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Old 07-20-2017, 08:12 AM  
miker1977
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Default couple questions about wiring

Hi all,

Electrical newbie here. I have a question about dimmer switches. Recently, two dimmer switches malfunctioned within a month of each other. Would they have malfunctioned because they were wired wrong? I just replaced them today and the new ones seem to be working fine. The old ones didn't have any ground wires. They new switches have ground wires and I attached the switch ground wires to the bare copper ground wires in the electrical box. I hope I installed them correctly.

Could the dimmers have burnt out because I'm using the wrong bulbs? It just seems strange that both dimmers malfunctioned almost at the same time.

I bought the house last year. My electrical bills are way too high. Way higher than my last home. I have all the same stuff running so it seems strange that the bill is 3 or 4 times as high.

The home was bank owned, a repo. I'm wondering if the previous owners did something to the wiring and thats making the bills higher.

I have one outlet that doesn't work. I haven't gotten around to looking into it.

The previous owner did remove the boilers expansion tank when they left. I had to buy a new one to get the heat working. Thats why I'm wondering if they messed with the wiring also.

When I bought the house, one lamp would dim periodically. I think that may have been because the home's main ground wire from the panel wasn't attached to anything. We reconnected it. I think that stopped the lamp from dimming.

I'm probably going to get an electrician to look the house over. Was just wondering if anyone could provide two cents. I don't want to sound like dumb when I talk to an electrician.

Thank you all in advance


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Old 07-20-2017, 08:49 AM  
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Your rates are based upon what the utility charges per kilowatt hour, and can vary widely. You can ask the electrician to conduct a load test.

The operation of dimmers can be specific to the lamping of the light fixture.


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Old 07-20-2017, 05:18 PM  
miker1977
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Turns out I wired the new dimmer switches incorrectly. The right one only works when the left is on. I'll have to figure this out tomorrow
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Old 07-20-2017, 05:32 PM  
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It is that black wire.
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Old 07-20-2017, 11:57 PM  
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If you moved to a new city, it could be that the rates are much higher at your new property. But it is also possible that you have electrical issues. Did you have a home inspector write up a report on your new home before you purchased it? Did he give you a report? It is probably best that you get an electrician into check your whole system, if you have doubts.
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Old 07-21-2017, 12:18 AM  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by miker1977 View Post
Turns out I wired the new dimmer switches incorrectly. The right one only works when the left is on. I'll have to figure this out tomorrow
Those are pretty simple dimmers, but you'll need to determine the hot pair.

Additionally, the age and efficiency of the appliances can have an effect.
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Old 07-21-2017, 05:09 AM  
afjes_2016
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Quote:
Originally Posted by miker1977 View Post
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Could the dimmers have burnt out because I'm using the wrong bulbs? It just seems strange that both dimmers malfunctioned almost at the same time....
Just a heads up Miker1977, something that many people do not know is how a dimmer switch dissipates heat and why it has to.

If you look at a new dimmer switch you will notice on both sides (left and right) of the switch housing there are "fins". These fins are "heat sink" fins which help dissipate the energy not being used as the lights/device being controlled is dimmed more and more. Think of the fins as a radiator for a car. The radiator provides more surface area for the water to circulate to help cool the water faster. The fins do the same thing basically, fins provide a larger surface area to help reduce the heat.

The heat sink fins are needed to help keep the dimmer switch cooler when being dimmed all the way. The energy needs to go somewhere and the fins is where it goes to help keep the switch cooler.

What happens many times is that people are not aware of their "fins" function and they tend to snap them off to help the dimmers fit side by side better in the device box that they are being mounted into. But if you look closely at the fins you will usually see marking of wattage. The more fins you break off the less wattage the dimmer can handle.

I noticed from the picture of the two dimmers that there are no fins. Thus less wattage allowed to pass through the switch safely.

If this were the case with the older dimmers where the previous homeowner installed them at the same time and broke off all the fins not knowing what that could cause and you may have been using high wattage (than rated with all or some of the fins off the switch) this could cause the dimmers to fail much quicker and need replaced.

Please take a look HERE, (scroll down and pay special attention to the headings:Heat Dissipation and Ganging & Derating) it will explain how the heat is dissipated thru the dimmer switch etc.

I would advise that you read the directions for the dimmer switches carefully and determine what type bulbs you will be using and their max energy consumption needs; then determine if fins need to be removed or if the total wattage of the bulbs you are using is exceeding the rating for the dimmer switches.

I believe the standard watt max rating on a dimmer switch is 600 watts. You can buy ones of 1,000 watt ratings but they are much more expensive.
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If at any time you do not feel confident enough to perform a trouble shooting method that I suggest or feel you may not have the experience or comfort level to do so please ask questions before proceeding.
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Old 07-21-2017, 07:27 PM  
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Quote:
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Turns out I wired the new dimmer switches incorrectly. The right one only works when the left is on. I'll have to figure this out tomorrow
I'm not sure from the picture if right/left is based on the picture or the mounted position. Assuming its the picture the issue is you don't have the hot tied into the second switch. What I mean is you have the "Red" wired as if it was hot when it should be the "Blue" Just swap those wires and it should work. (otherwise switch "Red" with "Green")



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