Lighting Your Home: Create Better Lighting Configurations with Dimmer Switches
Lighting your home involves both practical and aesthetic choices. You want energy-efficient lighting that serves the functional needs of your space, but you also want lighting that’s in harmony with your home’s design needs, such as the need to create a mood, or to highlight decorative or architectural elements of your home. Dimmer switches give you the option to adjust the lighting in your home as needed. It’s easy to create better lighting configurations with dimmer switches.
Dimmer switches allow you to control the amount of light for any given occasion. Use them to highlight artwork, to brighten a plain wall, or to illuminate architectural elements. Dimmer switches extend the life of your light bulbs, and many allow you to pre-set the lighting level, which can help you save on your household’s overall electric bills.
Types of Dimmer Switches
Dimmer switches come in a variety of styles. The paddle switch with slider gives you the ability to pre-set the light level. Multi-location switches enable you to control the lighting in a number of locations throughout your home on one switch. Remote dimmers allow you to change your lighting without ever leaving your seat by using a programmable remote control.
How to Install Dimmer Switches
Lighting your home is simple with dimmer switches. To install a single pole dimmer switch that controls a single lighting fixture, follow these simple instructions. You will need the mounting hardware that came packaged with your dimmer, a Phillip’s-head screwdriver, a flat-head screwdriver, pliers, wire cutters, wire strippers, and electrical tape.
Step 1: Remove the Existing Switch Plate
Remove the wall plate that came attached to your dimmer by holding the front part of the plate and separating it from the dimmer and the back plate. Attach the back plate to your dimmer before installation. Before beginning the project, turn off your power at the main electrical panel. Make sure the breaker is in the OFF position. Test your light switch to make sure the power is off. Unscrew your existing wall plate. Remove the screws that keep the switch in place, and pull the switch away from the wall.
Step 2: Remove the Existing Switch
Locate the green or bare copper ground wire connected to the green screw. Locate the two or three other wires attached to the switch or connected to the back of the switch. Throughout the project, keep together any wires that are paired. Do not separate paired wires. With the ground wire attached, loosen the screws and remove the other wires from the switch. If the wires are attached to the back of the switch, insert a flat-head screwdriver into the slot above the wires to pull them out. You may also use the wire cutters to cut them off. Unscrew the green screw and remove the ground wire from the switch.
Step 3: Connect the Wires
Connect the green wire from your new dimmer switch to the green or copper ground wire in the wall. Twist them clockwise and cap them with the plastic wire cap that was packaged with your new dimmer. Make sure there are no bare wires exposed. If you have exposed wires, repeat the process trimming the ends of the wires using wire cutters. See your product insert for detailed wiring instructions to connect the remaining wires.
Step 4: Mount Your New Dimmer Switch
Using a Phillip’s-head screwdriver, mount your dimmer to the wall and then snap the front of your wall plate securely in place. Turn the electricity back on at the main panel.
There are a number of brands that offer exceptional quality at an affordable price. Lutron is a trusted name, as are Leviton and Cooper. You will find a variety of styles, with voltages ranging from 12v to 120v and wattages ranging 300W to 1,000W. Dimmers come in 1, 3, and 4-way configurations. Quality brands enable you to create better lighting configurations in your home.