X10 Wall Light Heating Up


Active Member
I just installed six (6) 65W highhats in my basement. There is already one (1) 60W ceiling light as well. These are all connected to an X-10 Decora Dimmer Light Switch (the standard ~$10 one).

I noticed that the switch is heating up. Should I be upgrading my switch? I still want dimming ability.

Aren't these capable of handling 600W?

Thanks in advance.


The standard X10 decora dimmers are rated up to 500W. It also depends on the type of bulbs you are running. They do have a tendency to run warm. A dimmer switch controlling 400 watts of lighting will dissipate about four watts at the wall switch. This dissipation is what makes a wall switch warm to the touch. It is completely safe and within UL specifications.

If it's getting real hot, I would consider moving to a better switch that will handle larger loads. Several companies offer X10 dimmers in 600W and 1000W variations.
I believe they are rated at 500W. Sounds like you are close to the limit, I would personally never trust those cheap switches with such a big load.
I have to respectfully disagree. I routinely switch six 65 watt canned lights with my cheapo X-10 wall switch in our kitchen (pictured below, switch all the way to the right is the kitchen one). It is the most used switch in the house. Been running fine for two years (as all of my cheap X-10 switches have). It is "warm" to the touch but not "hot".

These WS12A's are rated for 500 watts maximum.

Sure, I don't like the feel of them, but I got them at a huge sale before I moved in this home over two years ago (I believe it was under five bucks a switch) and I purchased enough to do my entire home (the only way I could have afforded to automate my lights at this time).


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Thanks guys. Right now this is the only switch that I have with this many lights attached to it. I will, however, be iinstalling more high hats in my living room soon and am afraid that the wife will begin to get nervous when she feels the warmth of the switch. I may just give Martin a call and order some higher rated switches.


I had 4 - 120W can lights on a Leviton 500W switch, it got pretty warm, but not HOT. I finally switched to a Ligholier 1000W with the same lights. It still is warm, maybe not as much as the Leviton, but still warm.

One thing to also keep in mind is the de-rating of switches. When some switches are in a multi-gang box, they can't dissapate heat as well. Not sure about the de-rating specs on those WS12 switches but you should keep that in mind. Some of the better switches don't need to be de-rated because they have better heatsinks that will allow the heat to escape.
Another thing to keep in mind is that the higher rated switches will probably get just as hot. They are rated higher because 1) they are designed to dissipate the heat better, and 2) they are designed to take the heat better.

A rule of thumb we use in industrial applications is that if you can keep your hand on it, it's not too hot. :-o