DIY Home Improvement: How to Install a Light Dimmer Switch

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Dimmer switches are a simple way to change the mood for a dinner party or avoid bright bedroom lights first thing in the morning. Being able to control the lighting in a room is even proven to make occupants more motivated and productive. Dimmer lights can save on electricity as well and extend the life of the bulb.

If you want to know how to install a light dimmer switch on your own, the process is simple and the materials inexpensive. With a few tools and a little bit of knowledge, you can avoid having to schedule and pay for a technician to do it for you.

Follow these steps and you will be enjoying the new ambiance a dimmer switch can bring to any room of your home.

Gather Supplies

First, gather the right tools and materials for the project. You may have many or all of them lying around the house. You will need:

  • Wire cutting pliers
  • A wire stripper
  • A screwdriver
  • Wire connectors
  • A basic voltage detector
  • A dimmer switch

You may want to pick up a dimmer switch cover if the one you purchased did not include one.

While most halogen and incandescent bulbs will work with dimmers, LEDs will not. But you can buy special LED dimmer bulbs designed specifically for this purpose, which can be up to 90 percent more energy-efficient than incandescent bulbs.

Note that, if you would like to place dimmer switches in multiple rooms in the house but still use existing LED bulbs, there is another solution. A potentiometer sensor is a device that limits the amount of electrical current flowing through it with the turn of a knob and can be installed as an alternative to a dimmer switch. They can provide a dimming effect to any bulb.

Cut the Power

At your breaker box, you will want to turn off the power to the outlet where you wish to install the new switch. An easy way to ensure you have selected the correct one is to turn on the light that the switch controls, and have someone watch as you try different breaker switches.

Next, remove the light switch cover and test for hot wires using the voltage detector. Check the screws attaching the switch to the mount. Then, use the screwdriver to remove the switch and check the exposed wires for current.

Replace the Switches

You can now remove the existing switch and replace it with the dimmer. Loosen the connector screws and remove the switch panel from the wire.

If your dimmer switch has wires already attached to it, use wire connectors to join them to the corresponding ones coming from the wall. The green wire on the dimmer is for grounding. Attach it to the copper wire coming from the wall or connect it to the metal wall mount box.

The dimmer should have two other wires or gold screws. Attach these to the remaining wires (usually with black casing) coming from the wall.

If necessary, use the wire stripper to peel back the casing so that about a half-inch of wire is visible. Also, if you are attaching the wall wires directly to the dimmer, be sure to wrap them securely around the screws before tightening them.

Finally, mount the dimmer switch to the wall mount box. Then do the same for the switch cover.

Now You Know How to Install a Light Dimmer Switch

Once your dimmer switch is secure in the wall, you can flip the breaker back on and enjoy your new lighting accessory.

Learning how to install a light dimmer switch will prove to be a useful talent anytime you want to alter the lighting in a room. It is a simple way to have more control over your home’s lighting while saving on your electric bill.