Electricians........

Thread starter #1
Quick ? for the electricians out there, or anyone else for that matter.

Scenario: I have a switch plate that will sometimes get really warm when I use it to turn the lights on....there are 3 switch plates I can use for this room.....the others do not do this. Because of this I haven't used this switch plate often.

Today I removed the plate cover.....after I flipped the breaker off for that room...... and did some investigating, I found that 2 screws on the same side of the switch plate were loose. I tightened them and checked the others...all good now.
Am I safe to use this switch plate without worrying about a fire now, and what caused the plate to heat up when I used it?

Thanks,
kaintuckee
 

SGADawg

Senior Member
Definitely...maybe.::ke:

A loose connection can cause overheating, but so can a poor connection inside the switch. Best bet: try it while you can check it often, then proceed from there.

If you can control one set of lights from 3 locations, you will have 2 3-way switches and 1 4-way switch. If you replace, be sure you get a switch that matches the one you remove as far as number of terminals. Also be sure to wire it back up exactly like the old one.
 
Definitely...maybe.::ke:

A loose connection can cause overheating, but so can a poor connection inside the switch. Best bet: try it while you can check it often, then proceed from there.

If you can control one set of lights from 3 locations, you will have 2 3-way switches and 1 4-way switch. If you replace, be sure you get a switch that matches the one you remove as far as number of terminals. Also be sure to wire it back up exactly like the old one.[/QUOTE]

This! One wire at a time!
 

Milkman

Retired Moderator
Chances are the loose connections were it. I assume you must have several fixtures with many bulbs to be heating it up.

Also, if there is a dimmer switch it may be under-rated for the load you have.

Add up all the watts you are running on that switch . Wattage divided by voltage gives you amperage.

Example if you are running 10 can lights with 100 watt bulbs in each that is 1000 watts which equals about 8.33 amps. Most standard light switches are rated for 15 amps.
 

hobbs27

Senior Member
Quick ? for the electricians out there, or anyone else for that matter.

Scenario: I have a switch plate that will sometimes get really warm when I use it to turn the lights on....there are 3 switch plates I can use for this room.....the others do not do this.
Did this switch have three or four screw terminals? If three you may have solved the problem if four something else is probably wrong, like too many wires in the box.a four way switch is used anytime you have over two places to turn on a light, and it just cuts the switch legs and if it were loose it would heat up no matter which switch was on.
Best advice was already give though, turn it on while you have time to check it.
 
Thread starter #6
Thanks for the advice folks, flipped the switch an hour ago and the plate is cool. Guess tightening the screw was all that needed to be done.

Thanks,
kaintuckee
 
Since someone mentioned a dimmer switch, I have an old style rheostat type that gets warm but not hot. It isn't under-rated though. I found this tidbit about upgrading to the electronic type.

The reason dimmer switches get hot is fairly simple. Some dimmers get hotter than others because of their design. Old dimmer switches typically were rheostats that varied the amount of voltage going to the light bulbs. As the rheostat was turn down to lower the voltage, the electricity was changed into heat. These old dimmers wasted lots of energy.

Modern dimmer switches use slick internal electronics to dim the lights.
 

Rip Steele

Senior Member
Since someone mentioned a dimmer switch, I have an old style rheostat type that gets warm but not hot. It isn't under-rated though. I found this tidbit about upgrading to the electronic type.

The reason dimmer switches get hot is fairly simple. Some dimmers get hotter than others because of their design. Old dimmer switches typically were rheostats that varied the amount of voltage going to the light bulbs. As the rheostat was turn down to lower the voltage, the electricity was changed into heat. These old dimmers wasted lots of energy.

Modern dimmer switches use slick internal electronics to dim the lights.
Works just a DB. The switch has to turn the power into heat to get rid of it.
 

biggsteve

Senior Member
with age, copper wires will expand and contract, just a little.

i'd loosen a bit, and then re-tighten every copper connection you can get to. from the main on down. [loosen a bit means less than a quarter turn]

you'll see better performance and a cheaper light bill.
 
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