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Old 01-06-2008, 11:53 PM   #1
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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!

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Old 01-07-2008, 03:47 AM   #2
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Hot light switch - how dangerous, and what to do?


Max, Is it a dimmer switch?

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Old 01-07-2008, 05:38 AM   #3
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Max, Is it a dimmer switch?
Yes, it is!
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Old 01-07-2008, 09:32 AM   #4
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Hot light switch - how dangerous, and what to do?


Dimmers get hot.

Dont touch the screws



Or...use plastic screws.
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Old 01-07-2008, 11:19 AM   #5
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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!
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Old 01-07-2008, 07:15 PM   #6
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Hot light switch - how dangerous, and what to do?


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.
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Old 12-29-2011, 07:22 PM   #7
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Hot light switch - how dangerous, and what to do?


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?
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Old 12-29-2011, 07:34 PM   #8
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Hot light switch - how dangerous, and what to do?


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Originally Posted by bafordham View Post
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.
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Old 12-29-2011, 08:11 PM   #9
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Hot light switch - how dangerous, and what to do?


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.
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Old 12-29-2011, 09:32 PM   #10
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Hot light switch - how dangerous, and what to do?


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 !
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Old 12-29-2011, 10:02 PM   #11
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Hot light switch - how dangerous, and what to do?


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 ...

Use a flashlight or turn the circuit breaker off....
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Old 12-29-2011, 10:16 PM   #12
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Hot light switch - how dangerous, and what to do?


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.
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Old 12-29-2011, 10:19 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bafordham View Post
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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