Light Switch -- A little sizzle, a little smell


Old 12-05-06, 10:23 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 8
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Light Switch -- A little sizzle, a little smell

Good afternoon experts! I would like to know what's the reason why on different occasions when I turn on my light switch, there's a slight sizzle sound with a slight burning smell. I could flip it on now, and it won't happen, but on occasion it will. Would you be able to explain it? And, what is the remedy?

Thank you so much!
Sponsored Links
Old 12-05-06, 10:46 AM
scott e.'s Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Anderson, IN
Posts: 412
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
the sizzle and smell are probalby due to an arcing condition. I assume that the sizzle/smell combination comes from the switch, and not from the fixture. I would examine the switch for loose connections. My guess is that it probably has backstabbed connections. These need to be moved to the screw terminals. Otherwise, just replace the switch with a screw terminal version, and make your conections using the screw terminals.
Old 12-05-06, 04:34 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 8
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Thank you for replying. Would you be willing to explain what the arcing condition is?
Old 12-05-06, 05:04 PM
nap's Avatar
nap is offline
New Member
Join Date: May 2006
Location: north
Posts: 4,163
Received 1 Vote on 1 Post
very simply put, a switch is simple two pieces of metal being placed against each other to make an electrical connection. What often happens is those metal pieces become corroded or damaged by an arc of electricity. When it becomes bad enough so the connection is very poor and you turn the light on, the lights will still need the same current but trying to draw it through a small area will cause that area to become heated and corroded.

It is a big circle.

anytime you open a switch that is contolling something under load, there is a small amount of arcing involved. The amount of arcing is greater as the current draw increases. That damages the contact surface which make the connection worse.

This is one reason I tend to not like cheap switches and usually use 20 amp rated switches. Since they are designed to carry more current, they tend to be even more durable when controlling less than that.
Old 12-06-06, 09:47 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 8
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Thumbs up

Thank you all for your great input! Happy Holidays!!

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Your question will be posted in: