Are there certain lights in or outside of your home that when turned on, cause you to cower and cover your eyes? A dimmer switch can make such lighting more versatile, creating a more comfortable home environment for you and your family by allowing you to fine-tune ‘the ambiance’ to your liking – and putting you back in control of when you need those sunglasses.

Lights Too Bright? Installing a Dimmer Switch is Easy

Installing a dimmer switch is easy, but like planning your landscape lighting, requires a little bit of forethought. Before ejecting your current light switches, do your homework. Not all bulbs can be dimmed, including many CFLs and LEDs – so be sure to check bulb boxes for specifications before purchasing. In addition, ceiling fans require special dimmer switches to prevent current fluctuations from damaging the motor. Shop carefully!

How to Install a Dimmer Switch

  • Gather Tools & Materials
    • Wire strippers
    • Screwdriver
    • Voltage detector
    • The correct dimmer switch for your application:
      Single or Three-Way (see below).
    • Flashlight (in case of insufficient light)

Installation Steps

      • Cut the Power
        Cut power at the breaker box (not the light switch). Then use a voltage detector to ensure power has been cut before touching any wires.
      • Remove the Old Switch
        Unscrew and remove the switch plate cover and then the switch. Loosen the wires (typically wrapped around connector screws) – or simply snip off the ends with wire strippers and remove the old switch, using wire strippers to remove ¾-inch of casing from the end for reconnection.
      • Check Dimmer Switch Instructions
        Always make sure you understand which part of the switch is top/bottom, and where the wires go before hooking things up.

        • Green: Ground or copper wire.
        • Black: Wires going to the dimmer (placed on either gold screw).

Know Your Installation Type:

        • Installation Steps for Standard/Single Pole Dimmer Switches
          (Light is Turned On/Off from Single Location)

          • Connect the green ground wire to a green or exposed copper wire in the wall box, twisting ends together with a wire connector nut.
          • Connect each dimmer wire (black) to the house wires seperately. These could be black, white with black markings, or red. Tighten the ends together with wire nut(s).
        • Installation for Three-Way Dimmers
          (Light Can Be Turned On/Off from Multiple Locations)

          • Remove ¾-inch casing from house wires with a wire stripper. Remove the twisted ends first when wires are bent.
          • Connect the green ground wire to a green or exposed copper wire in the wall box, twisting ends together with a wire connector nut.
          • For the dimmer wire (black) connect it to your tagged common wire, removing electrical tape as necessary.
          • For the 2 remaining ‘traveler wires,’ connect them separately to each remaining wire in the wall box.
      • Put Things Back Together
        After the wires are attached, install the switch back into the electrical box, followed by the switch cover plate.
      • Change Bulb(s)
        Remember, not all bulbs are compatible with dimmer switches, so you’ll likely have to swap out your old bulb before putting your new dimmer switch to use.
      • Restore Power
        Then have fun playing with your new dimmable light!

Smart Installation Safety Practices

    • Ensure safety by tripping the circuit breaker to the switch being replaced. (If you only turn the switch off, you run the risk of getting zapped.)
    • Always loop the wire around the screw, when possible, to avoid the wiring pulling loose over time. Loop the end into a ‘U,’ pinch the ends together, and tighten the screw.
    • Do not leave bare wires exposed. Trim ends and recap if necessary.

Let’s Install That Dimmer Switch!

☎️ (860) 343-1797

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