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Old 02-21-2012, 08:30 AM   #1
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Wall Switches - with unknown termination


HI All,

We bought a house recently built by an electrician - there are light switches everywhere and outlets everywhere, this is a good thing for the most part as you can turn on front or rear exterior flood lights (Eight sets) from almost any room in the house and garage. There are multiple banks of 3 or 4 switches in most rooms and 4 switch boxes even in the bathrooms. We ended up having to label the switches just to keep them straight.

The question I have is there are at least 10 swtches that I cannot identify the function. I have done all of the 'normal stuff' like plugging in a lamp to each outlet (top and bottom) and toggling the switches, or toggling the switches at night to see if lights come on in clossts or stairways etc.(found several this way). I was beginning to think some of the switches were just not wired up....but I don't know why someone would do that - no matter. I know some are wired because recently I was in a gang box adding a dimmer and noticed one of the switches (as yet to be identified) was in fact wired to something.

Is there an 'affordable' tool (or other suggestions) that would be useful for running down the end points....tracing the wire run to termination. I see all kinds of wire and circuit tracers for sale but not sure what is the correct tool for this situation.

Thanks,
Chuck

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Old 02-21-2012, 09:07 AM   #2
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Wall Switches - with unknown termination


Some are probably for future use as in ceiling fan/light combos to be added later.

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Old 02-21-2012, 09:10 AM   #3
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Wall Switches - with unknown termination


Some could be for fans where only ceiling lights are installed.
Did you check outdoor receptacles. Look up in the eaves. They could be for Christmas lights.
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Old 02-21-2012, 09:28 AM   #4
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Wall Switches - with unknown termination


Any way to track down the electrician that built the home?
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Old 02-21-2012, 09:31 AM   #5
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Wall Switches - with unknown termination


I have a few of these, too. Not nearly in your numbers, though! I've considered just removing the switch, wire-capping the hot lead, and putting a cover on the box instead of a switch-plate. I figure it's better to cap it where I KNOW it's hot then to leave a switch toggling power who-knows-where.

There are tools that can do this, but I've yet to find a cheap one. Maybe rental?
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Old 02-21-2012, 07:39 PM   #6
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Wall Switches - with unknown termination


Thanks for the info everyone, you gave me some ideas and the house is in a small town - chasing down the original owner/electrician may be my most 'economical' solution, as I think he is still in the area.

Best Regards,
Chuck
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Old 02-21-2012, 08:15 PM   #7
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Wall Switches - with unknown termination


Quote:
Originally Posted by cbjr View Post
Thanks for the info everyone, you gave me some ideas and the house is in a small town - chasing down the original owner/electrician may be my most 'economical' solution, as I think he is still in the area.

Best Regards,
Chuck
Invite him over for dinner and pick his brain for a while.

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