Light switch gets warm when not in use


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Old 06-07-15, 04:01 PM
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Light switch gets warm when not in use

Greeting! I hope I am posting this in the correct forum. I have a bit of a maintenance mystery on my hands and I am hoping someone can help me find a solution. I have a light switch in the dining area of my living room that is rarely turned on but I have noticed the top part of the switch panel gets warm throughout the day. Not hot like you wouldn't want to touch it but room temperature warm. The bottom of the switch stays cool to touch. I noticed the same thing happens on a socket about 3 feet to the right of the light switch. Now to the big of an odd part, I noticed the warm feeling on the switch panel goes away at night time and is worse during the day. I'm also in Florida and the wall it is on faces the direct sun with no shade. But the other sockets and switches on that wall stay cool to the touch. Any idea what this is or what could be causing it?
I want to think maybe the sun is causing it but the wall itself is cool and nothing else along the wall is hot. I have also tried to not use the light as often because of that so I really don't know if having the light switched on makes a difference or not.
Any help would be great! PS I'm not thinking of trying to fix this myself just some ideas on what it might be before i call in the big guns.
 
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Old 06-07-15, 04:14 PM
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Is the switch a dimmer? Sometimes they get hot. Do your switches use the stab back provision or the screws to connect the wires? If stab back, there is a possibility it could have a loose connection and could cause a bit of heat. Not a lot, but some.
 
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Old 06-07-15, 04:25 PM
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Thanks for the reply! Not a dimmer. and to be honest I have no idea what stab back or screws mean. Is there a way I can safely check?
 
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Old 06-07-15, 04:34 PM
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Is your wiring aluminum? A classic symptom of aluminum wiring problem is a warm cover plate. Even if nothing is plugged in in the case of a receptacle or no light on in the case of a switch the device under the cover plate could be acting as a bridge to a load elsewhere or there could be a wire nut splice. A switch is a bit unusual but overheating could be from a wire nut splice in the switch box or a screw and its corresponding back stab used as a splice.
 
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Old 06-07-15, 04:38 PM
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have no idea what stab back or screws mean
Back stabs are holes in the back of the device wires can be inserted into. Screws are threaded fasteners with a head that wires can be inserted under.

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Old 06-07-15, 04:45 PM
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Is it a lighted switch?'..
 
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Old 06-07-15, 05:55 PM
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One way to get us the information is to remove the power and then pull the switch and receptacles from the wall and post pictures. http://www.doityourself.com/forum/el...your-post.html
 
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Old 06-08-15, 01:46 AM
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I noticed the warm feeling on the switch panel goes away at night time and is worse during the day. I'm also in Florida and the wall it is on faces the direct sun with no shade
Sounds like there is no insulation in the wall where those two boxes are.
 
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Old 06-08-15, 06:49 AM
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Sounds like there is no insulation in the wall where those two boxes are.
That was my first thought as well. In a typical 2X4 constructed wall it is possible to have very little, if any, insulation behind the box.
 
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Old 06-08-15, 08:03 AM
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Thank you every one for your replies! I was actually thinking that it would probably be best to take a photo of what is going on behind the switch to help. I will try and do that tonight. Thank you everyone!
 
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Old 06-09-15, 04:09 PM
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Hope these pictures help. I can't see what would be causing the heat which makes me a bit concerned as to why it is only at the top. I also asked the maintenance crew at my complex to look and they didn't see anything wrong.
 
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Old 06-09-15, 07:23 PM
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I'd move the back stabs to the screws.
 
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Old 06-10-15, 07:45 AM
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That is a very old single pole switch, I can't remember the last time I saw a single pole switch that didn't have brass colored screws except for CO/ALR rated switches. I'd replace it with a new one.
 
 

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