03:21AM | 12/18/02
Member Since: 12/17/02
3 lifetime posts
Hi all - first post, so thanks in advance.

We've been in the process of having our basement redone, during which I've begun to doubt the sanity of our contractor.

He installed two dimmer switches, both of which control 480 watts worth of lighting (2 fixtures each, each of those with four 60-watt bulbs). He assures me the dimmer switch is up to the load, but when the lights are on, the metal conductor plates at the top and bottom of the switch are hot to the touch - not so much that it will burn you immediately, but if you hold a finger on it for 10 seconds, you'll have to pull it away.

This strikes me as a problem; him, less so. Anyone know for sure?

Tom O

11:18AM | 12/18/02
Member Since: 09/17/02
477 lifetime posts
Dimmers will get hot, no doubt about it. If these are 600 watt or larger dimmers, this should not be a problem.

If you're really concerned, get a contact thermometer & take a reading. We might be able to find some info on the maximum allowable surface temperature to compare your readings with.



02:24AM | 12/19/02
Member Since: 03/13/00
1675 lifetime posts
Tom O is right. Dimmers get hot.
If you're concerned, you could replace those 60-watt bulbs with 40-watt just to be safe.


06:25AM | 12/19/02
Member Since: 12/17/02
3 lifetime posts
Thanks for the notes; I will replace the 60-watters with 40-watt bulbs just for my piece of mind. Appreciate the help.


04:49PM | 12/19/02
Member Since: 11/05/01
98 lifetime posts
The metal on the dimmer is supposed to get hot. The metal is a heat sink which is used to dissipate the heat generated by the dimmers operation. Dimmers are 98% efficient. The other 2% is dissipated as heat. The higher the load the more heat. You may be better off with the 60's dimmed 20%. This will extend the life of the lamp four times. Is there a reason you think the contractor (electrican I hope) is not being honest with you?

[This message has been edited by electricmanscott (edited December 19, 2002).]

harold endean

04:37PM | 12/23/02
Member Since: 08/30/02
23 lifetime posts
Just my 2 cents, but is this dimmer located next to another dimmer? If so you might have to derate the dimmer. That means if you instal a 600 watt dimmer next to another 600 watt dimmer, then each dimmer is now only good for 500 watt. This is a manufactures requirement. Plus if you have 3 dimmers in a row, the middle dimmer might only be good for 400 watt and the 2 outer dimmers good for 500 watt. Check the manufactures instruction.




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