Just moved into a new house and can't find the switches to several outdoor lights. What can I do?

There seem to be a couple of light switches in this house that dont flip on any lights.....but they definitely dont turn on any of the outdoor lights I'm having a problem turning on. Any ideas on what I can do?


The lights I'm trying to turn on are 2 garden lamp posts all the way in front of the driveway. And 2 lights attached to the balcony beams outside of my front door.

Update 2:

Just moved out of state and dont have too many friends or neighbors I'm close with out here unfortunately. Do you guys think an electrician would be able to figure this out? If he can not do you think it's a big job to "re-wire" or do whatever he'd need to do?

15 Answers

  • Anonymous
    6 months ago

    They may go on automatically. Solar generated. Especially the garden lamp posts.  Balcony too.  Check at night in the dark.  Deck light may also be motion detector type so only go on at night when somebody moves.  They do not burn continuously.  On for a few minutes and then off.  The control is right at the light bulb base.

  • Jim W
    Lv 7
    6 months ago

    Most likely the outdoor lights are controlled with  a switch and a photo cell so they are only in the "ON"  condition at dark.  The other switches  may control receptacles in the room where they are located.  For a home owner with little or no electrical experience I suggest you get a trouble light on a  medium length cord and plug it in to the outlets near the switches that don't do anything.  For the outdoor lights  a non contact voltage tester will help determine if power is in the light pole.   If this does not solve your problems   contact a local qualified professional electrician to do the work.

    Source(s): 60+ years in the electrical industry. 60 + years in the electrical industry.
  • 6 months ago

    You can hire an electrician to inspect your wiring and specifically request they determine what the switches do, and if there even ARE switches for the lights.

    It is POSSIBLE the switches that don't seem to control anything USED to control the outdoor lights, but someone disconnected the circuit at some point.

  • 6 months ago

    detect the electrical system using a multimeter. at each switch that apparently does nothing, test for hot incoming circuit. then test to find out if the switch actually works. at every fixture that apparently doesn't work, test the bulb to see if it can possibly light [or replace it with one you know works].

    ps: light switches are sometimes found in unusual locations ... inside a closet or near the 'wrong' door -- or even on the 'wrong' side of a door

    Source(s): grampa
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  • 6 months ago

    First troubleshoot to make sure the fixture isn't just bad and is actually controlled by something else.  The fact 2 different areas aren't working makes it more unlikely they are all broken; although bad bulbs is always possible.  

    I would then try to track the wires back.  It may not be easy once they get in the walls, but it's worth a shot.  The outdoor needs to enter the house or garage somewhere.  Look around the edges to find where that is.  If you're lucky, it goes into the garage with unfinished walls.  

    Have you looked for an outdoor switch?  Any logical out of the way place it might be?  A homeowner may have hidden it behind a patio post or such.

  • 6 months ago

    If it is a rental, ask the landlord.  If you have bought it, ask the previous owners if you have contact details.  If not, ask whoever dealt with your purchase to pass on a message to the previous owners asking the question.

  • 6 months ago

    If you have switches without lights and lights without switches, first thing I'd check is the bulbs in those fixtures.  Second thing is possible tripped circuit breakers or blown or missing fuses.  Third thing is motion or photoelectric sensors on the fixtures/bulbs.  Don't worry about any electricians or complex wiring projects until you've checked those three very simple and obvious things.  Good luck.

  • 6 months ago

    You may have lights that are set for motion detectors. Those type can have the switch turned on but unless the light see some motion it will not turn on. That is no uncommon for outdoor lights.

  • 6 months ago

    First make sure the bulbs in those lamps are working. Then make sure the lamps aren't light-sensing ones that only come on when it's dark out. Look at the breaker box, see if any circuits are labelled for the outdoor lights.

  • 6 months ago

    ask a friend to help you find them

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