Dimmer switches are increasingly popular because they allow you to control the range/intensity of the light for your comfort and mood. With continuous use, dimmer switches may feel a little warm to the touch – seems alarming? No, it’s pretty normal but, it shouldn’t feel hot, and if it’s too hot to touch then, there is a problem.
Why is Your Dimmer Switch Warm?
Dimmer switches are different from most of the light switches you have in your home. They have electronic devices inside them that enable the dimming.
They use semiconductors that function like transistors and work by controlling the range of electric current going into the lights. This usually results in heat that spreads over the metal plate, causing the switch plate cover to heat up.
Telltale Signs that Your Dimmer Switch is Too Hot
Here is a breakdown of a few reasons that your dimmer switch is too hot:
1- Your Dimmer Switch is Overloaded
Light switches are limited when it comes to handling power like that of wall outlets. Moreover, dimmer switches can withstand 1500 watts at a time. So, simple math can help you determine what your next step should be. If the light bulbs exceed the limit of 1500 watts, then your switch is probably overloaded.
A hot dimmer switch poses a high fire risk because the heat may crack the thermoplastic covering, making the wires lose their ability to insulate and that causes arc faults and short circuits.
What Can You Do About It?
- Upgrading your dimmer switch is the easiest option that can handle higher watts.
- Opt for energy-saving bulbs such as CFL and LED bulbs.
- Rewire the lights, splitting the lights into two or more groups, so you have additional dimmer switches.
2- Your Dimmer Switch Exceeds the Recommended Temperature
According to one of the safety organizations, Underwriter Laboratories, dimmers are safe when they operate below and, at 90ᵒ C. Generally, on average, dimmer switches operate at around 60ᵒ C.
With that, if your dimmer switches exceed the above limit then, it’s time you should call an expert electrician, such as at Quick Spark. Disclaimer – electricity isn’t a DIY thing; leave that for a professional.
3- Faulty Wiring
Improper or faulty wiring is one of the main reasons your dimmer switch could get hot. Even with proper installation, wires may experience wear and tear because of their age. These bad connections occur to limit the flow of electrical current going into light switches which ultimately generates heat and may cause a spark in the wiring.
If you have concerns that your light switch is too warm to touch, call us at 1300 877 275 for immediate assistance. At Quick Spark, we have licensed electricians that will inspect the wattage going into your light bulbs and ensure the electrical panels in your home are capable of handling the power safely.