GE Switches started clicking and turning on and off

Been several years now since I setup the condo and I seem to forget a lot these days. I have a set of overhead lights, that are setup as a 3 way. The switches would be GE. Not sure which switch is the main one and which is the secondary add on. Multi part question. So get up this morning and tell Alexa to turn on the “Table Lights”. Nothing… try again… nothing, then all of a sudden they start going on and off, on and off, on and off, and the switch on the wall is making a loud clicking sound. I tried turning the power off and back on. Still clicking sound and disco lights. I remove one of the switches, the one I believe to be the main one and install a new GE dimmer switch I had on hand. Turn power back on. Still getting this very loud clicking sound from the switch box. But no lights on and off. In case it matters, this is a 3 gang box with one other smart switch and one a dumb switch. So, any clue what is going on here? Been a couple of years since I did this and I cannot remember what to do. Oh, how do I tell which which is the Main one and which is the add on for the 3 way feature to work? Thanks

If they were working and suddenly arent. Its probably the switch itself.

Your ‘main’ switch if theyre both GE osnthr one with the LED on it and the one thats making the click noise. Theres an air gap switch (little pull out tab) at the bottom of the switch. Pull it out(you will need a sharp object to get the tab) to cut power tonthe switch, count to 10 and push it back in. If that doesnt stop it you can try same at the breaker for that circuit. But my gut tells me its a 12xxx series switch and has finally succumbed to the click of death. Youll probably need to replace it if a hard reset of the switch via circuit breaker doesn’t work…

Ok, the switch that was clicking is a GE ZW4003. These have no air gap. I have a new in the box GE z-wav plus dimmer model ZW3004 I just installed to replace the one clicking. Turn the power back on and this one starts clicking also. That seems weird. Any ideas?

You need to have the circuit checked. The clicking is because the switch thinks it’s overheating or getting power surges and it’s turning itself off.

There are three common reasons for that.

  1. you added a new device to the same circuit, something with a high draw, most typically a space heater, and as it goes on and off it’s causing power surges on the circuit which then is kicking off the safety features of the switch.

  2. The switch itself is going bad. This is unfortunately fairly common with GE switches. That’s what @nathancu is referring to as “the click of death.“ Unfortunately, there’s nothing you can do at that point: the switch itself is just bad. If it’s still in the warranty period, Get in touch with Jasco for a replacement. If it’s out of warranty, you just have to get a new switch.

  3. there really is a problem with the electrical circuit and the switch is right to keep turning itself off. This one is why you need to bring in an electrician to check the circuit.

Separately, if I understand how you’re describing the situation, you just replaced a binary on/off switch with a dimmer switch. That’s going to complicate all the diagnostics you can do without tools. But since you’re still hearing a clicking it’s pretty likely that the same issues are going on, you’re just not seeing the same symptoms because you switched to a dimmer. If that’s the case and replacing the switch didn’t help, I do think it’s time to bring in an electrician.

1 Like