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Rotary dimmer controls a 5 light chandelier. after being on for about 30 minutes the face plate to the dimmer feels warm to the touch. Normal or a problem? If a problem, how to solve.

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Normal. The way that the dimmer works is that the resistance is transfered to the dimmer accounting for the heat. 

Posted on Apr 21, 2009

  • BoomerP Oct 13, 2010

    This is not true unless you're referring specifically to theatrical lighting in the mid 1900s.

    As the dimmer turns the lights on and off (creating the dimmed effect), about 1% of the power going to the fixture is lost as heat in the dimming circuitry. This is normal, and more importantly safe.

    Most people's fears on heat comes from the metal screws that poke through the front of the faceplate, as they generally get the warmest. So the best solution I've found is to use a screwless faceplate (usually a two-part device, one that attaches like a normal faceplate, and one that snaps on the front to cover it up).



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The dimmer runs seven reccesed lights with 65 watt bulbs in them. Also the other wire that comes in powers other switches in the kitchen. But the dimmer does only seven can lights. But gets warm as I

Yes, Wall Dimmer Switches do indeed get warm in use. The front part of the dimmer switch is a plate of aluminum, and is actually a "heat sink" for the innards. It dumps the heat to the outside front of the switch, and yes - it makes the switch-plate feel warm hen the dimmer is used.

The concern here is warm is okay, but HOT is NOT, at least not for your application of only a few lamps being dimmed.

If you are ever in a commercial establishment, like a big convention hall in a hotel, or a large restaurant dining room where a lot of lights are on single dimmer switches, you will observe the switches actually have external heat sinks, large plates of finned metal, on the outside of the switch. Those are designed to dim many lights, and can indeed get quite hot.

Take the plastic plate off and read the wattage rating that is stamped into that aluminum plate. As long as the total of your load (7 lamps times 65 watts each lamp equals 455 watts total load) is equal to or less than the "Maximum Load" shown on the switch, you are fine.

If you still feel the switch is too hot for your peace of mind, replace it with one rated for an even greater load - it will possibly run a bit cooler (Ohm's law says it will not!). Switches can and do wear out, and they are inexpensive enough that replacement is "cheap insurance".

If you go that route, and decide to replace the switch yourself (a relatively easy task, Google yourself a "How-to" video on the subject) and unless you are very VERY familiar with the circuitry in your home, just go ahead and throw the Main Breaker of the house off for the 15 or 20 minutes the job will take you.

That way, you won't have any 'shocking surprises' when you start fiddling inside that switch-box.

(make sure you have fresh batteries in your best flashlight, and all the tools you need, before you start!)

Best 'o luck, William!

Jan 23, 2015 | Electrical Supplies

1 Answer


Which dimmer do you have. So I can look up the manual.
Are you using a fan dimmer, or light dimmer?
Does the dimmer feel warm to touch? or hot?
What does the dimmer control? Incandescent? Fluorescent?
How many total watts are being dimmed?
Is this a new dimmer or old dimmer that started having a problem?
Add a comment with as much detail as possible for best available answer.

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1 Answer

I installed a GE dimmer similar to this model (bought it from COSTCO), after about 10 minutes the metal plate on the dimmer start to heat up. It is normal? Is it faulty? Can it start a fire?

It is normal for dimmers to get warm. Dimmers have, roughly, an inefficiency of about 1% that turns into heat. Metal plates, especially the metal screws, are going to conduct that heat to the front pretty effecitvely. The lower you dim the lights, the cooler it will get. Also, the less load you have on it, the cooler it will get. A plastic plate will contain the heat more effecitvely - or better yet a screwless faceplate will completely encapsulate it.

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I installed 2 3 way lighted dimmer switches (DR703PWV) in my Living room Chandelier, and the control for On & Off is working as it is supposed to, but when I try to dim the chandelier flickers from...

Install one dimmer at the load end feeding the light. Install a standard 3way switch at the other end. Make sure the dimmer switch is rated for the type of bulbs in the fixture. ie Led, halogen etc.

