Why are there useless light switches in the house?

Hi, I've noticed that many houses have rooms that have light switches, but no built in light inside the room. Of course, some of those switches control the power to the outlets inside that room. However, there are also switches that do absolutely nothing (or it seems). Since the outlets in the room work regardless of whether the switch is on or off. Can someone tell me why these light switches exist?


14 Answers

  • *
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago
    Best Answer

    Nope, I don't have an answer, but I have the same situation. And my house was built just 3 years ago, and we're the only ones who have lived here, so I know it's not a case of rewiring or remodeling.

    We have several switches that do nothing. A few of them, we found, turn lights on in the attic (we have lights in the attic! who knew!), but we still wonder what the rest of them are for. The outlets work regardless which switches are turned on or off, so my only guess is that these switches are some kind of pre-wiring for fixtures we might want to install later (?) ... OK, that's just my guess!

  • 5 years ago

    Be sure to check both sockets of each outlet. Some electricians wire outlets so the top half can be switched and the bottom half is on 24/7, or vice-versa. All you need is a working nightlight. Plug it into one half of the outlet, turn it on and move to the other half of the same outlet. Turn the nightlight on. Repeat this for every single outlet. If you come across and outlet that doesn't work flick the mystery switch on. The night light should glow. Otherwise, they were probably installed so a ceiling fan with a light kit could be hung with the light and fan separate.

  • 1 decade ago

    Yes, this is very common. Especially with older homes. The original house was probably built so that the switch controlled just one of the two plugs in the wall outlet. Quite often the one of the home owners decides they don't like having a swiched outlet and so they remove the original outlet which has two types of wires going to it... (1) the Swiched power wire and (2) the unswiched power wire. They replace the outlet with one where both outlets are common and so they only attach the unswitched power wire plus the neutral ground wire. The switched wire is then just sitting inside the outlet box doing nothing. Try taking the outlet out and see if you see an unused wire inside the outlet box.

    Source(s): 3 time Homeowner, all of which had these mystery switches.
  • 1 decade ago

    probably remodeling outdated it's use

    we lived in a house for a while then found out there used to be a porch and a porch light

    and that there used to be a yard Post Lamp

    and there was a switch that used to turn a water pump on before they installed the city water

    so who knows what yours might have been

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  • 1 decade ago


    These outlets are built into your home so that you can plug anythiing into them at any time...a vacuum cleaner, a TV, lamp, stereo...whatever. The outlets that are connected to an "off-on" switch are meant for lighting a dark room without searching for it in the dark. That switch is usually right inside the door of the room.The others are for convenience items.

    Source(s): Most homes I've lived in support this thinking. I have re-wired rooms so that only one souce turned on the lights, and the others were for stereos and so forth.
  • 1 decade ago

    This is called "indirect lighting"..made to turn the wall receptacles on with a switch..so if you walk into a room without a ceiling light..A lamp can be plugged into the wall and turned on from a switch as you enter the room ..

  • mallin
    Lv 4
    3 years ago

    the 1st ingredient you're able to be able to desire to do is to confirm which of the black wires is offering capability. go away the grounds and white wires as you have them and separate the three black wires. With a tester confirm which twine is warm. as quickly as you have executed that, connect one in each and every of the different black wires to it. this could the two furnish capability to the fan or the different mattress room. likely the nice and comfortable twine and the single going to the different mattress room would be coming in to the container on the backside, on a similar time as the 0.33 which inserts to the fan would be from the fantastic despite the fact that if it fairly is not continually the case. as quickly as you have desperate which different twine is going to the different mattress room connect the two with an added pigtail approximately 6" long of black twine. The pigtail will connect with the backside terminal of the change and the final black twine will flow to the fantastic terminal. between the floor wires attaches to the floor terminal. With in elementary terms one change, you will could use the pull chains to regulate fan velocity and the easy. of course you will could make various journeys to the provider panel to do all that I even have defined effectively.

  • 1 decade ago

    Good question, wonder myself sometimes, but then I just think maybe work was done and lights removed, switch left incase someone wanted to put one there another time..less work of course..who knows but thats my guess.

  • 1 decade ago

    How do you know they Do nothing??? Those " light switches" could be contacting aliens from another planet and everytime you flick the switch it sends a signal up to ET and pretty soon your gonna get abducted by BArney Shaped, Telletubby looking, Snork sounding aliens...

    Actually, everytime you flick the switch, my brain shorts out a little and I get shocked.

    Ouch... it just happened. Stop doing that. Ouch.. Quit it!! It;s not funny any ouch!!!!Knock it ofOUCH!!!!

    Source(s): Me... I'm a little tired....
  • 1 decade ago

    To drive you crazy? Seriously, they may have had a purpose at some point and no longer work, or the people who installed them had intentions for their use at a later date and time. Lucky you!

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