Dimmers seem to get too hot


Old 09-01-04, 11:27 AM
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Dimmers seem to get too hot

I have some recessed lights on 2 separate circuits, 6 - 65 watt lights on each. I installed some Leviton dimmers, the kind that look like regular switches with a little slider next to it, two of them side-by-side. The dimmers are rated at 600 watts and I'm only running 390 watts on each. When the lights are on, the switch plate gets mighty warm to the touch. Is this normal?
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Old 09-01-04, 11:40 AM
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: United States
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Warm is okay. Hot is not.

Even though those dimmers are rated at 600 watts when installed individually, their rating is less when installed together. Consult the installation instructions for details.
Old 09-01-04, 02:27 PM
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We used the Leviton Decora style dimmers in our addition. They have the slide-style dimmer control, it's just that the switch is a large flat toggle plate instead of a normal switch.

When installing the switches side by side, you need to break off metal tabs from the mounting plate so you can fit the switches next to each other. That metal plate is a heat sink and dissipates the heat from the dimmer. Each side of the tabs you break off reduces the heat dissipation capacity of the switch by 100 watts. Break off both sets of tabs, and your switch is now rated at 400 watts. If you have 390 watts flowing through it, you're maxing the switch out and it's gonna be warm.

The switch plate is sitting right over those heat sinks. It's gonna get warm too.

If you can get a temperature reading somehow, you could call Leviton and see if that reading is within range for the load you're pulling through the switch

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