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I just bought my first house everything is going well except for there are 2 light switches on the side of the mantel that don't seem to turn anything on or off. There is a switch on the left side of the fireplace that turns the fireplace on and off. On the right there is a double switch, neither seems to do anything. How do I figure out what they turn off or on?

  • Receptacles or outside lights, try when it's dark outside. – Tyson Jan 4 '17 at 22:04
  • Might there be a receptacle over the mantel (often used for a picture light)? – bib Jan 5 '17 at 0:26
  • Might there be a split receptacle on the wall where one of the two sockets is controlled by the switch? Several plug-in lamps will help with such a search. Generally you do an exhaustive search of the house to account for every device, then you try to account for every switch. Lastly pop the cover off the box and see if it's really connected. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Jan 5 '17 at 1:27
  • Maybe you bought the house I lived in 40 years ago :-) . My Dad removed two sconces from either side of the fireplace and patched the wall. That left a light switch or two which didn't control anything. Meanwhile, why not ask the previous owners (or the builder, if it's brand new)? – Carl Witthoft Jan 5 '17 at 16:56
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Without being able to trace the wiring, you'd need current-detecting equipment, and that would only work if the circuit is in use.

They may be thermostat-controlled fan switches. Have you tried them after a fire has been burning for a while?

Otherwise, they may be for switched outlets, possibly on just one half of the receptacle.

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