GE Dimmer switch VERY HOT to the touch - lights shut off

Okay - so I have several GE dimmer switches throughout my basement-- I’m about 2 months into the project. Lately, I’ve noticed the main lights (can lights-- using traditional incandescent bulbs for now) would flicker a bit when I turned them on (full brightness). Tonight, as I was working in this main room, the lights simply shut off. I went over to the switch to investigate and found the metal surrounding the switch (no switch plate installed yet) was BURNING hot to the touch.

Is this a bad switch? Anyone run into this?

Thank you!

I have not seen this but I’d replace it just on your description. No need to test any fire detector automation.

To be precise, mine did get warm when I had incandescents, but not hot. I put in LED’s, haven’t noticed but haven’t checked much either.

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How many lights and what is the wattage of each? Those dimmers can’t handle more than 600 watts or so if I remember right. Go over that limit and it will get very hot and I think they have a thermal overload switch.


Hmmm…that could be it. This switch is powering 10-12 can lights with 60 watt bulbs in each.

Would switching to LEDs help at this point since that would drastically lower the wattage?

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Yes! Some of these are only 500 watts (can’t remember GE). I was surprised to see this myself. Just another reason to love LED’s. Heat = Waste when you don’t intend it. :smile:


Yeah, I’m totally with you. I’m really dragging my feet on choosing LEDs that dim – I really love the soft white of incandescent and haven’t found a suitable replacement yet in LED…ugh.

There are some awesome tunable bulbs, but they are super expensive. I say try a bunch, with a good return policy. Everyone has different tastes in white I’ve found.

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Thanks Brian. What’s your favorite?

I love these even though they are flat/weird in open fixtures: Philips Slim Style They produce great light.

I hear/read good things on this community about these ones, but they are too expensive for my taste, besides I don’t like smart bulbs, because my users (family) outsmart smart bulbs with dumb switches: Osram White Tunable

Also Cree are mentioned a lot here, and I have some old ones in one fixture, but they flicker a bit. I think it’s because of the GE dimmer though, even though I have a tiny resistive incandescent in one of the 10 sockets. It could be their age.

I’ve also had reasonable luck at Ikea of all places. They vary, but are generally pretty “yellow/warm”.

In the end, today’s LED’s are getting a lot warmer (color), and I would only suggest that you shoot for middle of the road in pricing and you’ll find nice warm light there. Only the cheapest these days are hospital “blue”.

Good luck!


Since you’re using a smart switch, you can use dumb LEDs, just dimmable ones.

I would look at Crees, they’re very well engineered at a good price. (They also make smart bulbs, but unless you have a specific use case requiring them, the dumb LEDs will be fine. )

But these days any dimmable LED of a good brand should be fine.

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I don’t know if you’re using indoor floods, but these Philips units have the exact color warmth you are looking for, are dimmable, and work great! Don’t confuse these with Philips model #452326, which are packaged almost identically, but a much cooler 5500K.

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I was right there with you… and was dragging my feet as I love soft white and hate white lights. Ended up with these and am very happy:

Stay in the 2500/2700K range and you should be happy.

That’s what I use, Love them.

I have found that this dimmable Cree LED is almost identical in color to an incandescent light when I did a side by side test.
I have also found that the Philips SlimStyle LEDs buzzed quite loudly when used with the GE dimmer and the Cree did not but you can get them for $1.97 each at Home Depot right now. I believe it is in store only though.

I was also hesitant to switch to LED’s but finally chose Cree (from HD). They do provide a more natural “sun-like” light in my living room. I’m currently using ten and have noticed my energy bill is lower.

I use the Cree connected bulbs, and while they aren’t tunable, they fall right in the middle between Cold and Warm light. I use 6 of them in my master bathroom, and 2 in the master bedroom for the night stand lights. There is a little lag with them but i attribute that to me having them connected to my Hue bridge rather than smart things hub (for reliability issues i had with v1 hub).