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Talman48 09-06-2005 10:09 PM

Sparking switch

My wife plugs the vacum cleaner into an outlet that is controlled by a wall switch, and use the switch to turn the cleaner on and off. When she does she says that she can see a spark of electricity through the plate cover. Can you tell me what is happening, it is not a silent switch, but spring loaded I guess.


K2eoj 09-06-2005 11:20 PM

The vacum is drawing more current than say if you had a lamp plug into the same outlet. I think there would be some spark on even a new switch but i could be wrong on that. Somebody should be along here to straighten us out. HS.

BigA 09-07-2005 06:18 AM

All switches will arc a little bit if current is being drawn when the switch is thrown. Is it a decora switch? A lot of times you can see the arcing behind them. However, the arc should be totally contained within the switch itself - and its easy enough to check. Take the cover plate off, and see if the arcing is in the box or in your switch. If you can see the arcing in the box, then your switch is either defective, or possibly you have some loose wires in there. Replace or reinstall the switch. If the arcing is in the switch you are ok. If it bothers you get a different switch - the arcing will still be there, but you won't be able to see it.

Is there a particular reason that you need to use the wall switch to turn the vacuum on and off rather than the switch on the unit? A vacuum IS going to draw a lot more current which is why the arc is more visible than say a 60W lamp.

Talman48 09-07-2005 09:56 PM

Thanks fellas,
Thanks for your input, it's really appreciated. It's not a decora, but just a regular outlet/switch...and I thought the sparking was due to the fact that the vacum draws so much electricity, but I wanted to be sure. Why my wife insists on using the wall switch, is beyond me...she's a women, need I say more.

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