is it safe to dim a receptacle?


I have some lights in a rough space that are plug-in lights. To power them, last year I wired up a duplex receptacle high up by the ceiling. Power to that outlet is controlled by a single pole switch at regular height.
Here's my question: is it ok to replace that switch with a dimmer? Nothing else would ever be plugged into the outlet. You can't even reach it without an 8' ladder.
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That's fine, what you don't want to do, is wire a receptacle to a dimmer, in a location that someone might plug in a vacuum
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Or, a CPAP machine? Don't want to plug one of those into a dimmer?
I don't know the answer to this, but I suspect CFL bulbs don't dim properly. Just filament bulbs. Imagine all the dimmers which will be unemployed when we're 100% CFL. Do they plan on extending unemployment to lamp dimmers? Maybe they can be retrained. Or shipped to India, and taught how to answer phones.
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On Fri, 14 Aug 2009 01:42:54 -0400, "Stormin Mormon"

They make dimmable CFLs but they are expensive. That is an interesting point though. How many people will swap out incandescents for CFLs without thinking about the dimmer? I see another proposal coming ;-)
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On Fri, 14 Aug 2009 11:40:11 -0400, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

One main reason not switching to CFLs is the dimmer switch. The other reason is cost.
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    The problem is not so much something that you might do that would make it unsafe, but something someone else might do. Don't say that will not happen. I had a friend who had a stoke and dieded reciently. Yea, there were several things that if eveyone knew about them and understood the possible risk would be OK, but since he was not able to pass along his knowledge and the people who were caring for him knew nothing about it or what to do if they saw it.
    It is just a very bad idea and as you know illegal.
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It is not actually NEC compliant. From the 2008 NEC, 404.14(E) states:
Dimmer Switches. General-use dimmer switches shall be used only to control permanently installed incandescent luminaires unless listed for the control of other loads and installed accordingly.
So it would be better to hardwire the lights. Or there are a couple receptacle solutions that comply with 404.14(E). You can get a plug-in dimmer than goes between the lights and the receptacle and uses a wireless control.
Or I believe somebody makes a special plug and receptacle that you can use, which is marketed only for dimming receptacles for lamps. Then you replace the receptacle and change the plug end on your lights.
Cheers, Wayne
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wrote:

It's not legal but I have one like that Come and get me copper! I do have a label on the cover so I won't forget.
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Me too..controls a rope light "washing a wall" strung along the ceiling behind a short ceiling drop
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I'm remembering the story of the guy on the factory line, who wanted to tie a rope, to the killswitch which was on the second floor catwalk. Too many times, something would drop into the machine, and someone would have to run at full speed up the flight of stairs (or the ladder) to yank on the killswitch. Which could mean some major body damage, if someone was reaching in.
So, he writes the proposal. Tie a rope to the disconnect, so if the problem is at the lower level, we can pull the rope.
Management denied the application. Why? Because during a shutdown, someone might push the rope up, thus restarting the equipment in a dangerous manner.
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On Aug 13, 10:49pm, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

I used to have a couple of outlets like that too. They were outlets on a mantel that had a couple of small lamps pluged into them. During the holidays they had Christmas lights connected to them. They were also wired into a 3 way switch that allowed either the overhead light or the lamps to be on but not both. The house was wired like that when I moved in.
Jimmie
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It's probably not code, but I have a receptacle controlled by a dimmer for a floor lamp.
It is however, covered with something similar to this:
http://preview.tinyurl.com/lmnrgm
except that mine requires a screw driver to take off. Somebody would have to really, really, *really* want to plug something else into this receptacle.
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wrote:

It may or may not be safe, depending on what is plugged into it. It would be better to plug a dimmer into the outlet.
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Is the receptacle too bright?
ben wrote:

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