Today I replaced our dining room's old 70s chandelier. When I opened it up I noticed pretty quick the rubber shielding on the lamps cords had been melting a bit towards the tips as it got all over my hands while taking down the old fixture. I just discounted it at age since it wasn't overly significant and the fixture had been up for years before we moved in a few months ago.

So I installed a brand new updated fixture and also replaced the existing single pole dimmer switch with the same model single pole dimmer I've installed elsewhere in the house.

Here's my problem: When I turn it on to full brightness, it works fine but there's a subtle buzzing noise coming from the switch and the fixture by the bulb(s)

When you dim it down it flickers.

Now, I've probably literally changed out a hundred fixtures over the years. The only thing different about the way I installed it was the new single pole dimmer had a ground wire I just hooked to the bare ground wire that was already there. Whereas the old switch didn't have one.

I'm pretty positive all the connections are fine and I used new screw caps on the twisted pairs.

I'm no electrician but it's not rocket science, however I could use some education from someone a bit more experienced than myself troubleshooting this weird behavior. If I have to pull it all back down and investigate a hint at what to look for in particular would be awesome.

EDIT ADDITION: Replaced it with a Leviton Cat. No. 6672-L "Universal" that's even has on the box advertising it for the bulbs in use. It still buzzes at the switch, the dimming is a little cleaner to a point before it flickers again. I can pull down the fixture and double check everything but I'm pretty sure it's not the culprit.

Any advice?


  • It sounds like you're trying to run too high of a wattage through the dimmer. First thing to verify is that the total wattage of all of the bulbs is well below the rated maximum of the dimmer. Easiest way to check is to remove a couple bulbs and see if that fixes it. If so, you'll either need a better dimmer or lower wattage bulbs.
    – Comintern
    Mar 15, 2014 at 23:54
  • See I was wondering if I may have just got a bad switch, I tried with only 1 60w bulb out of 3 sockets available on the fixture and it was the same result. I suppose I can try some 40's but do you think I could have just got a faulty switch?
    – Chris W.
    Mar 16, 2014 at 0:59
  • It's possible, new dimmers (especially cheap ones) tend to do this more than older ones in my experience. It also may be picking up interference from the ground loop and getting out of phase with an other dimmers on the same circuit, but the only way to fix that would be a dedicated ground. Isolating the ground would be a lot more work or expense than getting a better switch though.
    – Comintern
    Mar 16, 2014 at 1:12

2 Answers 2


the 3 bulbs are 60W equivalent ecosmart compact fluorescent's

This may be your problem. Many CF (compact fluorescent) bulbs are NOT designed to be dimmed.

Try changing out your bulbs with "Dimmable" CFs.

  • Ya I finally figured that out. I went ahead and replaced it with a dimmer supposed to be rated for all bulb types, I took out the CF's and replaced them with good old fashioned bulbs. Problem is, now it only buzzes if the dimmer is not maxed, still defeating the purpose of a dimmer and leaves me still with the mystery of how to silence it.
    – Chris W.
    Apr 16, 2014 at 2:48

It is NOT the ground. This is not audio equipment, so let's rule that out. What kind of lamps (bulbs) are they? You say there are only three so we can also rule out an overloaded dimmer. Also, you say it is the same dimmer you've used before. What brand and model number is it?

  • It's a Leviton decora sureslide with the optional night light single pole cat. no. 6631-L PK-93181-10-00-2c I'm pretty sure the exact one shone here and the 3 bulbs are 60W equivalent ecosmart compact fluorescent's (the energey saver bulbs) I was just about to head to the store to grab a "better" (more expensive) dimmer and try it so any suggestions/info obviously welcome.
    – Chris W.
    Mar 16, 2014 at 17:38
  • Just got back from the store, and I noticed while there that some dimmer switches are specifically rated for use with the new energy efficient bulbs so I got one of those and I'll pop it in and and see if that was the culprit.
    – Chris W.
    Mar 16, 2014 at 18:45
  • 1
    Updated the question with the latest findings after trying a different switch.
    – Chris W.
    Mar 16, 2014 at 22:58

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