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Kevin
Kevin, Licensed Electrical Contractor
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 3338
Experience:  30 years Licensed Electrical Contractor in Illinois, Adjunct College Electrical Instructor, Former Electrical Inspector, Diploma: Digital Electronics, FCC Technician License
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I just had an electrician in my home install a new porch

Customer Question

I just had an electrician in my home install a new porch light, and wired it to connect to an existing porch light, so they both turn on with one switch. The switch also got changed from a regular flip switch to a dimmer switch. Now, after the electrician has left, when I put the dimmer on full bright, only ONE of the two lights is bright and fully on, while the other turns completely off. When I turn it down to LOW dim, both lights turn on and are dimly lit. I flipped the wires myself behind the switch and it does the same exact thing. I am using halogen light bulbs, when the dimmer switch says "only use incandescent". I don't know if something is wired incorrectly, if it's the bulbs, or the electrician messed something up? I believe I'm being charged for him to come back out, if this is something I can fix myself, I'd like to do so with some guidance. It's a 2-wire dimmer switch lighting up 2 back porch lights.
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Electrical
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Posted by JustAnswer at customer's request) Hello. I would like to request the following Expert Service(s) from you: Live Phone Call. Let me know if you need more information, or send me the service offer(s) so we can proceed.
Expert:  Kevin replied 11 months ago.

Hello and welcome to Just Answer. My name is ***** ***** I will be happy to assist you with your electrical question.

1) If the dimmer switch is rated for incandescent bulbs, have you tried installing incandescents and see if the bulbs function correctly?

2) Dimmer switches need to match the type of light bulb that is being used. Otherwise, they will not work correctly.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
I have not yet tried installing incandescent bulbs, I didn't know if that REALLY would effect the issue. I didn't know if the dimmer switch could handle two lights or not, or why one would get bright while the other goes completely out when put on full bright mode. They don't dim in sync.
Expert:  Kevin replied 11 months ago.

Thanks for the replies.

1) Dimmer switches are normally rated on the low end as 600 watts and they can also be rated for higher wattage. I suspect your 2 combined bulbs are no where near the 600 watt level.

2) Install some incandescents and see if the problem goes away.

3) Dimmer switches must always match the type of light bulbs being used. If not, the bulbs will not work correctly and the dimmer switch can heat up and sometimes make a humming noise if not compatible. In fact many dimmer switch manufacturers will have a listing of compatible bulbs that were tested by the switch manufacturer.

4) If the dimmer switch is installed in the same box as other dimmer switches, then the wattage rating gets de-rated due to the excessive heat dissipation within the wall switch box.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
OK - have you ever seen anything like this happen before? Is there anything else to look for besides just trying the different bulbs? It just seems so strange to me that one light will go to full power while the other just shuts off, but they both will turn on when at a low dim level. I don't understand why the electricity wouldn't distribute the same to each light, even if it is just the light bulb.
Expert:  Kevin replied 11 months ago.

Yes, I see this all the time.

There are numerous types of light bulbs available in the marketplace such as incandescents, CFL's, LED's, halogens, etc. The light bulb type must match the dimmer switch type, otherwise they will not work correctly. Very common problem with using the incorrect dimmer switch type.

Of course a loose wire splice can also cause similar problems due to a voltage drop.

Expert:  Kevin replied 11 months ago.

If the dimmer switch manufacturer has labeled that the switch is to only be used for incandescent bulbs, then halogens are not rated for that particular switch model. You would need a halogen rated dimmer switch.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
OK thank you, ***** ***** it. I will try the bulbs.
Expert:  Kevin replied 11 months ago.

Yes, try swapping out the bulbs to incandescents and see if they work correctly.

Also keep in mind, that any other type of bulb other than incandescent types come in 2 different flavors.....ie....... dimmable and non-dimmable. If using halogen bulbs, they need to be the dimmable type and the dimmer switch also has to be rated for halogen.

Expert:  Kevin replied 11 months ago.

If you have any additional questions, just let me know and I’ll be glad to answer them for you.

Otherwise, don’t forget to rate me before you log Off.

Thanks.............Kevin:)

Expert:  Kevin replied 11 months ago.

If you have any additional questions, just let me know and I’ll be glad to answer them for you.

Otherwise, don’t forget to rate me before you log Off.

Thanks..............Kevin:)

Expert:  Kevin replied 11 months ago.

If you have any additional questions, just let me know and I’ll be glad to answer them for you.

Otherwise, don’t forget to rate me before you log Off.

Thanks..............Kevin:)

Expert:  Kevin replied 11 months ago.

If you have any additional questions, just let me know and I’ll be glad to answer them for you.

Otherwise, don’t forget to rate me before you log Off.

Thanks..............Kevin:)

Expert:  Kevin replied 11 months ago.

If you have any additional questions, just let me know and I’ll be glad to answer them for you.

Otherwise, don’t forget to rate me before you log Off.

Thanks............Kevin:)

Expert:  Kevin replied 10 months ago.

If you have any additional questions, just let me know and I’ll be glad to answer them for you.

Otherwise, don’t forget to rate me before you log Off.

Thanks.............Kevin:)

Expert:  Kevin replied 10 months ago.

If you have any additional questions, just let me know and I’ll be glad to answer them for you.

Otherwise, don’t forget to rate me before you log Off.

Thanks...............Kevin:)

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