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Light Dimmers and Ground Fault Interrupter’s (GFI’s)


Swartz Electric - Dimmer Switch

You might notice that sometimes a dimmer seems warm when you touch it. The good news is, THIS IS NORMAL. Dimmers naturally get warm when they are in use, especially if there is more than one dimmer in the same location. However, if a dimmer is REALLY warm or hot to the touch, this indicates a safety problem, and you should call an electrician who is knowledgeable about lighting issues.

Dimmer Warning – Two things to be careful about with dimmers:

Swartz Electric - Dimmer Dial1. Never connect a regular dimmer to low-voltage lights, paddle fans, or any kind or motor. These devices require special dimmers.
2. Never exceed the recommended wattage of the dimmer. Regular dimmers are rated for a maximum of 600 Watts. This is equal to 10 sixty Watt light bulbs, or 6 one hundred Watt bulbs.
NOTE: You can also buy higher-wattage dimmers for connecting more than 600 Watts to one dimmer.

Ground Fault Interrupter’s (GFI)

Swartz Electric - Ground Fault Interrupter

According to the National Electrical Code, in all kitchens, bathrooms, garages, or any area in which water may be present, instead of regular receptacles (outlets), GFI receptacles should be used. These are for your safety. The idea of a GFI receptacle is that if there is the slightest electrical problem, the GFI immediately shuts off the power. This is an important safety feature.

When you lose power to a receptacle in a kitchen, bathroom, garage, or outdoor area, check to see if it’s a GFI receptacle. If it is, press the “TEST” button, then press the “RESET” button. If the GFI shuts off power repeatedly, plug in a different appliance to test whether the problem is the first appliance or the GFI itself. If the GFI is defective, call a good electrician.

Hint: You may have a receptacle that has lost power in a kitchen, bathroom, garage, or outdoor area but it’s not a GFI. It may be “protected” by a GFI that has tripped off somewhere else. You can check for this situation by making sure that all the GFIs in your kitchen, bathroom, garage, and outdoor areas are working properly.

More Technical Data About GFIs

A GFI receptacle (also called a GFCI receptacle) can measure differences in power as small as 3ma (which is a very small amount). When it detects more power coming in from the “hot” side than going out from the neutral side, it will shut off. This is a good thing because that extra electricity has to go somewhere, and it’s important to protect you and your family from it.

All GFI receptacles should be tested monthly. This is done by pressing the “TEST” button. If pressing the “TEST” button does not make the button labeled “RESET” pop out, then call an electrician. If the “RESET” button does pop out, the outlet is OK. Press the “RESET” button back in to reset the outlet.

Electrical Light Dimmers and GFIs was last modified: February 20th, 2013 by Webmaster