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Hot Light Switch electrical problem
Hot Light Switch electrical problem

Why Is My Light Switch Hot?

John Turpin is our resident home service repair expert here at Service Direct. He’s got the knowledge and experience to help homeowners like you make sense of most home repair issues. And with Service Direct, we connect you with top-tier service professionals to help with any repairs needed.

Don’t Panic if You Find Your Light Switch Is Hot

So, you tried to turn on the switch to light up the room but stopped because it felt hot to the touch. Now you’re wondering, “Why is my wall light switch hot?” It shouldn’t be hot. But if it is, there’s a high chance something’s wrong with your electrical system.

A hot light switch, especially a traditional one, can be risky. As soon as you notice it’s hot, you must take immediate action before it becomes a safety hazard. This makes it important to know how to identify light switch problems and the possible causes of a hot light switch.

With that said, this blog explores the various possible reasons why your traditional or dimmer light switch gets hot. Read on to learn about the most common causes of a hot light switch and how to address the problem.

Hot Burnt Out Light Switch
This article discusses useful information about why your light switch is getting hot.

Common Causes of a Hot Light Switch

If you’ve noticed that your light switch feels hot and you’re wondering if it’s a cause of concern, we can help. Below are the most common reasons why your light switch feels hot and what to do about it.

Overloaded Circuit

One of the common reasons why a light switch is hot or warm to the touch is an overloaded circuit. It happens when you connect too many electrical devices to the same circuit. This causes the wiring to become overloaded, generating excess heat that transfers to the light switch. As a result, the light switch feels hot to the touch.

If you think you have an overloaded circuit and it’s causing your light switch to feel hot, you should immediately turn off the circuit breaker. Once the breaker is off, unplug any devices connected to the circuit. Your circuit will need some rewiring to handle the load of your electrical appliances, which a licensed electrician can help you with.

Dimmer Switches

Dimmer switches might also be why you have a hot light switch. They are designed to reduce the electricity flowing through the circuit to the light bulb. But as the switch regulates the current, it can also generate heat. It shouldn’t be a problem if the switch can handle the dimmer’s load. But if not, it can overheat and become a fire hazard.

If your dimmer switch is the cause of your hot light switch, you will have to replace it. Turn off the power and swap the switch with one designed for use with a dimmer. If you’re unsure what this means or how to do this, you can enlist the assistance of a licensed electrician.

Defective Switch

One of the most common causes of a hot light switch is simply because it’s defective. Over time, the switch’s internal components can wear out or become damaged. This often results in the switch malfunctioning and generating heat.

If this is why your switch feels hot to the touch, you’ll need to replace it with a new one. Before you install a new switch, be sure to check the manufacturer’s instructions and safety instructions. Or, you can ask a professional electrician to replace it for you.

Our resident home repair guru, John Turpin, has provided a list of common reasons why your light switch feels hot to the touch and useful DIY tips to fix it.

Poor Insulation

You’re asking, “Why is my light switch hot to the touch?” Poor insulation could be one of the reasons why. A light switch in an area exposed to high temperatures, such as in a hot attic or near a heat source, may get hot because the place isn’t properly insulated.

If this is the case with you, the switch isn’t necessarily a cause for concern. However, you may want to consider improving the insulation in the area to reduce heat exposure.

Electrical Short

An electrical short occurs when the electrical current in a circuit is diverted or interrupted from its intended path. It is one of the possible reasons why you have a hot light switch, as it causes the switch to heat up and even possibly start a fire.

Loose Connection

Another potential cause of a hot light switch is a loose connection. Over time, the wires inside the switch may loosen. When that happens, the wires may end up in contact with the metal casing and cause the switch to heat up. Besides making the light switch feel hot, a loose connection can also increase the risk of an electrical fire.

If you suspect you have a loose connection, turn off the power to the switch and inspect the wiring. A loose connection will have to be tightened or maybe even rewired. If you are uncomfortable or not confident with this, we suggest calling an electrician to diagnose and repair the problem.

Loose Wiring Causing Light Switch Issues
Loose connections can cause electric shorts and hot light switches

What to Do If Light Switch Is Hot

If you notice that your light switch is warm to touch, take immediate action to address the problem. Follow the steps below to fix a hot light switch and prevent safety hazards, such as fire, from occurring:

1. Turn Off the Power

The first step is to turn off the power of the circuit that the switch is connected to. You can do this by flipping the circuit breaker or removing the fuse that controls the circuit.

2. Investigate the Cause

Once the power is turned off, inspect the switch and its surroundings to identify the cause of the heat. Look for signs of overloading, loose connection, or other causes of a hot light switch.

3. Take Appropriate Action

Depending on the cause of the heat, you may need to take different actions. You can check the above reasons for a hot light switch and the recommended solutions. But if you want a safe, efficient, and convenient repair, you can contact a licensed electrician.

4. Test the Switch

Once the issue is addressed, you can turn the power back on and test if the switch is still hot. If it’s still hot, another problem might need to be addressed. For this, it’s best to contact a licensed electrician.

Fixing Faulty Hot Light Switch
What to do when you notice your light switches’ gettin hot.

Hot Electrical Switch FAQs

Is it normal for a light switch to get hot?

No, it’s not normal for a light switch to get hot. If you notice your light switch is hot to the touch, you should investigate the cause and take appropriate action to address the problem. Otherwise, it might cause a fire and other safety hazards.

Can I fix a hot light switch myself, or should I call a professional electrician?

The answer to this question depends on the cause of the heat and your level of electrical expertise. If you’re uncomfortable diagnosing and repairing electrical issues yourself, it’s always best to call a licensed electrician for assistance. However, most hot light switch issues are simple enough to fix if you have considerable electrical knowledge.

Should I continue using a hot light switch?

No, it’s not safe to continue using a hot light switch. Turn off the power to the circuit and investigate the cause of the heat. Once you find the culprit, take appropriate action to address the problem. Or, you can call a licensed electrician to repair the issue and possibly check your entire electrical system.

Can a hot light switch be a sign of a larger electrical problem?

Yes, a hot light switch can indicate a larger electrical problem, such as damaged wiring, overloaded circuits, or faulty electrical devices. It would be best to have your electrical system inspected regularly by a licensed electrician to prevent a hot light switch. A professional electrician can identify and address any potential issues before they can pose a danger to you and your home.

Hire a Local Electrical Pro

Electrical shorts are usually caused by faulty electrical devices or damaged wiring. This makes it crucial to have an electrician inspect your electrical system by an expert as soon as you notice that it’s the cause of your electrical problems.

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