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Each type of lighting source (load types) has individual characteristics, which require special types of dimmers. It is important to use a dimmer that is designed, tested, and UL listed for your specific lighting source/load type:
During normal operation, dimmers get warm to the touch. Wallbox dimmer efficiency is typically around 99%. The other 1% is dissipated in the dimmer as heat. So, a 600 W load on a 600 W dimmer would produce around 6 watts of heat. This is approximately the heat generated from a small nightlight. Operating on its rated load, Lutron dimmers will stay below the UL limits of 140º F (60º C).
To help the dimmer dissipate the internal heat normal to operation, a typical dimmer is wider than a switch. Dimmers can be ganged together such that the space is the same as switches. A portion of the fins (heat sink) must be removed. The fins are grooved to make the removal of fins easy with a pair of pliers. The removal of fins reduces the wattage capacity (load) the dimmer can control.
The stated VA (volt-ampere) rating is the capacity of the dimmer that includes the magnetic transformer heat losses and the lamp load. A Lutron MLV dimmer UL listed for 1,000 VA can be loaded with a full 1,000 VA lamp load. A transformer dissipates up to 20% of the connected load as heat. Better transformers dissipate less than 10% as heat. Added together, the lamp load and the transformer loss determine the dimmer capacity required.
Electronic low-voltage transformers also dissipate some heat. These inefficiencies are small enough to be accounted for in the dimmer rating. A Lutron ELV dimmer UL listed for 600 W can be loaded with a full 600 W lamp load. If ganged with other dimmers, standard derating rules apply.