i just replaced a pull chain switch for the lights on a ceiling fan. it has 5 60 watt lamps, so 300 watts, i installed a 6a@125vac switch, which should be good, cause 300 watts will draw 2.5amps. but the switch was labeled 3a 125vl/6a 125vac, 3a 250vac. what is "vl"
You may remember from high school that "L" is the symbol for inductance.
"VL" stands for Volts, Inductive. Examples of inductive loads include motors, solenoids, and relays. Inductive loads exhibit inrush of current, when energized, that can be many times the regular current draw. Also, when de-energized, the magnetic field collapses, generating a high voltage transient. This transient can cause arcing across mechanical switching contacts or can cause damage to solid-state contacts. For this reason, swtiches either have a "VL" rating or a "horsepower" rating that is much less than their rating when used on other load types, such as your incandescent lamps. Everything you thought you knew about sizing switches goes out the window when sizing a switch for inductive loads; particularly motors.