GE Zwave Dimmer Switch 12724 overheating

(Kevin) #1

I have a 12724 in my basement and noticed it has gotten warm when on. Yesterday my wife noticed it was very hot after being on for a while, so now I am concerned about it being fire hazard… contacted Jasco support. Anyone else have hot/overheating dimmer switches?

Couple factors:

I have eight BR40 75W incandescent bulbs which meets the max rating of 600W for this dimmer switch. I removed a few bulbs for the moment, but will need to get them replaced. I don’t have good luck with CFL or LED bulbs. CFL buzz, turn on slow, or burn out way under there rated lifetime (and probably have excessive mercury from China). The dimmable LED’s I have either buzz or flicker (very annoying) and they are expensive. So… I bought these 8 incandescent bulbs for the basement: they are dimmable to very low levels (for movies), they fill the recessed can light fixture openings, and none of the other issues. Unfortunately there isn’t much selection as far as wattage for BR40, looks like 65W or 75W. Any recommendations? Maybe I can put regular incandescent A19 bulbs in but cover the cans somehow so it looks nicer???

Back to the over-heating, another possible issue is that we have Owens Corning “Basement Finishing System” walls (they are kind of like thick foam cubicle walls, supposed to be mold resistent, in the house when we bought it). Anyway, there is little to no air gap like in a normal 2x4 wood/drywall wall. This is probably holding in any heat from the switch. :frowning:

(I got a hair cut from Alexa) #2

Some LED models do buzz and some don’t…even among the same manufacturer. The power company was doing a demo at the home depot with a display of bulbs switches, dimmers, and a power meter. I asked the home depot guy if he could pull out some different bulbs to screw into the power company’s demo and I found a particular model of their cheap ecosmart bulbs that dimmed perfectly with a dimmer meant for incandescent bulbs. (other models from ecosmart matched your experience). So a solution with LED bulbs may still fix your problem. You just have to get the right one. If you’re interested, I can get the model # of the ones I use when I get home after work.

(Paul Haskins) #3

Probably in plastic box?? Single gang or multiple? Anything else with it and were the fins left on or off?

Take an actual temp. measurement - I’m not sure what the max. temp is, but I’m sure someone will know.

(Kevin) #4

It is single gang plastic box. Fins? I didn’t get a temperature reading last night but I can try tonight.

That would be great! Thanks.

(Convinced ST will never be unbroken…) #5

I have 6 of these in a vanity fixture controlled by a 12724 and they dim beautifully, with no buzzing.

(Paul Haskins) #6

Fins are the “break off” pieces along the edges. Many break off to fit the box, they work as a heat sink.
Often broke off needlessly.

Did not know if contractor installed or self installed.

(Kevin) #7

Self installed by me, I didn’t break off any fins (I don’t remember seeing them off hand). I used my cheapo non-contact thermometer last night and the dimmer was 92F… but I have removed three of the 8 bulbs. My wife also mentioned that when it was over-heating, the little blue LED was on at same time as the can lights which is odd… it is configured to show the blue LED only when switch is off. Also, the 8 can lights were full bright which usually means the dimmer isn’t dissipating heat like when the lights are dim.

I still plan to swap out the 8 75W BR40’s for something like 50W bulbs (probably have to go to A19’s in the big can openings.


Did the switch turn itself off? Most of these switches have an overheating protocol where they do turn themselves off. In fact, we sometimes see a question in the forums because someone says “my switch keeps turning itself off.”

I am concerned by the report that the LED was on when it was not supposed to. Combined with the overheating, it sounds to me like a defective device. That can happen.

If it’s still under warranty, I think I would just exchange it.

If the second switch has the same behavior, bring in an electrician to look at it.

(Will) #9

I thought my GE 12724 said they had a max rating of 500W. It may only be able to safely handle 500W’s. Linear (Nortek) makes a 1000W dimmer.

(josh) #10

Maximum Loads: 600W, 2-gang 500W or 3-gang 400W incandescent, 150W CFL/LED



If all the heat sink tabs are in place, it’s rated up to 600 W incandescent. If you break off any of the tabs, the rating goes down, which is what they’re referring to below because you have to break off the tabs to fit into the two gang box.

You may have looked at one for a two switch situation, that’s rated at 500.

Power: 120 VAC, 60 Hz.
Signal (Frequency): 908.42 MHz.
Maximum Loads: 600W, 2-gang 500W or 3-gang 400W incandescent, 150W CFL/LED Range: Up to 100 feet line of sight between the Wireless Controller and the closest Z-Wave receiver module.
Operating Temperature Range: 32-104° F (0-40° C)
For indoor use only.

(Will) #12

That’s what I get for going by memory. Still, I would recommend going up to the higher rated linear model, since this one appears to be straining.

(Kevin) #13

The dimmer did not turn itself off as far as I know.

Interesting read on the subject…

It suggests using:
-lower wattage bulbs
-metal wall plate to help dissipate the heat
-metal &/or larger electrical box

(Ben W) #14

Did removing the bulbs reduce the heat? You are probably right, its at its max operating range and there is no way for it to vent excess heat. I am assuming its a single gang box, maybe adding a 3 gang box with a single switch will give it enough air flow. You could probably test by removing the switch from the box, turn on and see if it gets as hot.

I am rocking the Costco Feit Leds across my house, think they were 4 for $12-15. No buzzing and dim down really low (at 2% looking at the bulb there is a wavy effect, but its not flickering in the room).


That specific article has a lot of interesting information in it, but it’s referring to Insteon switches. Insteon has two Communication paths, one using powerline and one wireless. It’s important to note that zwave and Zigbee switches only use wireless.

This matters because the more metal you have around the radio, the harder it is to get signal through.

So their suggestions about switching from a plastic back box to a metal one, and from a plastic front plate to a metal one, while helpful with heat management, are likely to kill the signal to/from A zwave switch. So those are not solutions you’d normally suggest for the GE switches. You might get the switch to run cooler, but you’d either significantly reduce the range or just lose a lot of control messages.

For the current use case, assuming it’s not just a defective switch, it would be better to look at reducing the load or increasing the rating of the switch used in that location.

(Kevin) #16

Great point - thanks!

(Justin H) #17

@N8XD, any chance we can get an update? I was at HD yesterday and surprised by the variety of bulbs. I’d love to know which have worked for you without buzzing.

(I got a hair cut from Alexa) #18

Hi Justin,

Sorry I’m running a bit behind in keeping my promises this week.
Here are the inexpensive LED bulbs from Home Depot that work with my dimmers.
I’ll be curious to know if they work for you too!


(I got a hair cut from Alexa) #19

These Instant on dimmable versions of the eco led lights were $8 when I got the first batch, $13 last week, and now only $5 (not on clearance). so I bought more to replace old bulbs with today.

(Greg) #20

I tried this bulb out to try to stop some flickering I’m getting with Cree LEDs. But the ecosmart bulb won’t dim as low as the cree.

Using my 12724 - The cree powers at 1% but I can’t get the ecosmart to power below 12% Are you using the the ecosmart in the 12724 Keith? If so can you dim 1%-11%?