Announcement

Announcement Module
Collapse

How To Post Images

Want to know the how to upload images to your posts? Image Posting Tutorial
See more
See less

Newbie Needs Advice Please

Page Title Module
Move Remove Collapse
X
Conversation Detail Module
Collapse
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Newbie Needs Advice Please

    Hi! I am new to the Ridgid forum and find it extremely informative!

    My question: How do I find out what a switch controls (simplest way please)?

    I have several wall switches in the 19 year old home I just bought that don't seem to work anything! I want to use one of them (potentially) to hook in to some recessed lights I am going to put in the family room ceiling.

    Thanks for your help.

    Bob

  • #2
    Re: Newbie Needs Advice Please

    I suppose there's likely a way to trace the wires in the walls... but I'd just take a lamp and start plugging it in places to see if the switch turns it on.

    Welcome to the forums. I generally provide the least valuable answers around here so for your sake, hopefully there's an electrician in the house to chime in.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Newbie Needs Advice Please

      Bob

      Are the switches in a hallway or are they in a room on one of the walls? If in a hallway they may be for light fixtures on the floor above or below. WW has a good idea of trying a test lamp in every receptacle in the same room with the switch in question. Trying to trace wires gets pretty wild if you don't have special tools-equipment. Also, be sure to check for any blown or removed fuses or tripped circuit breakers.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Newbie Needs Advice Please

        You might need to try both outlets of a duplex receptacle because sometimes they are 'split' and one outlet will be powered all the time and the other will be switched.
        ---------------
        Light is faster than sound. That's why some people seem really bright until you hear them speak.
        ---------------
        “If I had my life to live over again, I'd be a plumber.” - Albert Einstein
        ---------
        "Its a table saw.... Do you know where your fingers are?"
        ---------
        sigpic http://www.helmetstohardhats.com/

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Newbie Needs Advice Please

          I have several wall switches in my house that are hooked up to wiring intended for the future installation of a ceiling fan. The wires are stubbed off and capped in the ceiling light receptacle. If the switch is in a gang plate right next to the overhead light switch, that could be what they are. In your case, someone probably took down the fan and just put back a ceiling light. It's all too common in FL (lived there for 22 years) for people moving to take their ceiling fans with them (altho if they were there when the house was listed for sale, by law they should have been left). Like Bob D said, houses built there 20 years ago also often had one of the wall receptacles (one of a duplex receptacle) switched to allow turning on a table or pole lamp with a light switch. This was usually done in the living/family room, and sometimes in the master bedroom.
          Go
          Last edited by Gofor; 02-05-2007, 08:53 PM.
          Practicing at practical wood working

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Newbie Needs Advice Please

            Thanks to all who answered.

            The switches are in a hallway and there are 2 ceiling fans installed and working.

            Also, the house is only one story.

            Bob

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Newbie Needs Advice Please

              Bob,
              There are relatively inexpensive Fox & Hound units at Menards, Home Despot, Lowe's etc. They are generally called wire or line tracers. Cost from $29-$49. Are well worth the investment if you're a home owner and doing some remodeling. If the other suggestions don't get you the results you need, try one of these. Also, there is an adapter you can purchase separately with some alligator clips and a light socket to put in a screw-in outlet for the homing portion of the two. If you look closely at the one they have for sale, you can figure out how to make your own that works just as well. Anyway, with the switches you outlined, you're going to need the adapter to go along with the Fox & Hounds for your situation. Please be careful doing this cause you have to remove the switch from the box and then clip the alligator connections to the hot side of the switch and the ground. Then plug the homing portion into you adapter. Then use the tracer portion at your breaker box to locate what circuit that switch is on. Hopefully, your breaker box is well marked, and you'll now at least know what location your searching for in your house. Hope this all makes sense. Let me know if I lost you. Good luck.
              Jim Don

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Newbie Needs Advice Please

                Originally posted by bobparrish View Post
                Thanks to all who answered.

                The switches are in a hallway and there are 2 ceiling fans installed and working.

                Also, the house is only one story.

                Bob
                How do the fans work? Does one switch turn on both the fan and the light, or do the fan and light each have their own wall switch?

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Newbie Needs Advice Please

                  The fans/light kits each have their own wall switches.

                  Bob

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Newbie Needs Advice Please

                    -
                    *
                    Robert Wilber
                    Licensed Philadelphia Electrician
                    Philadelphia License # 3516 - 16765
                    *
                    A lot of great advice in here.
                    It can be very difficult to tell what a switch is for, even if you are on site.
                    Verbal descriptions of locations can leave a lot to be desired when it comes to creating an accurate image of what exists.
                    It appears that you have a good idea of most of your house.
                    It would be helpful in aiding you if you made a diagram of your electrical devices and outlets.
                    Draw out your house and mark where your outlets and switches are.
                    Find me on Google and email or fax me the diagram.
                    I would be happy to help you think this out.
                    Licensed Philadelphia electrician
                    Philadelphia emergency lighting certification

                    Comment

                    Working...
                    X