Very Hot Dimmer Switch

Old 08-20-01, 09:43 AM
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I've got a dimmer switch that gets very hot to the touch. It controls 8 high-hat lights which each have a 75 watt flood lightbulb in them. It makes me a bit nervous. Could it be that the dimmer itself can't handle the amount of current going through it? Are dimmer switches rated by combined bulb wattage? It's single switch. No other switch turn on those lights. Thanks for any comments.

[Edited by KJ on 08-20-01 at 02:15]
Old 08-20-01, 01:45 PM
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Telling how hot something is by feel is very subjective. What is hot to one person is only warm to another. You have 600 watts of load on this dimmer. That is the maximum permitted load for a typical dimmer. I would expect this to run very warm. If you can hold your fingers on it for 20 or 30 seconds, it is not too hot. If it burns your fingers, it is too hot.
Old 08-20-01, 02:07 PM
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A "typical" dimmer can handle 600 watts, but they sell ones that can handle 1000 watts, and I think they sell cheap ones that can only handle 250 watts. Also, whenever you have two or more dimmers in one switch box, each one can handle less.

You should be okay unless you have a cheap one.
Old 08-20-01, 02:19 PM
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There are two dimmers in the same box. But the second is rarely on. Didn't know they would effect each other. I went to turn it off last night and had to pull my hand away from the faceplate rather quickly. It was definetely more than just warm. Thank you for your responses. I will probably head to the store for the 1000 watt dimmer just for peace of mind.
Old 08-20-01, 06:17 PM
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KJ, I think that you have a good idea. If what you are saying is true you are at the maximum rating of a 600 watt dimmer. A second dimmer will add to the heat in a double box that will also limit the cooling capability of the that adjascent dimmer causing that second dimmer to heat up.

When you find a 1000 wat dimmer you will find a set of cooling fins on that dimmer to help dissapate the heat allowing a higher wattage rating for that dimmer. The fins will break off allowing it to fit where the plate used to be using a single gang switch plate mounted on the adjascent switch located in that same box.

I suspect you will feel better and you should be safer with the 1000 watt dimmer considering you won't be pushing the limit of that larger rated dimmer switch compared to pushing the limit of that original dimmer switch.

Let us know how you come out.


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