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I have always used a lutron maestro dimmer. I replaced the chandelier and put in 6-60 watt bulbs. My previous chandelier used 18-25 watt chandelier bulbs and the dimmer worked fine. after changing the...

You should have just two wires plus a ground hooked up to the dimmer. It should install just like the maestro. If you are getting no lights with a double tap, or tap and hold, and if the led is not on, it is one of several things. Most are basic, but will list anyway. Check that your connections are good. Make sure you have power there. Make sure the bulbs are good. If all is fine, you probably have a defective dimmer if it worked prior to this. To test, take the dimmer out, restore power, and carefully touch one insulated wire to the other one. If the light comes on, it is the dimmer at fault.

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The dimmer switch will turn on and off but wont dim the lights on a chandelier. model 6681-w. tried 2 different ones with the same results.

The Leviton 6681 is a push-button rotary-type incandescent dimmer with 600Watt capacity
If you have incandescent bulbs, the dimmer should work.
If the dimmer has different color wires, try reversing the wires.
If the dimmer replaced a 3-way switch, then this is not the right dimmer.
If you have compact florescent bulbs, you need a dimmer that also dims florescent.
Link shows the Leviton 6673 incandescent and florescent dimmer

But you also need dimmable compact florescent bulbs.

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1 Answer

I just installed a chandelier. This is a new connection. So I ran a 3 wire from the chanderlier to a new lutron slide dimmer. I then ran a 2 wire from this dimmer to the switch. When I turned the...

Lutron Dimmer manuals

Lutron manuals show a couple things that might be affecting you lights.
1) Wattage: If you have wrong wattage dimmer
2) Type of light bulb: Dimmers work on different types of bulbs
3) Wiring: You say you got 3 wires going to the chandelier? Why you got 3 wires? Is this a 3 way switch? Are the chandelier bulbs wired separately so you can control groups of bulbs with different switches?
Does the dimmer have 3 screws? A dark-colored screw and 2 brass screws? If so, then that sounds like a 3-way dimmer. A 3-way, is where more than one switch controls the same light.

Does the dimmer have 2 screws? Then that dimmer controls a single circuit. Your black Hot wire from breaker box connects to one screw and the black wire to Load connects to other screw.
A quick glance at Lutron wiring manual shows that Hot and Load wires connect to either screw.
The question is your 3-wires from the chandelier ... does the black Hot wire from breaker arrive in the ceiling box first? Or does it arrive in the wall box first? If your Hot arrives in ceiling box, then the Hot must come down to the switch box and connect to a screw on the dimmer >>> a second wire connects to other screw on dimmer and travels up to the ceiling box where it connects to black wire on chandelier. The white wire on chandelier connects to white Neutral.
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1 Answer

Rotary dimmer control for 5 light chandelier stops dimming

Whoa...You definitely may have a fire and/or shock hazard hanging from your ceiling. I've seen a lot of fixtures with old, brittle wire and bad insulation in them. Lamp wiring is subjected to a lot of heat, especially with higher-wattage fixtures. Long term exposure to heat near or above the insulation's rating is especially damaging to electrical insulation. I've also seen cases where metal parts of the bulb socket partially melted and/or broke loose.

If you're comfortable and confident of your abilities to make a safe electrical connection, you can replace the wire and bulb sockets in your fixture. If it's valuable or an attractive antique, it's worth fixing or having fixed, even if you sell it. Just make sure you use wire with insulation rated for use in an electrical fixture. It must be rated for a temperature no less than 105 degrees Celsius.

It it's a lower cost fixture, replace it or have it replaced. Regardless of what you do, you're probably going to be replacing that dimmer again...sorry.

If you live in an older home, it may be worth (in terms of safety) having a few qualified electricians evaluate your electrical system as a whole to make sure everything is still in safe condition.

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Light switch

If the previous light worked ok and you didn't touch the wall switch, you must have a faulty connection at the chandelier end, check the connections again. Is there a seperate switch on the chandelier?

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