Heat in wall switch

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  #1  
Old 08-23-04, 07:05 PM
slloyd
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Heat in wall switch

What can cause heat in a wall switch? I assume I have a short but I'm not a very good handyman. The wall switch has three switches; one for the porch light, a second for the livingroom light and the third that controls a wall outlet. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!
 
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  #2  
Old 08-23-04, 08:03 PM
S
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If it's a dimmer, this is normal. However, too much heat is not a good thing. If it's "warm" that's fine, if it's "hot" (too hot to touch), then that's not good.

Good luck!
 
  #3  
Old 08-23-04, 08:11 PM
slloyd
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It is really hot. Too hot to keep touching it for more than a couple of seconds. And it just started this evening.
 
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Old 08-23-04, 08:25 PM
J
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How many of the switches are dimmers, and how many watts is each switch controlling? Most dimmers are rated for a maximum of 600 watts, and less when installed in multigang boxes. Have you changed the bulbs to higher wattage bulbs recently?
 
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Old 08-23-04, 08:29 PM
slloyd
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All three are switches. I'm not sure of how many watts they are controlling. Is there a way to tell? No bulbs have been changed recently.
 
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Old 08-23-04, 08:41 PM
J
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All three are switches? Or all three are dimmer switches? Please be clear.

What do the switches control? Do they control only lighting? If so, look at each bulb one at a time and add up the wattage numbers on the bulb. This installation sounds very, very, very unsafe. Keep all three switches off until you sort this out!
 
  #7  
Old 08-23-04, 08:50 PM
slloyd
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All three are regular switches. There are no dimmer switches. The first switch only controls a porch light with a 60 watt bulb. The middle switch controls the livingroom light (ceiling fan and three bulbs {40 watts each}). The last switch controls a wall outlet with nothing currently plugged in. I have turned all switches off and have duct taped them off just in case we forget. It seems the heat came from the middle switch controlling the ceiling fan.
 
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Old 08-23-04, 10:06 PM
J
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This problem is even more serious than I thought. High heat is cause by poor connections. Remake all the connections in the box. Be especially suspicious of wires poked into backstab holes. That makes a terrible connection. The screws make much better connections. Consider replacing that center switch with a new one.

Non-dimmer switches should be stone cold.
 
  #9  
Old 08-24-04, 07:31 AM
S
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You may want to consider having an electrician come out and take a look at it. You may have wiring problems also, if that's the case, only an electrician would know.

I'm with John though, keep a close eye on those switches and I would keep them off if I were you.

BTW, if you decide to check on it yourself, take a look at the fan wiring up top also - it may need some tweaking.

Good luck!
 
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