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Old 08-12-2009, 12:12 PM   #1
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Light switches on/off - and kids


My parents always warned me not to repeatedly flip a light switch on and off fast because it could cause an electrical fire... Well, my young kid does it sometimes (of course I tell him to stop it, or at least try to) and I am not worrying about electrical fire (modern light switches in a house with decent wiring are safe enough), but that it can damage some household appliances connected to the house's electrical network (because of the several short-lived transient events that occur in the light switch, sudden changes of voltage, current or load).

Is this a possibility, or just paranoia?

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Old 08-12-2009, 01:31 PM   #2
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Light switches on/off - and kids


My parents told me all kinds of BS too.

I tried not to make the same mistake with my own child

If you ignore his behavior, he will probably stop it. If you point it out, he will do it just to irritate you. Freakin kids

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Old 08-12-2009, 09:28 PM   #3
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Light switches on/off - and kids


Quote:
Originally Posted by mommy78 View Post
it can damage some household appliances connected to the house's electrical network (because of the several short-lived transient events that occur in the light switch, sudden changes of voltage, current or load).
Looking on this list
http://www.wholesalesolar.com/pdf.fo...ower-table.pdf
for things that are normally controlled by a switch I say "Probably no problem."

I don't know how CFLs will react to this. And motion detector lights may latch up into an undesired state.

Last edited by Yoyizit; 08-12-2009 at 09:36 PM.
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Old 08-12-2009, 10:35 PM   #4
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Light switches on/off - and kids


It will shorten the life of incandescent bulbs and wear the switches out faster, but that's it.
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Old 08-13-2009, 08:22 AM   #5
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Light switches on/off - and kids


Computers and laser printers draw a big surge when you turn them on. Not a good idea to cycle those excessively. All solder joints are subject to thermal stresses from power cycles. If the solder joint is properly made, it should withstand millions of cycles. Of course, quality control isn't about 100%, it's about controlling for a statistical mean...

So light bulbs aren't a big deal, but if the switch is on a power strip or controls anything complicated, I'd avoid playing with it excessively.
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Old 08-13-2009, 12:26 PM   #6
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Light switches on/off - and kids


I want to change my answer more in line with 277's.

". . .filaments in vacuum tubes a number of years ago.
The factor most predictive of the life expectancy of a tube was the number of cycles...
the number of times it heated and cooled. I would suspect this might relate to light
bulbs also."

Maybe even the wiring and connections will fatigue faster due to this kind of cycling.

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Old 08-13-2009, 01:03 PM   #7
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Light switches on/off - and kids


I think it could reduce the life span of fluorescents? Maybe ceiling fans too? I would not be concerned with incandescents.

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