When you move into a new house one of the things that seems to take a while is to figure out what all of the switches on the walls do… Some control overhead lights (which makes perfect sense), some control outlets (which is also fine, but harder to trace down.

Then there are the mystery switches.

I spent some time working on a switch in the bedroom that seems to do nothing. Pulling the switch-plate cover I found it was connected to something… but it doesn’t control anything I can figure out. Honestly, I think the previous owners replaced or installed a ceiling fan and had no idea what they were doing. I think I might get a tone generator to try to trace out where it goes to.

But then I moved on to one by the front door. Flipping it did nothing.

Looking around I saw there were some flood lights on the corners of the porch. Three bulbs and one that looked to be broken at the base.

No prob, I’ll bring up an LED bulb just to test it out and unscrew the broken one with a pair of pliers. The switch is in the down position after all.

I’m glad I had a second thought about it.

I replaced an unbroken bulb and the light turned on.

The circuit was still energized! That would be a great way to make a cool light show as you take a chunk out of the pliers.

So… the upshot is that on this circuit there are four bulbs, of which none of them were working.

It’s one thing to go on a chase to figure out what controls what… but seriously, how do you live in a house that has every single damn bulb on a circuit out? Bulbs aren’t expensive. Why the hell don’t you replace bulbs that are fricking burnt out?!

People… please.