switch plate hot to the touch??

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  #1  
Old 03-27-07, 06:04 PM
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Unhappy switch plate hot to the touch??

I'm no expert but this does not seem normal...

I have a switch plate in the basement that has 3 switches on it for overhead lights. These are the "button" type switches that you push the top part to turn the lights on, push the bottom part to turn them off. 2 of the switches have a dimmer (a tiny slider on the side). They have the brand name "Lutron" and the switch actually has a little light in it so you can find it in the dark...

Anyway, I noticed that the screws holding the plastic switch plate in place were hot to the touch... not warm... HOT. When I removed the cover I noticed the metal frames of the 2 switches with dimmers were also very, very hot to the touch.

Seems like a fire hazzard to me.

Can anyone guess as to what the deal is? Is this just because it has a dimmer???
 
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  #2  
Old 03-27-07, 06:07 PM
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Dimmers get hot when used. Make sure that you have not exceeded the rating of the dimmer (include the de-rating due to two in the same junction box).
 
  #3  
Old 03-28-07, 05:19 AM
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Talking solved

Ah. That's sort of what I was thinking.

Looks like my dimmers are rated for 600 Watts... but a "2-gang" is only rated for 500 Watts... and the lights on the switch that is really hot adds up to 720 watts.

Nice. Basement was finished by the previous owner. :-)

Looks like 2 1000 watt dimmer switches will solve my problem.

Thanks for the help.
 
  #4  
Old 03-29-07, 11:04 AM
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Question one more thing...

I purchased 2 dimmers that have a 1000 watt rating. A little off the topic... those things are expensive at $30 a pop (compared to the normal dimmers, I mean).

Anyway... I believe I have a "single pole" connection. In the junction box I only see 3 wires for a given set of lights.

1. White
2. Black
3. Copper (ground)

On the dimmer switch I have 3 wires:

1. Red
2. Black
3. Green (ground)

OK... copper goes to green. Got it.

Question is... does the Red wire on the dimmer go to the black or white cable? From what I'm reading it does not appear to matter in this case but I would like an explanation. I can't see the wire coming from the breaker box... All I know is I have 1 white, 1 black, and 1 ground all wrapped in the same heavy, white, plastic/rubber sheathing... for a given group of overhead lights.
 
  #5  
Old 03-29-07, 11:14 AM
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You have a switch loop. The cable comes from the lights. It does not matter which wire you connect to the black and which to the red. The white wire in the box for each switch should be the always hot wire, if the switch loops are wires properly.
 
  #6  
Old 03-29-07, 11:40 AM
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The fool-proof algorithm is to connect your new dimmer exactly the same as your old one was connected. Follow that and you won't risk destroying a $30 dimmer.
 
  #7  
Old 03-29-07, 05:29 PM
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That would be the solution... except for one thing...

The new dimmer has 1 red and 1 black wire.

The old dimmer has 2 black wires.
 
  #8  
Old 03-29-07, 05:37 PM
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Okay, then you're good. Just follow Bob's instructions. Pretend you're new red wire is a black wire.
 
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