Dimmer switch getting very warm when turned off.

I fitted a new dimmer switch a couple of weeks ago along with a new light. The ceiling light has four 50 watt bulbs fitted and according to the manufacturers instructions is suitable to be used with a dimmer switch. The dimmer switch is rated at 300 watt. My concern is that the switch gets very warm when the light is off. I have just tried the switch at three different settings which made no difference to the temperature of the switch. Tested at dimmest, medium and full for around 15-20 minutes each. I realise the switch may get warm in the on position but surely not in the off position.
Any assistance on the matter would be appreciated.
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What sort of dimmer is it (bug-standard rotary knob, touch dimmer, remote control dimmer, etc)? In the case of a bug-standard rotary knob, does it click off or push off or similar?
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Andrew Gabriel
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writes:

My touch / remote dimmers get warm - the instructions mention this.
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wrote:

I had a remote one that got warm. It also blew up eventually :-(
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On Aug 17, 8:45 am, snipped-for-privacy@cucumber.demon.co.uk (Andrew Gabriel) wrote:

It is the push button type. Keeping the button pressed in alters the light up or down.
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It's probably got a tiny microcontroller in it, which is going to be continuously powered. In this case, I'm not surprised it's warm, although _very_ warm might be.
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Andrew Gabriel
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With rated capacity of 300, the 200 watts of lamps doesn't sound like a problem and the heat is noted in the 'off' position, however:
In the confined space of a typical switch wall box even the few watts used by any solid state dimmer or timer circuit, even when it is in an allegedly 'off' state, may feel warm.
Appears that solid state, so called 'Smart thermostats' timers and dimmers use a little bit of power, flowing via the devices they control 'all the time'. Probably only a watt or two each. So take 500 hours, at least, to use one unit (kilowatt hour) at whatever is the cost of electricity.
If the heat is considered excessive (fire risk) get rid of the dimmer entirely; or unscrew the bulbs when light not in use!
Not sure about quality standards in UK, but here in Canada there is quite a lot of junk being sold, probably made very cheaply overseas, that 'supposedly' (or falsely labelled?) meets Canadian CSA (Canadian Standards Assoc.) or the USA UL (Underwriters Labs.) requirements.
But which in practice does not seem that reliable (some items don't last long!), and/or causes RFI (Radio Frequency Interference) and other problems.
For example certain products are labelled "For incandescent and non inductive loads only". Yet in the next aisle most of the bulbs being sold are non incandescent CFLs (Compact Fluorescents)! And homeowners often don't know what that means, except it is now supposed to be 'good' to use the newer style bulbs!
Other oddities; a ceiling fan controlled by a dimmer wall switch, buzzing loudly ..... just not compatible. A Dimmer switch controlling wall outlets for bedside or table lamps. Doesn't work well when a radio-stereo system was plugged into same outlets! A homeowner who used a light dimmer switch to slow down the AC induction motor of their air exchanger fan. And then wondered why both it and the motor burnt out! Didn't like the waveform I guess?
The more of these gadgets we use, often installed by those who have little understanding of things electrical (No you don't have to be a registered electrician, just know what you are doing!) the greater the chance of incompatibilities/problems increase.
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Most dimmers switch off properly, but some dont. If its not hot enough to be a fire risk then no problem.
Your use of 200w on a 300w dimmer is asking for trouble though. It may be in spec, but its a recipe for early failure.
NT
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