We just bought a house and I have a light in our screen porch (aka Florida room). It has a light in the center of the ceiling that I can't identify its light switch.

Thinking it might be the bulb, I pulled the globe down and instead used a non-contact voltage detector after flipping each switch even remotely near it (and some further away thinking it may be daisy chained off of another light fixture). The ceiling isn't going to be easy to get into to track the wires, but I'm afraid that's my only option.

Any hints or tricks for tracking down the power source of a light fixture?

  • 3
    Make sure it's not being fed from a GFCI outlet and put in good bulbs.. keep clicking switches.
    – JACK
    Commented Oct 26, 2020 at 19:19
  • Is the light always on or always off? Commented Oct 27, 2020 at 11:33
  • The light is always off.
    – Doug S
    Commented Oct 27, 2020 at 20:22

1 Answer 1


Once you've tried the answer in the comment:

Get an edison screw outlet adapter (basically the bottom half a lightbulb with a socket at the end).

Get an electrical tracer, and attach the leads to some wires poking out of the socket (this just makes it easier -- you could also take the socket down and attach to the wires in the ceiling). Now wave the wand around and trace the wire. It should go to a junction box or a switch.

  • Will an electrical tracer work without the fixture having power?
    – Doug S
    Commented Oct 27, 2020 at 20:24
  • @DougS the base unit uses a 9v battery to put out a carrier signal that the wand detects.
    – gbronner
    Commented Oct 28, 2020 at 13:18
  • 1
    This solution was spot on. The test/tone kit I bought didn’t have probes small enough to fit into the Edison plug so I took the fixture down. The tones led me straight to the circuit breaker panel inside the kitchen (immediately adjacent to the Florida room) where I noticed a breaker that was off that was labeled “fan.” I verified it got hot with a voltmeter and then reinstalled the fixture. Thanks for the help @gbronner!
    – Doug S
    Commented Nov 4, 2020 at 7:57

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