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lissalou's avatar

Recessed lighting issue?

Asked by lissalou (12points) August 20th, 2010

Yesterday afternoon I was in my kitchen. I have a dimmer switch that goes up and down. I have five recessed lights. I turned them on. Three minutes later they all went out so i thought the power went out. But I looked at the microwave and stove and the clocks were on. The tv was on in the family room and my son was on the computer upstairs so there was no powere issue. I walked over to the dimmer switch and turned it on and the lights came back on. I was freaked out because I cannot remember if the switch was in the off or on position when I flipped them back on. When the dimmer switch is in the halfway position it does buzz, and I did notice that one bulb seems to be burning out. It just scared me because I thought my God did I have a stroke or seizure or something like that. Is this most likely some electrical probloem. I hope this can be solved to put my worries to rest.

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8 Answers

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

Are you using compact fluorescent bulbs in those fixtures? Dimmer switches won’t work right with those. They’ll stay off until you turn the switch up to a certain point, then come full on. They might have gone off because you had the switch barely above that minimum, then something bumped it to bring it just below that threshold. No damage done. If you want the dimmer function back, you have to return to the old energy-wasting incandescents. I’m not sure if LEDs will dim or not.

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RocketGuy's avatar

Not only is @stranger correct, but if you have CFL on the dimmer circuit, they will overheat when you try to dim them. Please check before anyone else tries dimming.

lissalou's avatar

Some, not all of the bulbs are those twisty energy saving ones. I only had it on for three minutes before they went out. Nothing would have bumped it as I was the only one in the kitchen. I have had them on all day today and nothing has happened…they have not gone out. Just really freaked out.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

@lissalou If you are using CF lamps on a dimmer controlled circuit, you should set the dimmer to maximum and leave it there. Long term, you should replace the dimmer switches with standard ones. This will eliminate the overheating hazard. The dimmer switch may be malfunctioning from previous overheating.

RocketGuy's avatar

Looks like @stanger had looked into the CFL-dimmer issue before. We renovated our house, and building code required us to have dimmer switches or expensive CFL units everywhere. We chose the cheaper route, so then had to get a dozen dimmable CFL’s for them.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

@RocketGuy We retrofitted LEDs everywhere. Costly, but long-term economical.

lissalou's avatar

Thanks. I noticed that when I had it at a lower setting today it was buzzing and causing a red line and bussing to appear on my lcd tv in the other room. Is it strange that this just happened once? I have left them on today to see if it would do it again and nothing happened.

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