Newbie here on website

Reply

  #1  
Old 02-04-14, 10:49 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: USA
Posts: 1
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Newbie here on website

I recently bought a house full of the old three receptacle two prong outlets. besides the obvious problem of grounding. I have a mystery switch that i have not found out what it controls. It is a normal switch with a red wire and a black wire connected to it. Inside there are three white wires tied together and three black wires tied together. out of the black wires there is an extra black wire leading to the switch and a red wire from somewhere connected to the other side of the switch. When i remove the switch i get 120 volts from either the black wire to the white wires or from the red wire to the white wires. I'm confused as heck as to what this switch controls. I have tried all the outlets without success but that was after i replace a couple of the two prong 3 receptacle outlets with normal three wire two outlet receptacles. It's located at the hallway side of the entryway. I originally thought it could have been a three way switch for the small entryway light until i took it out and looked at it. Any help is appreciated.
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 02-04-14, 11:29 PM
Member
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: United States
Posts: 2,446
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
From your description I think you are talking about an entryway switch. I have the same situation myself, I have two houses that I own with my mom. One house is our rental and was owned by my grandmother for a while after she moved next to us. Before it became a rental I changed out just about every receptacle because they were old and did a quick cheap kitchen remodel. So I had electricians to my rental house to make sure everything was up to code.

During my remodel of the kitchen I too found a mystery switch right at the entry way. The electricians I had were real nice and great professionals so I asked one of the electricians could you trace this switch. He said sure probably but I might have to rip out your walls to find out where it goes though. To this day I still don't know what the switch controls as it doesn't shut off a plug or turn a light off. So I have just told my tenants just leave that switch off as it would cost too much to have it traced.

I could probably do it myself but I don't want to anger my tenants or make a mess of their living area. It also would take a great deal of time to trace it and just isn't worth my time. When I did the remodel next door it was over twenty years ago so one of the electricians on the forum might know of a new easy way to trace the circuit that doesn't require tearing into walls and maybe the ceiling too. Welcome to the forum!
 
  #3  
Old 02-04-14, 11:59 PM
Nashkat1's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 8,470
Received 1 Vote on 1 Post
Welcome to the forums!

I have a mystery switch that i have not found out what it controls. It is a normal switch with a red wire and a black wire connected to it. Inside there are three white wires tied together and three black wires tied together.
Is this switch in a single-gang box by itself? If not, what else is in the box with it?

out of the black wires there is an extra black wire leading to the switch and a red wire from somewhere connected to the other side of the switch.
That red wire is the load feed. Find out where it's going to and you'll have the answer.

When i remove the switch i get 120 volts from either the black wire to the white wires or from the red wire to the white wires.
What are you using to test for voltage?

besides the obvious problem of grounding... I have tried all the outlets without success but that was after i replace a couple of the two prong 3 receptacle outlets with normal three wire two outlet receptacles.
If you installed grounding receptacles, how did you supply ground to them?

Originally Posted by hedgeclippers
When I did the remodel next door it was over twenty years ago so one of the electricians on the forum might know of a new easy way to trace the circuit that doesn't require tearing into walls and maybe the ceiling too.
Twenty-odd years ago I would have traced the wire from that switch the way I would today. First by looking for likely candidates and doing continuity tests. If that didn't yield an answer I would have hooked the transmitter of my tone generating tracer to the wires and gone hunting. I never open a wall or ceiling without a reason, and tracing conductors isn't a reason.

I suspect that electrician decided to have some fun with you. The answer he gave you is right up there with "Get me a left-handed monkey wrench. "
 
  #4  
Old 02-05-14, 03:51 AM
pcboss's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Maryland
Posts: 14,949
Received 33 Votes on 28 Posts
If a tab on the brass side was not broken off the jumper will cause both sides of the switch to become hot. Do you remember a receptacle with both a black and a red?
 
Reply

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: