Light switch is heating up. What's going on?

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  #1  
Old 08-23-06, 05:26 PM
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Light switch is heating up. What's going on?

I noticed that the light switch panel by entrance door is getting very hot when the foyer lights are ON. I mean really hot. I opened the panel and saw that the switch that control foyer light fixture is of different kind. It has black cover box on the back with two wires (red and black) coming to the black box. I could not really notice anything special on the face metal plate of the switch, except it has 600W engraved in one of the corners. No barnd name, no what it is for. Does anybody have any idea what kind of switch is it and why it is getting so hot when the lights are ON. I don't know why it was installed in the first place, so I am hesitant to replace it with the basic one until I understand what are the differences between them. Anybody can help?

Thanks!

PS: I made pictures of it, but I don't know how to post pics on this forum. Besides it is pretty simle looking -- just black box attached on the back.
 
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  #2  
Old 08-23-06, 05:34 PM
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Sounds like a dimmer switch. Describe the control. Is it rotary or does it slide or what. A failing dimmer switch could heat up. Has it ever worked as a dimmer? If not it may have been bad for a while and getting worse. I would certainly replace it.
 
  #3  
Old 08-23-06, 06:10 PM
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How many watts and what type of lights does this 'dimmer' control?
 
  #4  
Old 08-23-06, 06:43 PM
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It did cross my mind that it could be a dimmer switch. But it never worked as a dimmer! (Though the switch does look like a slider to me.) It only turns the lights when I move it completely up (ON position.) That's why I decided it was not a dimmer. But maybe it was failing for a long time?

Anyway, the thing only control the foyer ligh fixture. It is big but not huge. About 8 60-watt bulbs. Normal fixture for the 2-story foyer entrances nowadays.
 
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Old 08-23-06, 06:57 PM
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Sounds like a failed dimmer to me also. I recently had one fail only two hours after installation. I called Lutron's tech support and confirmed the diagnosis. Just replace it. You can get a new dimmer or just put in a switch if you were happy with on/off only.
 
  #6  
Old 08-23-06, 07:00 PM
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Originally Posted by joed
How many watts and what type of lights does this 'dimmer' control?
This is important because an overloaded dimmer is one common reason for them to fail.
You're at 80%, should be good.
 
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Old 08-23-06, 08:36 PM
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Just shut off the power before changing it.
Or you may have to buy two.
 
  #8  
Old 08-24-06, 07:16 AM
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this slide "dimmer" that you have - you said it will only turn on when slid all the way up? Does it actually click or pop into position? It may actually be a switch that is meant to resemble a dimmer. Many companies offer switches that resemble dimmers so that they can asthetically be ganged together.

A normal failed dimmer switch will not wait for you to slide the lights all teh way before kicking the lights to full. A failed dimmer switch will turn the light to full whenever the "dimmer" is activated, regardless of the position of the slider
 
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