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-   -   Hot light switch - how dangerous, and what to do? (http://www.diychatroom.com/f18/hot-light-switch-how-dangerous-what-do-15279/)

maximizer 01-06-2008 11:53 PM

Hot light switch - how dangerous, and what to do?
 
Hi, in my bathroom the screws that hold the light switch cover are very hot to the touch after the light is turned on for a while. The light switch itself and the plastic cover are normal.

What can be the cause, and how dangerous is it - can I still use the light before I can get someone to look at it? Is there anything I can do myself without any electrical experience?

Thank you!

Andy in ATL 01-07-2008 03:47 AM

Max, Is it a dimmer switch?

maximizer 01-07-2008 05:38 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Andy in ATL (Post 86345)
Max, Is it a dimmer switch?

Yes, it is!

220/221 01-07-2008 09:32 AM

Dimmers get hot.

Dont touch the screws :laughing:



Or...use plastic screws.

maximizer 01-07-2008 11:19 AM

So this is perfectly expected?? Amazing that I never noticed it for 1.5 years. I was really worried there, you saved me from paying for a service call!

Off to Home Depot for plastic screws (do they really make those? You can see I'm an amateur :) )

Thank you!

goose134 01-07-2008 07:15 PM

Yes they do, though I'm not sure they have them at HD. You will be looking for a 6-32 screw. I believe they are actually nylon but I may be mistaken.

bafordham 12-29-2011 07:22 PM

I just saw this thread. I also have a hot light switch inside the house but it is not a dimmer switch. It is a regular switch. The switch itself seems to be hot as well.

I first thought it was only hot when the switch was on, but it seems to stay hot on the screws and in front of the switch. I have metal screws.

Should I look at replacing the whole thing or checking the wires? Would plastic screws fix the problem?

jbfan 12-29-2011 07:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bafordham (Post 806796)
I just saw this thread. I also have a hot light switch inside the house but it is not a dimmer switch. It is a regular switch. The switch itself seems to be hot as well.

I first thought it was only hot when the switch was on, but it seems to stay hot on the screws and in front of the switch. I have metal screws.

Should I look at replacing the whole thing or checking the wires? Would plastic screws fix the problem?

Turn the power off, pull the switch out and tighten the screws, or better yet, replace the switch.

AllanJ 12-29-2011 08:11 PM

Dimmer switches should not be covered with a plate purchased from another source unless the instructions call for that.

Some dimmer switches have a metal front that must be left exposed to prevent overheating.

dmxtothemax 12-29-2011 09:32 PM

The screws get hot because there is no where for the heat to go!
Maybe the original plate was metal ?
That would have acted as a heat sink !
Putting on plastic screws is not a good idea !
cause you are just trapping the heat inside the wall.
This will shorten the life of the dimmer,
cause it will run hotter than usual.
Why not put a metal plate on it ?
If it is earthed it should not be a problem
and the dimmer will run cooler as a result !

Stubbie 12-29-2011 10:02 PM

A regular switch that isn't lighted or a dimmer should not be hot, especially if the switch is turned off. We need more details like is the switch in the box by itself or is a dimmer next to it, is another switch next to it? As Jbfan said replace it ... they are cheap...see what happens.

Take the cover plate off .. does anything look discolored from heat? Don't go stickin your screwdriver in the box to find out what the wires look like ...:no:

Use a flashlight or turn the circuit breaker off....:thumbsup:

kbsparky 12-29-2011 10:16 PM

I second what our Aussie friend dmxtothemax stated. Use a nice, thick metal plate to act as a heat sink. I'd choose stainless steel, or one with a nice smooth finish on it that can be wiped off easily.

kbsparky 12-29-2011 10:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bafordham (Post 806796)
I just saw this thread. I also have a hot light switch inside the house but it is not a dimmer switch. It is a regular switch. The switch itself seems to be hot as well.

I first thought it was only hot when the switch was on, but it seems to stay hot on the screws and in front of the switch. I have metal screws.

Should I look at replacing the whole thing or checking the wires? Would plastic screws fix the problem?

Do not hide the symptoms with plastic screws. That is like the proverbial ostrich sticking his head into the sand.

Any wiring device that gets warm to the touch should be investigated. Many wall switches are configured that continuity of the circuit is dependent on connections to the switch, even if that light is off.

Some homes have aluminum wiring and this is a real danger sign. Others have copper wires, and one or more of them could be loose, causing a fire hazard as well.


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