I have a number of light switches in my home that seem to do nothing. I have no idea what they were intended do. When I flip them on/off there is no sound, no indication of activity... nothing.

Is there a way I can trace them or somehow determine what they control? (I've tested every bulb in the home and I know that's not the issue.)

  • 2
    Have you checked every socket of every receptacle? Receptacles can be split so only one of the two sockets is controlled by the switch. Jul 10, 2021 at 14:56

1 Answer 1


There's a good chance those switches control outlets around the room. Check both outlets at each location around a room by plugging in a lamp or air dryer and then operating the switch. Remember, test both outlets because most of the time the outlets are split meaning the top one is switched and the bottom one is always hot, or the right is switched and the left is always hot.

Another possibility is the switches control wiring in the ceiling for a fan and light fixture. Check to see if there are cover plates on the ceiling in the middle of the rooms.

  • Any other ideas if this fails? I have a couple switches in a room that I can't figure out either. It doesn't drive any outlets or lights. There is a ceiling fan and two other switches control it.
    – Kat
    Jul 10, 2021 at 20:01
  • @Kat I have seen instances where switches were wired to outlet boxes but never hooked up. The outlets could be switched later if homeowner wanted it.
    – JACK
    Jul 14, 2021 at 15:55

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