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I bought a Leviton Decora Present Electronic Timer Switch...the kind with several button each set to different minutes for a bath fan.

The fan is just a cheapo whatever-the-builder-got-in-bulk fan.

This is all a 15amp circuit.

The issue: after installing the Leviton, the fan runs quieter. It sounds like it's underpowered compared to the old plain switch.

The the Leviton switch installed, I can short the circuit and the fan goes back to full power, but through the Leviton, it's quieter.

Question: Is this normal? If so, is the drop in power negligible in terms of properly exhausting a fan? Or should I find a switch that offers full power? If the latter, how do I know if a timer switch will drop power or not?

In looking at the package, I do now notice that it says "Incandescent 500W" and there's a bit of a blurb that says "Ideal for Heat Lamps, Indoor and Outdoor Lighting". Did I buy a switch only good for lights?

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Well...I typed that too fast, I guess. I just found the answer! Sure enough, this is not actually designed to handle fan loads. UGH. Just blew $40 on two of these. Apparently there's some small print. To quote a review on Home Depot's web site:

Works great for lights,but as I'm finding a common problem with all electric supplies you must read the fine print. Huge voltage drop when I used it for my bathroom fan and as labeled in the fine print using it for a fan caused it to heat up. How it made a UL listing is beyond me.

Sigh. Off to Home Depot to spend more money. This time I'll read the fine print...

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Update: Kudos to Home Depot. They let me exchange it even though I bought it about a year ago. – DA01 Feb 22 '14 at 4:28

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