Is this normal?

Old 12-02-02, 07:06 PM
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Is this normal?

I just walked down to my basement and turned on one of the light switches. As I flicked the switch, it made just enough of a peculiar sound that it caught my attention. Basically, it made a very faint zap sound. I toggled the switch back and forth a few times, and if I did it slowly enough, just as it crossed the threshold from on to off, you could heard a sizzling type sound. And then if I paused the switch at that threshold area, as if the light didn't know whether to turn off on turn on, I even saw a whiteish smoke (I had taken the cover plate off).

I immediately went to test this on other light switches around the house and I was able to duplicate the sound elsewhere. I'm not sure of the smoke because I didn't take any covers off.

Then I went back downstairs and tried that first switch again and, as I moved it to the on position, rather than a smooth quiet sound, it made quite an audible zap. Subsequent toggling produced a normal quiet "sound".

Is this normal? Should I be concerned?
Old 12-02-02, 07:16 PM
Join Date: Jun 2002
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Most of the time there is actually an arc in a switch. I think I would replace the ones you been foolin with. Flip them at the normal rate and dont try to get them to sizzle. You just makin it worse.
Old 12-02-02, 07:23 PM
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You're looking to find problems where there aren't any. All switches spark at least somewhat. It's unavoidable. I suggest you cease the experiments before you cause damage.
Old 12-02-02, 07:30 PM
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OK. Thanks, that is reassuring. BTW, that was a relatively brand new switch on a brand new circuit that an electrician had installed just a couple months ago, but hasn't gotten much use.

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