Having had two light switches die in the shop, suspiciously close to
the lathe/bandsaw, I disassembled one to find out why and discovered
wood dust. I sand profusely on the lathe, incidentally.
So I came up with a simple solution. I cut the fingers from an old
nitrile glove and made tiny condoms for the switches. Remove the
cover plate, stretch the finger tip opening over the rectangular boss
that normally extends into the cover plate, and replace the cover
plate. Friction holds it in place, and you now have a dust resistant
And a conversation starter if there ever was one - especially if you
use blue gloves...
Possibly, but I'll probably never get around to it.
Thanks - hope it proves useful.
Of course, you can buy commercial dust-proof switches, but they cost
a bit more than the $1.49 switches they put in houses these days, and
sell at the BORG.
Nice one, thanks
I have a switch acting up right now, may put this one to use tomorrow.
Please remove the spamtrap to email me.
"I always wanted to be somebody...I should have been more specific..." - Lily
Shoulda known someone would post an utterly depressing story like
that. Having been the victim of a similar fire many years ago, I am
even more cautious now than I was then about fire safety - and the
idiots who will do anything for a damned buck.
That is one unhappy camper, I can guarantee.
Shocking reminder of what can happen, but still a depressing story...
Didn't post it to depress anyone but rather to inform that your lungs aren't
the only thing that dust can harm. I purchased an air scrubber right after
reading about that particular fire. Also checked the dates on both of my
Sorry to hear about your fire. Hope everyone was ok. Wood and machinery
can always be replaced.
Although a very clever solution, I would be concerned about what happens
in the long term. Does nitrile breakdown? In a closed environment
where the air may be highly ionized? If so, will it breakdown into
something that may facilitate arcing? I doubt it, but I certainly don't
know. It looks like the current unsealed situation is a ticking time
bomb -- accumulating fine dust. But if you're going to fix it, why not
use something which has been tested, approved, and blessed by experts?
At least you won't be buying a dispute with your insurance carrier
should they wonder if your modification may have contributed to the
problem and thus jeopardize coverage.
Also, think about down the line, what if you sell and the new owner ends
us having a fire with cause being determined to have started in the box?
Again, I'd be inclined to think the nitrile fix would not be a cause,
but I can't say I wouldn't rule it out entirely. Would you entertain
any feelings of responsibility with an unapproved modification you made
whose interaction in the facts leading up to the fire is unknown?
I'm not assessing whether this modification is good or bad, I'm just
raising the issue of making any unapproved modification to something
that undergoes a rigorous standards/testing procedure where consequences
can be disastrous. Just some concerns.
[and solved the dust intrusion with a rubber cover]
Yes, there are three concerns here; for fire safety, some materials
aren't good inside the
switch area (and ozone from a switch might make nitrile into flammable
concern: the amount of sawdust that kills a switch can be explosive.
of course, is that the switch work reliably.
Two other solutions are mercury switches (these have a tilting sealed
mercury, and no dust can stop their normal function as long as the
toggle still moves),
and explosion-proof switches (which are skeleton switch mechanisms, so
get trapped, and with a conformal rubber coating so sparks at the
aren't communicated to the ambient, whether sawdust or bilge gases).
But the best solution is to use good dust collection whenever that
darned sander is
in use, even if it's just a shop vacuum and a feather duster.
The switch will work fine but if the folks in DC get word that it is being
used by a non military person they may send the Delta crowd out to get you.
just because you are paranoid doesn't mean that they aren't out to get you.
There's probably a reason beyond what is being discussed here, why your
switch boxes are full with wood dust.
Normally dust just settles down, and does not go into closed confined
places unless an air current takes it there, the way we build walls,
the spaces between the studs and wall boards become wind tunnels in a
way when we have openings (however small) that connect one space to
another, and temperature or pressures are different between them.
Wind on one side of a building will create pressure on one side and a
negative pressure on the other side, and air will travel through every
opening taking along in this case wood dust and also the same thing
happens with cold verses warm air.
Take some foam in a can and fill the area around your switch box to
minimize or eliminate the airflow, and you will also eliminate or
minimize the dust into the switch box and create the switch problem.
Also there are special designed seals for use between switch box and
switch plates to lessen air leaks in houses, they by themselves would
help to prevent much of the dust problem you have.
Have fun aand take care
Leo Van Der Loo
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