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Old 11-30-2011, 01:17 PM   #1
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Where can I find out what my light switches contol??


Sorry if this is a stupid question, this is my first post here! I just moved into my first home and there are like 18 light switches that seem to not control anything! I've tested the outlets and that didn't work. Where can I find out? Thanks!

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Old 11-30-2011, 02:53 PM   #2
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Where can I find out what my light switches contol??


wall swiches rarely control wall sockets.. mostly over head lights...cabinet lights...outdoor lights.if you have ceiling fans and nothing happen when you hit a wall switch in a room check the fan pull chains might all be clicked off.

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Old 11-30-2011, 03:34 PM   #3
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Where can I find out what my light switches contol??


Go make sure your breakers are all "ON".
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Old 11-30-2011, 03:42 PM   #4
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Where can I find out what my light switches contol??


Are a lot of bulbs burned out?
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Old 11-30-2011, 06:19 PM   #5
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Where can I find out what my light switches contol??


IF there are no overhead lights in the room the wall switches likely control receptacles or half receptacles. If someone change those half switched receptacles in the past it is possible the switches no longer work. Half switched receptacles require the tab to be broken on the hot side. If the tab is left intact then the switch will no longer control anything.
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Old 11-30-2011, 06:30 PM   #6
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Where can I find out what my light switches contol??


As Bud said, check the bulbs first. Make sure they all work, then turn on a switch and track it down. Many of these might be exterior lights.
Many houses have switches that control outlets. When I bought my house, all the bedrooms and the living room had these in place.
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Old 11-30-2011, 08:08 PM   #7
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Where can I find out what my light switches contol??


As some of the other posters sort of emplyed, it's possible that a duplex outlet can 1 side have power full time and the other 1/2 be on a switch.
Very common so as you walk into a bedroom or living room to be able to turn on a ligh without having to walk across a dark room to find a light.
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Old 11-30-2011, 08:09 PM   #8
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Where can I find out what my light switches contol??


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IF there are no overhead lights in the room the wall switches likely control receptacles or half receptacles. If someone change those half switched receptacles in the past it is possible the switches no longer work. Half switched receptacles require the tab to be broken on the hot side. If the tab is left intact then the switch will no longer control anything.
What do you mean the tab would be broken? Like I said, I'm completely new at this...
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Old 11-30-2011, 08:32 PM   #9
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Where can I find out what my light switches contol??


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What do you mean the tab would be broken? Like I said, I'm completely new at this...
On the side of the outlet there's a metal tab that connects the top and bottom receptacles. If you break the tab off they are separated and can be wired individually.
One can be controlled by a switch while the other is constantly hot. So you need to test both when you turn the switch on or off.
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Old 12-01-2011, 07:07 AM   #10
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Where can I find out what my light switches contol??


Keep in mind too that some of the switches may be 3 or 4-way, so it is possible that two, three, or more switches may control a common light or receptacle(s). For this reason, you want to have a maximum of two people involved in the process; one with a meter, tester, whatever, and one operating the switches.
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Old 12-01-2011, 07:33 AM   #11
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Where can I find out what my light switches contol??


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Keep in mind too that some of the switches may be 3 or 4-way, so it is possible that two, three, or more switches may control a common light or receptacle(s). For this reason, you want to have a maximum of two people involved in the process; one with a meter, tester, whatever, and one operating the switches.
I just plug a radio into the receptacle. This way you can work alone if no one is around.
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Old 12-01-2011, 07:44 AM   #12
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Where can I find out what my light switches contol??


And if you use a radio make sure it's not a battery back up radio, unless you take the batterys out. It will keep working other wise. Been there done that.
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Old 12-01-2011, 08:10 AM   #13
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And if you use a radio make sure it's not a battery back up radio, unless you take the batterys out. It will keep working other wise. Been there done that.
You mean like being in the basement, flipping off breakers in a 42 circuit box and the radio never goes off. You mean like that?
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Old 12-01-2011, 09:43 AM   #14
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Where can I find out what my light switches contol??


How old is your house? Has it ever been re-sided? I have a switch that does nothing because the PO had the house re-sided and had an outside light removed.

I have another switch that I have no idea what does.... the PO doesn't even know (She lived there for 30 years).
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Old 12-01-2011, 09:53 AM   #15
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Where can I find out what my light switches contol??


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How old is your house? Has it ever been re-sided? I have a switch that does nothing because the PO had the house re-sided and had an outside light removed.

I have another switch that I have no idea what does.... the PO doesn't even know (She lived there for 30 years).
In our previous house, which had been subject to numerous renovations before we moved in, there was a bank of five switches that did absolutely nothing at all. It was impressive.

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