U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > House
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 09-21-2010, 11:16 AM
 
104 posts, read 435,627 times
Reputation: 62

Advertisements

Any electricians in the house?

I went to turn off the variable light switch and found it to be very hot near the bottom (red circle in photo). The little tab just to the right of the left switch is how the variable voltage is controlled. This switch controls the center light in the room which I rewired to connect to 12 50W halogen bulbs on track lights.

I turned the switch off then checked it this morning and it is cold again.

Is this a problem I need to worry about?
Do these types of switches usually get hot?

It's a "Lutron" light switch from Lowe's.

Any feedback appreciated.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 09-21-2010, 11:19 AM
 
104 posts, read 435,627 times
Reputation: 62
Default Image

I wish I could "Manage Attachments" after posting a message.
Attached Thumbnails
Light Switch Heating Up-lightswitchhot.png  
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-21-2010, 11:24 AM
 
Location: Oklahoma
467 posts, read 1,218,964 times
Reputation: 454
You stated that you rewired the switch yourself. How did you rewire it?

Sounds like you have a short that is causing a heat build up. This could easily start a fire. And, since you did the wiring yourself, your insurance company could deny your claim if your house catches fire.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-21-2010, 12:04 PM
 
Location: NE CT
1,496 posts, read 2,744,693 times
Reputation: 707
Is the switch rated for the voltage and the wattage coming ito it? Very important you match the new switch for the voltage and wattage rating. Sounds to me like the switch may be a bit light for the load. No pun intended. 12 lights on any one given switch sounds like your problem. That 600s watts!!!!!!!!!!!!

WOW I would split the load over to another switch using two @ 300 watts each, (a major rewire of half the lights) or see if you can get a dimmer that can handle a 600 watt load. This sounds like your problem. It may not be enough to start a fire but I would not take any chances at all. Find out the switch rating from the store where you bought it, and even if it is rated for 600 watts that's the maximum load, so you may want one a bit higher. I think the real solution is to split the load between two switches putting six 50 watt loads on each rated for at least the wattage load, preferably higher, so it runs cooler.

Last edited by brien51; 09-21-2010 at 12:28 PM..
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-21-2010, 12:19 PM
 
Location: Grosse Ile Michigan
24,241 posts, read 58,465,488 times
Reputation: 25744
This appears to be a type of dimmer switch. Dimmers heat up. When you have multiple switches in a single box they tend to get ore hot as well. How hot is it getting? Is it burn your hand hot? If it is just notaicably warm, it may be normal. If it is uncomfortably hot then you have a problem. Can you smell a hot plastic smell? That woudl be insualtion heating up to the point where it begins to soften (a bad thing).

Halogens can heat up a dimmer or switch as well.

Try the following:

If possible replace the halogen bulbs with tungsten or cfls and see if you still get a hot switch.

If not try taking 4 of the 5 bulbs out and only run one bulb. If it does nto get hot, then try with two bulbs. Keep adding until you get a hot switch and then you know how much you have overloaded the switch.


Someone can probably do the math for you. This is probably a 15 amp circuit. Halogens draw a lot of power. You may simply have too many.


You can buy big heavy commercial type dimmers (for somethig like $150 each) but youmay be overloading your circuitry. A bigger dimmer is not a good solution if you burn up your wires.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-21-2010, 12:29 PM
 
Location: Johns Creek, GA
11,620 posts, read 44,637,974 times
Reputation: 12550
Lutron Airadni models come in two different voltages-
Single pole120 V / 1000w-10P
Single pole120 V / 600w-600P


I'm guessing you have the 600w- and it's at it's max. But, with any dimmer you are creating resistance to the line voltage- which in turn creates heat.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-21-2010, 12:30 PM
 
Location: NE CT
1,496 posts, read 2,744,693 times
Reputation: 707
Quote:
Originally Posted by Coldjensens View Post
This appears to be a type of dimmer switch. Dimmers heat up. When you have multiple switches in a single box they tend to get ore hot as well. How hot is it getting? Is it burn your hand hot? If it is just notaicably warm, it may be normal. If it is uncomfortably hot then you have a problem. Can you smell a hot plastic smell? That woudl be insualtion heating up to the point where it begins to soften (a bad thing).

Halogens can heat up a dimmer or switch as well.

