You flick the switch—and—nothing. Whether you’re going through the rooms in your new house or you would like to finally figure out that one switch in the home you’ve lived in for years—how do you do it?

A switch in a kitchen cabinet may be for a garbage disposal. Sometime appliances like this have been removed, but the switch is still there.

Gas fireplaces often have a hidden switch.

Look in your attic if the switch is near it. It may turn on a light or exhaust fan in there. Exhaust fans have a thermostat that can as a secondary switch to turn the fan on only when it is hot in the attic. It may seem the switch works in the winter.

Usually furnaces and air conditioning handlers are connected to a circuit breaker or pull-disconnect in a metal box, but sometimes it is a simple wall switch. If you accidentally flick the switch, the system will not run.

Some fans are operated with a remote control, and turn on by a switch. If a fan doesn’t have a pull-chain, this may be the case.

Switches near doors that lead outside may be for floodlights, post lights, or other lighting on your porch, patio, or yard. These are often forgotten about, so remember to change the bulbs. Otherwise, you may flick a switch and it may appear it doesn’t serve anything, but it actually serves than light in the corner of the house with the dead bulb.

If you just can’t figure a switch out and you really want to know what it is for, you can remove the face plate and see if it is connected to any wires. You’d have to turn off the circuit breaker and test with a non-contact tester. This can get tricky and would best be done by a professional.


Have a concern with your electrical, plumbing or air conditioning? Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing and Electrical is here to help! We offer 24 hour emergency service 7 days a week!  Give us a call! 1-800-461-3010 to speak with our customer service agents that can answer your questions or schedule an appointment!