I have a back room that was converted from a back porch to a room. It has a light switch on one wall that doesn't appear to work anything. I checked to see if it has current coming to the switch and it was showing less than 1 volt. The switch is very old and has 2 red wires and 2 black wires coming to and going away from it. How do i safely eliminate this switch? I do not want to replace it with another. I just want it gone.

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    When you measured voltage how did you do it? One test lead to each switch screw? – Tyson Jan 23 '18 at 2:02
  • What happens if you remove each wire, cap them and turn the power back on? – bib Jan 23 '18 at 2:31
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    Are you in the UK? – Harper - Reinstate Monica Jan 23 '18 at 3:10
  • My moms furnace has a switch in the mud room / pantry. Several years ago she asked if I would remove it because she forgot what it controlled, took a few minutes but I traced the DPST switch to the blower motor 240v , good thing I did not remove it. You should always know what you are doing and what it feeds. – Ed Beal Jan 23 '18 at 15:40
  • Is it possible that it used to control say the top half of the duplex outlets, and then someone replaced one or more of them and failed to break off the tab? – Brad Gilbert Jan 23 '18 at 19:24

Shut off power and trace the cables leaving that box. (See How to trace mystery switches.) Once you've identified the cables and confirmed they're truly not connected to anything else, you can cap them in the box or cut them back (see What is the proper way to leave unused nonmetallic sheathed cable inside walls or ceilings?), remove the box, and patch the wall.


Turn off the power at the circuit breaker for safety. Cap all wires with a wire nuts. Replace with blank faceplate and then turn the power back on.

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    Not a good idea to disconnect all the wires and individually cap them. The switch might be acting as a splice connector. – Jim Stewart Jan 23 '18 at 14:32
  • Given the reference to "red" and "black" wires, the OP is much more likely to be in the UK than the US. Wirenuts are forbidden in the UK. – Martin Bonner supports Monica Aug 27 '19 at 10:08

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