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I installed a FEIT Electric dimmer switch on a circuit that controls 2 overhead lights.

I noticed that, even when not using the dimmer, the toggle portion of the switch is warm to the touch. Is this okay?

This is the switch:

FEIT Electric Dimmer Switch

Here are a few more details:

  • The circuit includes 2 switches. The other switch is a standard non-dimmer switch.
  • The 2 overhead lights each house 3 60W bulbs, for a total of 3*60*2=360W
  • I think the bulbs in the light fixtures are halogen bulbs
  • All electric wiring and circuit breakers are less than 15 years old
  • How warm, and what size wire is used in the circuit? – mmathis Aug 16 '17 at 19:36
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    For cheap dimmers, there is no hard/switched "all the way on" position, they are dimming even at max light. There should be a hard/switched "all the way off" position, but it may require use of the switch, not the slider. The dimmer should not make any heat at all in a hard on/off position. – Harper Aug 16 '17 at 19:43
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    tl;dr: It's UL listed so as long as you bought from a reputable source, and installed it correctly, it's fine. It's up to the quality-of-implementation for wasting less energy as heat. – GManNickG Aug 16 '17 at 20:22
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Short answer, most dimmers do get warm when in use. If the dimmer does not have a mechanical method of turning completely off. Then there is a good chance that you are still getting some electrical flow through the switch and that would mean the dimmer could stay warm. In other words what @Harper said.

The biggest question I would have would be if it was getting excessively hot? I would say somewhere above 30 C (86 F) would seem to be excessive.

  • How hot is a good question, and I wish I had a way to provide you with an accurate answer. It's warm to the touch even in a 26 C (79 F) environment, but definitely not hot to the touch. I could hold a finger on it for hours without any temperature discomfort. – RockPaperLizard Aug 17 '17 at 3:23
  • I should add that I incorrectly installed the switch at first, but fixed it after about 3 minutes of realizing my error. If that new information changes your answer, please let me know. – RockPaperLizard Aug 17 '17 at 3:26

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