What To Do About a Warm Dimmer Switch
Why Dimmer Switches May Be Warm or Hot: How to Select the Right Dimmer Switch for Your Light Fixtures.© By: Dave Rongey
Warm or Hot Dimmer Switch
Electrical Question: Is it normal for a dimmer switch to be warm?
We have a dimmer switch that gets warm when we turn it on, the wall even gets warm. There are two dimmers on the wall and both get warm. Other dimmers in the house do not do the same. We remodeled with an electrician several years ago and this has occurred since then. Should I be concerned? Call an electrician? It does not seem normal.
Electrical Question #2:
I have a living room dimmer switch where the light flickers or goes out entirely. It will restore by putting pressure on the dimmer unit. The dimmer switch is sensitive to touch. What should I do?
This electrical wiring question came from Mike, a Other in Redmond, Washington.
Thank you for your electrical questions.
How to Fix a Warm or Hot Dimmer Switch
Skill Level: Beginner to Intermediate – Best performed by a Licensed Electrician.
Tools Required: Basic Electricians Pouch Hand Tools and Voltage Tester.
Estimated Time: Depends on personal level experience and ability to work with tools.
Precaution: Identify the light circuit, turn it OFF and Tag it with a Note before working with the dimmer switch wiring.
Why a Dimmer Switch May Be Warm or Hot
- Dimmer switches have electronic components that produce heat and will make the cover plate warm, however they should never get hot.
- If you suspect that your dimmer switch is too warm then make a list of the number of lamps that are being controlled by each dimmer switch, and the watts of each lamp to come up with the total number of watts being controlled.
- There are different watt levels assigned to dimmer switches, and if the number of watts being controlled exceeds the rated amounts of watts then the dimmer switch can get too warm, and this could cause the dimmer switch to stop working prematurely or not work right.
- Most dimmer switches over the standard 600 watt rating will have cooling fins which help dissipate the heat that is produced by the dimmer switch.
- Also note that when two or more dimmer switches are installed in the same electrical box then the dimmer switch sizes must be carefully rated when they are installed side by side or ganged together due to the amount of heat they produce.
Selecting the Right Dimmer Switch for Your Light Fixtures
- If you have 600 watts of lighting to be controlled by a dimmer switch it may be a good idea to install a 800 watt dimmer.
- The concern is to avoid loading the dimmer switch to full capacity, this way you will keep the heat level lower which will contribute to a longer lasting dimmer switch which will provide a wide range of dimming control for your light fixtures.
More about Dimmer Switches
- Dimmer Switch Wiring
- Light Switch Wiring
- Wiring Diagrams
- wiring a dimmer switch
- 3 Way Dimmer Switch Wiring Diagram
- Fully explained 3 way dimmer switch wiring diagram will take the mystery out of wiring a 3-way dimmer switch.
The following may also be helpful for you:
Be Careful and Be Safe - Never Work on Energized Circuits!
Consult your Local Building Department about Permits and Inspections for all Electric Wiring Projects.
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