Several recessed lights on one switch

I’ve got a kitchen where there are several (six or eight, I believe) recessed can lights in the ceiling, all controlled from one switch. Rather than spend a ton of money getting the wide and individually-controlled light bulbs, I was hoping that I could simply replace the switch that turns on all of them.

I’m worried, though, about the current through the switch. I don’t know if having that many loads (which are already on one normal switch) would work with a z-wave/zigbee switch.

Any suggestions on how I can verify this before I purchase?

Every switch has it in the specifications. here is the GE dimmer

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I did that without any issues using a GE switch that controls 6 bulbs. It all depends on the load of the bulbs. I believe the switch tells you how many watts it can handle. I’m running 6 (65W) incandescents on my GE switch without any issues.

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Are they LED, CFL, or Incandescent? I think my GE/Jasco switches are rated to 500W (or maybe 300. . . can’t remember) with all the tabs on. If they were CFL or LED I wouldn’t think you’d have an issue but if Incandescent that would be on the edge. Looks like they are on sale to boot. I have gotten the Linear as well and they have been good too.

One other thought. . .do you have a neutral wire? That’s required.

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The maximum load will be listed differently for incandescent and LED. Make sure you check the LED specification if they will be LED bulbs. While it’s true the LED bulbs have a much lower operating current than incandescent, there’s still the issue of “current inrush” which happens when the bulbs are first turned on. This value is much higher than the operating current, and the switch has to be able to handle the inrush. This is why you will see that the specification for LEDs is set separately.

I am using all GE switches.

While I have switched most of the house to LEDs, I still have two chandeliers and one bathroom still on incandescents. The chandeliers each have 8 x 60w bulbs so 480w total for each fixture. One is controlled from a dimmer in a single gang box and the other from a dimmer in a dual-gang box and thus I clipped one side of the heat sink wings on that one. The latter is still in spec. Both switches, regardless, do get very warm after a while but don’t be alarmed.

In the bathroom there are 12 x 40w and again, a dimmer clipped to fit a dual-gang box. No problems.

If you’re LED you’re generally okay anyway.

Huh, didn’t know about the spike when turning on. What’s that listed as?

It’s just covered by the specification about the maximum allowed for the switch. But that’s why there will be two different numbers, one for incandescents and one for LEDs, and the one for the LEDs will be much lower.

It’s lower because the bulbs are selected on the basis of operating draw, but the switch manufacturer is allowing for the inrush current.

For example, this is from the manual for the GE 12724:

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

Notice how the max load for incandescents is four times higher than the max load for LEDs. That’s to allow for the inrush current.

You can always write to the device manufacturer and ask what the max load of LEDs would be.

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I was right on the limit of my GE switch with our basement can lights after installing BR40 incandescents. I had to remove a few of them until I can find some lower wattage bulbs. Anyone know where to get cheap lower wattage incandescent BR40 bulbs? I’m sick of dealing with LED bulb issues.

Huh. . .never even noticed that. Thanks for the info, good to know. Fortunately I am not violating any of the GE switch limitations. I can’t seem to find the Linear WD500Z-1 CFL/LED limits but so far not an issue. Max I have is 5 BR30 LEDs on one switch so I’m likely well under what ever the limit is.Do you know which category halogen lights fall under? Actually, I take back that I am not violating any of the limits. I do have a setup with 11 of those under the counter halogen lights (think max 20 or 25 a piece) on a GE switch but assumed they fell under the 500W limit but maybe not. Also, in terms of the gang, does that refer to the number of tabs that ripped off?

Halogens are a linear resistive load just like incandescents, so normally they would fall under the incandescent spec. So incandescents and Halogens in one group, CFL and LED’s in the other.


As for the gang specification, yes, they are assuming that you have to remove the heat sink tabs to get the switch to fit. It’s the removal of the tabs that lowers the carrying capacity of the switch.

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From Cree

The CR6™ and LR24™ products are designed to dim down to 5% of full brightness. Due to the repetitive peak currents generated by the inrush current of LED lighing fixtures, Cree products should be treated as a 75 watt load when sizing dimmers.

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Some a bit beyond my understanding but interesting read. Made me realize why when I mix led bulbs I get different dimming responses.

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Just to be clear…

This is a single gang switch box:

this is a double gang switch box:

This is a triple gang switch box:

The manufacturers assume that you will have to remove all of the heat sink tabs on one side of the switch to get two switches to fit into a double gang box.

And that you would have to remove all of the heat sink tabs on both sides of the switch to get three switches to fit into a triple gang box.

Different manufacturers have different numbers of tabs on each side, it’s not the number of tabs that matters. It’s the fact that you removed all of one side or all of both sides.

For clarity, you only have to remove the tabs on both sides for the center switch in a triple gang.

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I have the GE switches in double, triple and quad boxes, had to remove the tabs on all the switches for everything to fit properly.

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I know most of your topic was about load, but if you want to set color on flipping on the switch or a specific white, you will have to do some extra CoRE steps to set the color/white/dim etc once the switch is turned back on. Am I thinking correctly?

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