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Old 11-06-2008, 05:02 PM   #1
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Oversized switch - Why?


I live in a two story house. My furnace and electrical box is in the basement. In the main hall on my top floor is a switch for the primary exhaust fan. It is in the same box as an actual light switch. The switch for the exhaust fan looks like a regular light switch except that it is bigger. As we paint the house, we have been changing all of the switches from the older style switches to the new rocker style switches. Any idea why this switch is different? Can it be replaced with a normal switch? I have taken the cover plate off and the connections on the actual switch look the same as the 4 way switch that is beside it. I haven't actually pulled it apart yet, so I am not sure how many wires are running to it or what colours they are. What do you think?

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Old 11-06-2008, 05:30 PM   #2
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Oversized switch - Why?


Quote:
Originally Posted by DirtSquirt View Post
I live in a two story house. My furnace and electrical box is in the basement. In the main hall on my top floor is a switch for the primary exhaust fan. It is in the same box as an actual light switch. The switch for the exhaust fan looks like a regular light switch except that it is bigger. As we paint the house, we have been changing all of the switches from the older style switches to the new rocker style switches. Any idea why this switch is different? Can it be replaced with a normal switch? I have taken the cover plate off and the connections on the actual switch look the same as the 4 way switch that is beside it. I haven't actually pulled it apart yet, so I am not sure how many wires are running to it or what colours they are. What do you think?
It is either a motor-rated switch or a "spec" grade switch. It is likely a 20 A switch, because of the larger starting load of the motor.

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Old 11-07-2008, 05:57 PM   #3
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Oversized switch - Why?


Big inductive loads cause arcing on switch contacts. I would not replace it solely for cosmetic value with a switch that might not be rated for that use.
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Old 11-09-2008, 12:53 AM   #4
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Oversized switch - Why?


If it looks like a 4 way switch its probably a heavy duty double pole switch, intended to switch 2 independent circuits (in the case of a 240 volt device). I'd the wiring, see how many wires are connected and how, then check voltage to each set of wires (determine if its 120 or 240 volts).
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Old 11-09-2008, 01:57 AM   #5
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Oversized switch - Why?


You need to use the right switch. Look at the text on the switch, what does it say?

If you go with a normal switch, you might just hear a loud pop every once and awhile and feel it getting hot....
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