Arcing Switch -CFL's

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Old 11-30-14, 01:27 PM
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Arcing Switch -CFL's

has anyone ever heard of CFL bulbs as they age causing a light switch to buzz/arc?
 
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Old 11-30-14, 01:48 PM
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Any load will make a switch arc but it should only be momentarily. Is it a dimmer?
 
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Old 11-30-14, 02:05 PM
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It momentarily but you can hear it pop. If you toggle it real slow, it really buzzes good. And its not a dimmer, its a single pole... actually 3. Each time I replace the switch because its buzzing I have replaced the bulbs as well. a few months later, same thing.

I have made sure my switch connections are secure and I am using decent switches. And unless there is another reason a switch would buzz when turned on, the only thing I can think of that its the bulbs after the age a bit.

Could a loose connection at the fixture itself or elsewhere on the circuit cause this?

And to clarify, the arcing/buzzing is just what you would think a failing switch sounds like.
 
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Old 11-30-14, 02:29 PM
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its a single pole... actually 3
All three single pole switches buzz? Is it just one fixture/CFL or a bunch? Toggling a switch slowly will make it arc for sure. Is there also neutral wires in the switch box?
 
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Old 11-30-14, 02:53 PM
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Same fixture with 4 CFLS in it. Only two wires in switch box, no neutral. All three switches have done this after about 2 or 3 month with GE brand CFL's which were replaced each time I replaced the switch.

Do you think I should be investigating something else on the circuit? Most specifically the fixture itself?

Does a CFL (esp. an aging one) draw more of a load right at startup? more so than an incandescent? How about frequent on and off cycles, like in a bathroom where the light isn't left on more than 15 minutes at a time like they suggest?

FWIW: Its usually first brought to my attention by the wife who seems to toggle switches kind of sluggishly (im weird like that, I can tell). Then I come along and can really make it buzz by almost holding the switches center. Only once or twice did I notice it myself going in and out of the room as normal.
 
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Old 11-30-14, 04:00 PM
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I wish I could be more helpful, but I haven't encountered an issue like this. CFL's do not draw significantly more load on start up and incandescent are the same. You are controlling an electronic ballast of the CFL that might be causing some kind of feedback down the wires. Are you sure the source of the hum is not the bulbs? Can you feel it more than hear it?

Have you tried another brand of CFL? Perhaps changing to LED bulbs might be an option.
 
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Old 11-30-14, 04:33 PM
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rards,
It sounds like you already know the answer to your own question.
By holding the switch in the middle position, you are trying to make it arc, duplicating what your wife heard.

Then I come along and can really make it buzz by almost holding the switches center
The best example I can give is this:
The switch will interrupt or connect the hot going to light. You could do the same thing by touching the 2 hot wires together with no switch, but that doesn't work as efficiently (will arc), you need a solid connection.
Throw the switch as normal and post back if the problem is persistent.
 
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