Hot Swith Plate = Fire?

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Old 08-12-03, 10:58 AM
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Hot Swith Plate = Fire?

Recently, I had 2 sets of ceiling lights installed + 2 dimmer switches. The metal box the switches are in becomes hot to the touch after the lights have been on for a while. Too hot to keep your finger on it for more than several seconds.

Is that normal? Or should I hire another electrician before my condo burns down?

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Fred Holtby
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Old 08-12-03, 01:00 PM
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Thats not good at all, one of the switches or dimmers is probably faulty. I would check the dimmer switches first. And i do not recommend using the lights until the problem is identified.
 
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Old 08-12-03, 01:18 PM
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Thank you for the prompt reply! I'll do that right away.

Best,
Fred
 
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Old 08-12-03, 08:59 PM
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Dimmers lower the light output by chopping up the electricity going to the light bulbs. In doing so, excess energy needs to be dissapated. This is done through heat. Most dimmers can get very warm. Especially with two dimmers in the same box. Make sure that the dimmer is rated for the wattage of lights you have installed in the ceiling fixtures. You may need to install larger wattage dimmers or perhaps they are running normally. I just installed a dimmer unit and it also gets very warm to the touch. Who installed the lights and dimmers, a licensed electrician?
 
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Old 08-13-03, 06:52 AM
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keep in mind that metal is a very good conductor of heat, and if the dimmer happens to have a metal casing the cover will act as a heatsink. Dimmers to get hot, most get so warm in operation that keeping your finger on them for more then a few seconds is uncomfortable. Make sure the dimmer's rating is not exceeded..
 
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Old 08-13-03, 08:09 AM
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Thanks for the added info, guys. It's very,very much appreciated. The electrician is coming back today, so I'll check the dimmer rating and whether he really is licensed.

Best,
Fred
 
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Old 08-13-03, 09:58 AM
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Fred:

I only needed the light from 60 watt bulbs in a 3 fixture light. The fixture and switch were both rated for 300 watts so I installed 3 - 100's.
The switch got noticeably warm and let out a high pitched squeal when turned down.
I went to 3 - 60's and it now works fine.
 
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Old 08-13-03, 10:50 AM
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Good point, Greg. That might be the right idea for my situation, too. Thank you.

Best,
Fred
 
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Old 08-13-03, 12:58 PM
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Most manufacturers tend to be overely optimistic when rating their products. That happens a lot, and the max ratings are really just the max conditions the device will operate safely (according to UL). The dimmer does operate at 300 watts, and it does it's job. Sure it's noisy and gets hot, but not unsafe. There is probably also a question of how long it will run under that load before it breaks down.
 
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Old 08-13-03, 08:03 PM
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That all makes sense, trinitro. Thanks very much.

Best,
Fred
 
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