Home inspection findings by Frank Schulte-Ladbeck, Professional Real Estate Inspector TREC# 9073

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Why Do I Have Two Light Switches When One Does Nothing?

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I examine many houses, so I take things for granted. A home inspector needs to stop at times, and consider if their clients understand why their house has certain items, like two light switches. A builder does not put these in without a reason.

You see this wall plate with two switches.
two switches
You see only this on the ceiling.
one light fixture
If you remove the cover of the wall plate, you see that both switches have wiring.
    I was walking through a home with my client while the seller was there. We walked into the room, and I pointing out my findings, while my client flipped the light switches. One worked, and the other did not, or at least that was the perception. I mentioned that the second switch was for a ceiling fan. The seller said “oh, that is what it is for!” The builder had installed the wiring, but he had not installed the fan. Why not? If you contract to build the home, then you would have stated if you want the fan or simply a light fixture. Builders will place the wiring in the walls to make it easier for you to install a ceiling fan on its own switch later. Many builders will also install the wiring for a garage door operator, even if you do not order one. On a spec home, the builder had done the wiring, but he only installed light fixtures, since there was no client to request a ceiling fan. There is another possibility for the second switch. The switch might control a plug on an outlet. These outlets should be turned upside down, Not all builders remember to indicate this outlet by turning it upside down, and I have been in homes where every outlet was turned upside down, so you do need to check.
    I try to include useful information in my report that has nothing to do with concerns in the home. Homeowners might not know where their water shutoff is located. They might not know what to do with a water manifold. If a home inspector wants to produce a better report, we need to help buyers understand their potential home.

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© Frank Schulte-Ladbeck Professional Home Inspector Houston, Texas
Frank Theodor Schulte-Ladbeck
home inspector, TREC# 9073
Houston , Texas , 77063 United States

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