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Thread: Warm switch

  1. #1

    Default Warm switch

    I did an inspection on a garden style condo yesterday, building five years old. There was a Lutron switch in the hallway that served five recessed lights in the kitchen. No dimmer (which was unusual). The face plate was fairly warm (measured 96 degrees with a laser thermometer). Adjacent switch controlling just one light was 72 degrees. Took plate off, no evidence of overheating or scorching of the wires.
    Is this a problem? Flagged it but unsure if the temp rise could be normal with an extended use of the recessed lights?
    Any comments?
    Ernie Simpson

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Warm switch

    Quote Originally Posted by Ernie Simpson View Post
    I did an inspection on a garden style condo yesterday, building five years old. There was a Lutron switch in the hallway that served five recessed lights in the kitchen. No dimmer (which was unusual). The face plate was fairly warm (measured 96 degrees with a laser thermometer). Adjacent switch controlling just one light was 72 degrees. Took plate off, no evidence of overheating or scorching of the wires.
    Is this a problem? Flagged it but unsure if the temp rise could be normal with an extended use of the recessed lights?
    Any comments?
    Ernie Simpson
    Sounds like the switch is not rated for the wattage that it is controlling. If it was warm enough to make you check its temperature I would go ahead and note it in the report. If it is just a normal switch and not a dimmer then it should not be warm. Dimmer switches are designed to dissipate the heat they create and normal wall switches are not.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  3. #3
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    Apr 2008
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    Default Re: Warm switch

    Quote Originally Posted by Ernie Simpson View Post
    I did an inspection on a garden style condo yesterday, building five years old. There was a Lutron switch in the hallway that served five recessed lights in the kitchen. No dimmer (which was unusual). The face plate was fairly warm (measured 96 degrees with a laser thermometer). Adjacent switch controlling just one light was 72 degrees. Took plate off, no evidence of overheating or scorching of the wires.
    Is this a problem? Flagged it but unsure if the temp rise could be normal with an extended use of the recessed lights?
    Any comments?
    Are you sure it wasn't a dimmer or other electronic control? I'm not aware of any Lutron controls that are standard open contact switches, at least not within the past 5 years or so.


  4. #4
    Lou Romano's Avatar
    Lou Romano Guest

    Default Re: Warm switch

    Quote Originally Posted by Corn Walker View Post
    Are you sure it wasn't a dimmer or other electronic control? I'm not aware of any Lutron controls that are standard open contact switches, at least not within the past 5 years or so.
    Lutron's "Claro" line has non dimming switches and receptacles too!


  5. #5
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    Default Re: Warm switch

    Quote Originally Posted by Lou Romano View Post
    Lutron's "Claro" line has non dimming switches and receptacles too!
    I believe Claro refers to the finish on their designer wall plates. However, I did note on pg 85 in my line book in the "coordinating accessories" section they have single-pole, 3-way, and 4-way switches. They don't have any technical documentation on them, and aside from custom colors I can't imagine why someone would specify them, but thanks for the tip.


  6. #6
    Lou Romano's Avatar
    Lou Romano Guest

    Default Re: Warm switch

    The switches and receptacles are color coordinated and come in many colors! 27 colors I think but not sure, that is why they are specified by a lot of interior designers.


  7. #7
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    Default Re: Warm switch

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    Sounds like the switch is not rated for the wattage that it is controlling.
    This is actually not likely. The lowest rated switch is going to be 15A. He says it is controlling only five lights. Even at 150W each that is only 750 watts, or 6.25A.

    Could it possibly be a poor backstab connection?
    I am not familiar with Lutron Claro, do they even have backstab connections?


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