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Why Does My Dimmer Switch Get Very Hot?

June 30, 2006

Q: I have a new house and the dimmer switch on the kitchen lights gets very hot. There are 11 can lights with 65W bulbs in each. What is my problem?

A: I believe the problem is your dimmer switch in undersized. Dimmer switches are rated in watts and according to the load served. Your load is 11 cans x 65 watts each = 715 watts. You probably have a 600 watt dimmer switch in place and you need to upgrade to a 1,000 watt dimmer switch.

You may also replace your light bulbs with lower wattage bulbs. In this case, the maximum wattage bulbs that you may use is 50 watts. However, I recommend replacing the dimmer switch.

When you replace your dimmer switch, be sure to turn off the power first and verify that the power is off before touching any wires. When you install your new dimmer switch be sure that the ground wire is hooked up. It is extremely important to ground dimmer switches.


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4 Responses to “Why Does My Dimmer Switch Get Very Hot?”

  1. steve on May 2nd, 2007 9:46 am

    I bought a dimmer i liked from the john lewis department store in england. Its a brass finished touch dimmer. I have never seen anything like this in the US. Can it be installed and used in the US?

  2. Brian on June 14th, 2007 1:36 pm

    I have 9 can lights at 65 watt bulbs and my dimmer is rated at 600 watts. The dimmer plate screw is very hot, the total watts used by the bulbs is 585 watts do youi think I should go up to 1000 watts?


  3. Jason Gulledge on July 2nd, 2007 9:26 pm

    Wayne, do they make dimmer switches rated for anything MORE than 1000 watts?

    I’m pushing 10 120w floodlights into my 600w dimmer switch. Luckily, i’ve had no fires yet, but I don’t want to turn it on again until I can find a “safe” dimmer switch.

    Any ideas?

    Thanks in advance
    Jason Gulledge

  4. dennis on August 9th, 2011 7:15 am

    hi i have an old swithch 3 way. all 3 screws are on same side top screw has single black wire second screw has single black wire but ( it is a wire that has been striped in the middle and put around the screw as it continues some were else ) and the bottom screw has single red on it. all screws apear to be same colour. witch black do u think is comon.