Recessed can light dimmer woes

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Old 02-16-10, 07:15 AM
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Recessed can light dimmer woes

When I turned on my kitchen overhead lights this morning, I slid the dimmer to the high position as I always do, but when it got there, all the lights went really dim and began to flicker, almost like a bulb does when it's burning out. I slid down the fader a little and all was fine. So, I tried to turn them up full again, and the same problem occurred. Anyone have any ideas about what is causing this?
A friend mentioned the fact that it's been cold lately here in Florida and that might have something to do with it. I'm hoping that it's something that silly, but I have my doubts.
Thanks in advance.
 
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Old 02-16-10, 07:50 AM
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How many lights on switch? How old is dimmer? These are rated for certain voltages if you overload them you can have issues. Sometimes reistat contacts on cheap dimmers can go bad too, I have a had several of mine give up the ghost.

The pros will have better answer those are just my personal experiences
 
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Old 02-16-10, 10:18 AM
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Originally Posted by closetfolkie View Post
When I turned on my kitchen overhead lights this morning, I slid the dimmer to the high position as I always do, but when it got there, all the lights went really dim and began to flicker, almost like a bulb does when it's burning out. I slid down the fader a little and all was fine. So, I tried to turn them up full again, and the same problem occurred. Anyone have any ideas about what is causing this?
A friend mentioned the fact that it's been cold lately here in Florida and that might have something to do with it. I'm hoping that it's something that silly, but I have my doubts.
Thanks in advance.
It is possible, especially if the switch is on an outdoor wall and the wall is poorly insulated. That could cause moisture buildup and corrosion on the internals. However, in any case, it means buying a new dimmer. There is no repairing them. Most likely though, as sandyharry said, it is just simply worn out.
 
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Old 02-16-10, 10:24 AM
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Agreed

I agree. Dimmers can and do go bad. Just for convienence though. How many lights are on the dimmer and what watts are the bulbs. most dimmers are rated for 600 watts, even less if the tabs on the side of the dimmer are broken off. Just somethings to check, if your going over the rating of the dimmer you might want to get a 1000 watt rated dimmer (more money)
 
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Old 02-16-10, 11:30 AM
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Thanks for the input. There are 8 lights and they're 50 watt bulbs, so I wouldn't have thought the wattage thing would be an issue. I've had the dimmer in for about 7 years and never had a problem until now.
Would my best course of action be to buy a new dimmer to replace the old one? Assuming that it is, is it simple to do? (Bear in mind that my skill level is somewhere around that of Mr Bean)
Thanks again.
 
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Old 02-16-10, 11:44 AM
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Replacing a dimmer is very easily done. Purchase the correct dimmer, either single pole or three way, turn off power, and move wires over one at a time.
 
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Old 02-16-10, 11:56 AM
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Thanks for that. Quick question though: What's the difference between a single pole and a three-way? More to the point, how do I know which I already have?
 
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Old 02-16-10, 01:06 PM
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A single pole switch controls the light from one location. Three ways control a light from two or more locations like the top and bottom of a staircase.
 
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Old 02-16-10, 01:53 PM
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Got it. One final question: As it stands, might it be a fire hazard?
 
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Old 02-20-10, 07:59 AM
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It's probably not a fire hazard, just won't work right. Heed the advice to turn off the power before replacing the dimmer, that is not just safety advice. Installing a dimmer to hot conductors usually will damage the device.
 
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Old 02-23-10, 12:07 PM
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Thanks for the advice; much appreciated.
 
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