Lighting is such an important feature in your home, one that can change the look and feel of your furnishings and even affect your mood. I’m sure most of you know how a dimmed light adds ambiance to a room but did you also know you can save 20% in energy by dimming an incandescant light a quarter of the way? It can also provide safety for your family and guests if dimmed at night in a hallway, bathroom or stairway.
Photo via flickr.com
My husband and I installed dimmers in almost every room of our home – the laundry room and the closets are the exceptions. It’s an easy task that takes only a few minutes of your time but rewards you with big results. Note: dimmer switches are for incandescent lights – they do not work on fluorescent lights and if you have a low voltage lighting fixture with its own transformer you will need a dimmer specific to low voltage.
Tools for the Task
- a flathead screwdriver
- wire cutter and wire stripper
- a circuit tester
- a dimmer switch kit (sold at most hardware stores) – styles include sliders (my personal favorite), pads, switch toggle with a slide on the side, and a rotary style (older and some stores no longer carry them)
Photo via flickr.com
1. Turn Off the Power – flip the switch on the circuit breaker to the “off” position.
2. Remove the Switch Plate- use the flathead screwdriver to remove the 2 screws holding the switch plate.
3. Safety First- even though you’ve turned off the circuit breaker, use the circuit tester to make sure the switch is not receiving power.
4. Remove the Old Light Switch – remove the screws holding the switch to the wall box and then disconnect the wires on the switch- either unscrew the wires or press down on the release button if the switch has push-in connectors.
5. Connect the Wires to the Dimmer Switch - make sure you have about 3/8″ exposed wire for each connection. Match the black wires on the back of the new dimmer switch to the ends of each of the black wires in the wall box and twist a wire connector over the ends of each pair of wires, making certain no bare wire remains exposed. Now match the ends ground wire (usually a bare copper wire or a green covered wire) to the green wire on the back of the dimmer switch mechanism and twist on a wire connector cap to hold all the wires together.
6. Install the Dimmer Switch in the Wall Box -make sure the “on” side of the switch is up and place the switch in the wall box and secure with screws.
7. Attach the Switch Plate.
8. Turn the Power on – flip the switch at the breaker box to the “on” position and enoy your new dimmer.
See for Yourself How Easy it is:
Basically all dimmers connect in the same manner – but be sure to read the information included with the dimmer you purchase. The video below provides good and applicable instructions but it shows the older rotary style dimmer - some stores no longer carry this style as they tend to increase heat and do not save you any money.
If you’d like to compare the video above to one demonstrating a slider version dimmer switch visit http://video.about.com/interiordec/Install-a-Dimmer-Switch.htm.
Give Dimmers a Try
An inexpensive and easy to install dimmer switch allows you to control your lighting, making a big visual impact on most any room in your house, while saving energy and money. Do you already use dimmers? If not, give it a try – and let me know how it goes for you. Post a message by clicking the Comment link below the ads or send an email to email@example.com.