Have a dimmer light switch that controls 12, 60watt light bulbs in our
kitchen ceiling. The switch gets very warm to the touch. I assume
this is not good, what are my alternatives? Are there different levels
of dimmer controls that can handle higher wattage? If I put in
different types of bulbs lower wattage, or fluorescent, would that be
a good quick fix? Thanks.
Changing to lower wattage bulbs will also affect the quality of the light in
ways you might not like. And, it'll cost more for the bulbs than a new
dimmer. The first thing to do is shut off the breaker to the circuit, and
pull the dimmer out enough to see what it's rated for. Actually, it might be
on the front of the thing, so you won't even have to pull it out of the box.
If it seems you need one with larger capacity, replacing the old one is not
that big a deal. Eyeball and measure how much space you have in the box
around the existing dimmer, and find a Leviton dealer.
Incidentally, all dimmers will get warm to some extent.
On Mon, 05 Mar 2007 19:28:03 GMT, "JoeSpareBedroom"
Most standard home dimmers are rated at 600Watts.
12 -60W bulbs is 720W. Either you got a higher capacity dimmer or
you're living on the limit where it could burn out anytime. So, of
course it's hot. I am not all that up on what they sell for wattage
rated dimmers, but I think after 600 there are 800W and 1000W (and
I'd replace it with at least a 1000W. Get one with a large finned
heat sink that replaces the cover plate. -OR- rewire and put in a
second dimmer (6 lights each).
I'd buy a industrial grade dimmer with the load you are running.
You CAN NOT use dimmers on florescent or compace florescent bulbs.
Dont even try it, something wiill burn out. most likely the ballast in
You must have a huge kitchen to have 12 lights !!!!!
If your dimmer is in a single gang box, it is a pretty safe bet that
you have a 600W dimmer.
You have 720W of load. The only thing you can do is lower the
You can get a larger dimmer but it won't fit in a single gang box. You
can change the box, but probably not without doing a little sheet rock
All dimmers get hot, some more than others. Standard dimmers are rated for
600 watts when installed in a single box. You require a 1000 watt dimmer for
your kitchen, which incidentally will fit in a single gang box, as will
dimmers up to 2000 watts
As other posters have said, dimmers normally run warm. I recently
installed a 600 watt dimmer in my bathroom that runs about 450 watts
worth of lights. The cover plate will feel warm after 5 or 10 minutes,
the dimmer the lights, the less heat.
Also, as others have said, you're running too big a load for a 600
watt dimmer. If that's what you have in there, you should change it.
In addition to what others have said, i.e. being over the dimmer spec,
putting in a higher rated dimmer will not fix the heat problem. You
are still dissipating the same amount of heat in the same amount of
space regardless of the rating of the dimmer. The only way to cool
things down is to reduce the wattage of the bulbs or buy a more
One thing to remember--dimmers use a solid state device called a triac to
control the power. Triacs have a voltage drop of about 1 volt when
conducting. Thus for your situation where you are drawing 6 amps at full
current the triac will be producing about 6 watts of heat plus a small
amount of heat from the other components, so it is not surprising that the
switch should feel warm. Changing to a higher power rated dimmer will not
change this amount of heat. If you can find lower wattage bulbs that look
ok would help. I would ignore it and if the dimmer dies buy higher power
unscrew 2 bulbs. this gives you 10x 60 = 600 watts, the most likely
size dimmer hiding in the box. then see if it still heats up after an
hour. if so, replace the dimmer. but explore other lighting before you
go dimmer shopping.
i wish i was smart enough to hire dimmable kitchen fixtures it must be
great for food prep, great for night lights, and helps avoid stepping
on the dog. i'm using a variety of 4 watt nightlights and motion
activated nightlights with 20 watt undercounter fluorrescent at sink,
plus ceiling fan with all its bulbe replaced with brightest twist
fluorescents i can find. unfortunately not the dimmable kind. when
light shopping, over 40 needs more light to read by.
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