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When are dimmer switches not allowed to be used?

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Dimmers are not allowed to control switched receptacles, according to the International Residential Code (IRC 4001.12). The code does not state this directly, but says “general-use dimmer switches shall be used only to control permanently installed incandescent luminaires (lighting fixtures) except where listed for the control of other loads and installed accordingly."

    The problem with using an ordinary dimmer for a receptacle is that any type of appliance or lumaire can be plugged into it. If the dimmer switch is not rated for the load, it can overheat, short, and possibly start a fire. 

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Here’s links to a collection some of our other blog posts about ELECTRICAL SWITCHES:

• What is minimum code requirement for switched lighting in a house? 

How can I figure out what a mystery wall switch does? 

Are wall light switches required be "up" for "on" and "down" for "off”?

Can you use a light switch for a water heater disconnect? 

Why is there a wall switch next to the furnace or indoor unit of the air conditioner in the garage?

What is the switch on the wall with two pushbuttons? 

 What is a three-way switch?

 What are those strange looking wall switches in houses from the 1950s and 1960s? 

 • Are light switches required to be grounded? 

 Why does the bedroom have a light switch but there is no light in the ceiling?

• How does a three-way switch work?

• Which rooms in a house require switched lights per code?

• What is a three-way switch used for? 

• What is the average life expectancy of a wall switch?

 What is the red switch for in my mobile home? 

Does a home inspector test all the wall switches in a house? 

• When are dimmer switches not allowed to be used?

      Visit our ELECTRICAL WIRING page for other related blog posts on this subject, or go to the INDEX for a complete listing of all our articles. 

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