A light dimmer switch is a small, inexpensive piece of hardware that you can install in about a half an hour. It allows you to control the lighting in a room. Instead of flicking a switch to turn the light off and on, a light dimmer switch lets you turn a knob or control some other switch to darken and brighten a room. It’s a very easy to-it-yourself project that can make a big difference in the ambiance of a space. You have many choices when you go to purchase a light dimmer switch. Some are round knobs, others are sliders or touch panels. Which one you choose is just your preference. But there are a few things you need to be aware of to ensure you purchase the right type of light dimmer switch.
You might need a special type of light dimmer switch if you use a special type of bulb. For instance, certain low-voltage lights and halogen lights require special dimmers. Fluorescent lighting generally can’t be dimmed with a light dimmer switch at all.
If you’re replacing a single light switch, you’ll need what’s called a single-pole dimmer. If there are two switches that control the same lights, you’ll need a three-way light dimmer switch. Also, make sure the dimmer switch has the capacity to handle the total wattage of all the bulbs in the lights you’ll be wiring to the light dimmer switch.
You’ll want to check the light dimmer switch manufacturer’s instructions to be sure, but for the most part the instructions are the same from switch to switch.
* Of course, as with any job involving electricity, cut the power to the light switch.
* Remove the light switch faceplate with a screwdriver.
* Unscrew the switch and gently pull the switch out. Don’t put too much pressure on the wires or try to yank the switch free.
* Make sure the power’s still off by using a cheap voltage tester.
* Undo the wires from the old switch and then cut the bare wire off. Strip the wire almost half an inch. (If you find aluminum wiring, a gray wire as opposed to the orange of copper, call a professional.)
* The light dimmer switch you’re about to install may already be fully wired for your convenience. And the wires may already be stripped. If not, you merely need to screw the wires onto the dimmer as they were onto the switch. Once you stripped wire, you’ll want to twist the bare main wire around the wire from the wall. Use a wire nut to secure the wires. Connect each wire in a similar fashion.
* Wrap the wire junction and the wire nut in electric tape extending both below and above the nut.
* Carefully tuck everything back into he wall box. It can be a challenge at first, because a light dimmer switch is bigger, but it will fit in the box.
* Screw switch into place and replace the faceplate.
* Turn the power back on and test your new light dimmer switch.