Homeowners become highly concerned when they notice a light switch is hot. It’s a natural instinct to feel concerned since it is out of the ordinary, but whether this is a dangerous situation actually depends on the type of switch you are using. Standard light switches are different from dimmer switches, and with this issue, it’s an important distinction. Read on to learn more about your specific situation:
The standard on/off switch is generally located throughout homes in the United States. If you notice the switch is hot, this is a sign something is wrong. Common causes of hot standard light switches are bad installation, the electrical current bottle-necking through bad wires or a higher amp load than the circuit can handle. A hot light switch is a cause for concern because it could be a potential fire hazard. Turn off the breaker to the switch and contact an electrician immediately.
Dimmer switches do more than simply turn on and off, and this makes their wiring a bit more complex. They are designed to allow you to adjust the lighting level to your specific preference. If you set the dimmer to the low light setting, it receives the same amount of electricity as if you set it to high. The electricity continues to run through the circuit which can make it warm to the touch. This is a common issue with dimmer switches that does not usually require repair.
Too Hot to Touch
Whether you have a dimmer or standard switch, they should never be too hot to touch. Extremely hot switches are a sign of problems and a potential fire hazard. If you are not able to turn the switch off by touching it with your hands, it’s a dangerous situation. Switches that smell like they are burning or smell like smoke should be repaired immediately. First, turn the breaker switch off that controls the outlet. Don’t let anyone in your household touch the switch. Then contact a licensed electrician for emergency service. Involving an electrician is essential to the safety of your home and family. The technician will inspect the situation and provide valuable input and repair recommendations. Remember this is not an issue you want to ignore since it could become dangerous very quickly. Some homeowners become fearful and worried when there are electrical problems. Don’t try to fix it yourself. This is not a DIY project that a homeowner should attempt. Electrical issues are serious and can cause injury and electrocution. Stay safe and call an electrician for further assistance.