubt it is a dimmer, at least by appearances, and the vintage.

It's probably broken.
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Old 11-12-2011, 06:18 PM   #7
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help me identify this switch


It has three wires, I would say it is a three way, possibly some one replaced a three way by the door with a standard switch.
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Old 11-12-2011, 06:48 PM   #8
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help me identify this switch


Judging by the position of the switch.
I would guess that it used to control lights,
probably in the bedroom, it might have even
controled a recepticule somewhere that had
a bedside lamp plugged into it.
But as your house is old, this could have
changed sometime ago.
Imagine an electricain, testing recepticules
and he finds one not working in the bedroom
(not knowing about the remote switch).
He could have rewired the outlet.
So there could indeed be wires capped off
tucked into the wall somewhere.

The only way to know for sure, is to follow the
wires, which might not be so easy.
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Old 11-12-2011, 06:52 PM   #9
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help me identify this switch


it still has power so it's still doing something, thats my main concern.

Am I able to put a metal plate on it to close up the metal box and than plaster over?
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Old 11-12-2011, 06:59 PM   #10
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help me identify this switch


No, you can not plaster over the plate, it's against Code.

Just put a blank wallplate on it.
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Old 11-12-2011, 08:22 PM   #11
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help me identify this switch


The OP could seal the box and plaster over it if all of the cable going to the box is permanently disconnected from the electrical system, but that would still require identifying which circuit the switch is on (and making accommodations for any other devices on the same circuit).
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Old 11-12-2011, 08:52 PM   #12
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help me identify this switch


Perhaps this will work - cut power, then cut the lines close to the switch and cap them off. Turn the power back on and see if anything that was on before is no longer working. That will at least tell you what it's for.

But like a previous poster said, if you have powered wires to a box, you can not just seal it off from the world. You have to just put a flat cover on it and pretend it's not there anymore. (I did that at my last house, and my dad came over and made me open the wall up and cover it correctly. I had flat cover floating halfway up my wall for no apparent reason, but I learned to "not see it" pretty quickly.)

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