Try the following:

If possible replace the halogen bulbs with tungsten or cfls and see if you still get a hot switch.

If not try taking 4 of the 5 bulbs out and only run one bulb. If it does nto get hot, then try with two bulbs. Keep adding until you get a hot switch and then you know how much you have overloaded the switch.


Someone can probably do the math for you. This is probably a 15 amp circuit. Halogens draw a lot of power. You may simply have too many.


You can buy big heavy commercial type dimmers (for somethig like $150 each) but youmay be overloading your circuitry. A bigger dimmer is not a good solution if you burn up your wires.

Good ideas but I don't think CFL's respond to dimmers. I don't think he has a wiring problem since the previous switch was ok. He likely has a switch problem here.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-21-2010, 12:33 PM
 
Location: Grosse Ile Michigan
24,241 posts, read 58,465,488 times
Reputation: 25744
Quote:
Originally Posted by brien51 View Post
Good ideas but I don't think CFL's respond to dimmers. I don't think he has a wiring problem since the previous switch was ok. He likely has a switch problem here.
Dimmable CFLs respond to dimmers. They just cost more.

I thought that he put in the 5 halogens. Were they there already?
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-21-2010, 12:45 PM
 
Location: NE CT
1,496 posts, read 2,744,693 times
Reputation: 707
Quote:
Originally Posted by Coldjensens View Post
Dimmable CFLs respond to dimmers. They just cost more.

I thought that he put in the 5 halogens. Were they there already?
I thought he wrote he had 12 50 watt halogens light bulbs on one switch. Halogens would likely make a difference as well as they burn much hotter than other bulbs.

From his OP

"This switch controls the center light in the room which I rewired to connect to 12 50W halogen bulbs on track lights."


*************************************

He rewired them all strung together in one switch? WOW

I would split them up into two switches anyway just to be safe. One switch for every other one and the other switch for the others next to them
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-21-2010, 01:20 PM
 
Location: Visitation between Wal-Mart & Home Depot
8,309 posts, read 32,944,565 times
Reputation: 7027
Quote:
Originally Posted by Coldjensens View Post
This appears to be a type of dimmer switch. Dimmers heat up. When you have multiple switches in a single box they tend to get ore hot as well. How hot is it getting? Is it burn your hand hot? If it is just notaicably warm, it may be normal. If it is uncomfortably hot then you have a problem. Can you smell a hot plastic smell? That woudl be insualtion heating up to the point where it begins to soften (a bad thing).

Halogens can heat up a dimmer or switch as well.

Try the following:

If possible replace the halogen bulbs with tungsten or cfls and see if you still get a hot switch.

If not try taking 4 of the 5 bulbs out and only run one bulb. If it does nto get hot, then try with two bulbs. Keep adding until you get a hot switch and then you know how much you have overloaded the switch.


Someone can probably do the math for you. This is probably a 15 amp circuit. Halogens draw a lot of power. You may simply have too many.


You can buy big heavy commercial type dimmers (for somethig like $150 each) but youmay be overloading your circuitry. A bigger dimmer is not a good solution if you burn up your wires.
I think the above is right on. I would add that a cheap, effective alternative to a big, expensive dimmer that would completely correct the heat problem and alleviate any concern about fire hazards would be a regular toggle switch or a 20A toggle switch.

I have six 65 watt halogens running through the same make/model dimmer and if I leave it set at anything less than about 70% power for more than an hour it will build enough heat to send my wife into a panic (although not enough to be actually dangerous).

12 halogens is a lot of load and if you typically leave your lights about 50% dimmed you are going to generate a lot of heat. That dimmer basically interrupts the current to the lights very quickly to reduce the intensity of the bulbs. Some of the power "interrupted" away from the lights is wasted generating heat. The more dimmed, the more heat. I'm not an electrician or an expert on fire prevention, but I would (completely arbitrarily) not tolerate conditions where the switch was reaching temperatures of 120 degrees with normal usage.

*EDIT* I just looked at the dimmer again. It's definitely the 600W version (the missing fin on the top left). You will probably have better results with the 1000W model.

Last edited by jimboburnsy; 09-21-2010 at 01:43 PM..
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:


Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > House
Similar Threads
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2017, Advameg, Inc.

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top