I have two dimmers and a switch in a three gang box. The tabs on the sides of the dimmers are overlapping as usual and I would like to snap them off. Can this be done or are they valuable in some respect? I really want the three pieces to lay down nicely in the box and they're just not playing nice.
They are there as part of the heatsink. If you derate the dimmer a bit (i.e. if it's a 600 watt dimmer, load it no more than 400) you should be fine. Usually the instruction sheet that comes with them will tell you this, too. You could also just put the switch in the middle if it's not a 'Futura' style switch.
The tabs are heatsinks to allow heat dissipassion, so they serve a purpose. I say don't snap the whole tab off but just cut it enough (with dremel?) so they don't overlap.
The tabs are usually scored at the correct place to break them off - this is done so multiple devices can fit side by side - but snapping off the tabs lowers the rating of the device - the install sheet should tell you how much.
Thanks guys, I thought maybe heat would play a role there. I'll dig up rating info and/or just move the switch to the middle as addressed above. Maybe that's the easiest. Side note, I did notice a dimmer and fan switch that was installed by the builder and it had tabs snapped off in one side. So, it still had tabs on the outside for heat.
If it's a 600 for example, it derates to 500 with one side off or 400 with 2 sides off. Even dimmers without tabs derate in the presence of other dimmers in the same box as the heat transfers regardless.
^^ Yes I saw this in the tabs the other day. It defeated to 400W I think in a three gang box. There's only 4 50W halogens on it so I think it's fine. I'm going to try to swap the order first before taking tabs off.