This sounds dangerous

So I install a dimmer on our game room chandlier. Now when the light is on, the switch/plate gets quite warm. It seemed a pretty easy job so I’m pretty sure I did it right.

It’s not hot enough to burn you, but quite noticeably warm. Is this how dimmers are? Think I did something wrong?


IANAnElectrician, but I have never encountered a warm switch plate.

Well, warmth is heat, heat is energy, and energy doesn’t come from nowhere. You’ve got a source of electrical resistance inside that dimmer switch, which is resisting the electricity and turning it into heat. SOME heat is inevitable, a noticeable amount of heat is indicative of a problem. Take the switch out, replace it with a new one (same brand, if that gets hot get a different brand.) I don’t know what you could have done wrong, this sounds like the way the dimmer was made.

Electronic dimmers are burning up a few watts just being on. It’s not unreasonable for one to get noticeably warm in operation. There’s really nothing you can do wrong that would cause one to overheat.

Well, if you wired it wrong, it would be doing a lot worse than just getting warm to the touch. Maybe the unit itself has some sort of internal problem?

metroshane, you didn’t indicate the age of the building. Do you by any chance have aluminum wiring?

If so, connecting aluminum wires to the copper contacts of the dimmer could lead to dangerous overheating.

Well, I notice this is a chandelier. How many bulbs, and at what wattage? Dimmers come in different ratings (frequently around 250 Watts), and if you have exceeded the rating for your dimmer, I could see it getting uncomfortably hot.