More Control of Home Lighting
When it comes to lighting one’s house, there’s much more appeal in having a range of light rather than simply having one “on” and an “off” setting. Luckily, for those looking to upgrade their home’s lighting, dimmer switches are easy to install and can easily replace incandescent or halogen lights. Dimmers come in two basic wiring forms, standard single-pole and three-way dimmers, with the former being a single switch that controls the light while the latter can control light with two switches. In case you want to do this project yourself, here is a quick guide.
Supplies & Tools for Installing a Dimmer Switch
- Phillips head screwdriver
- Slotted screwdriver
- Long nose pliers
- Wire stripper
- Wire cutter
- Voltage tester
- Dimmer wall plate
- Wire connector nuts
- Electrical tape
Directions for Installing a Dimmer Switch
- Turn off power to your switch at the breaker. Be sure to test the switch a few times to make sure the power is off.
- Remove original wall plate and mounting screws from the old switch gently.
- Do not touch any wires until they are tested with the voltage tester to ensure power is not reaching the circuit.
- If you detect voltage, make sure to turn off the right circuit breaker or remove the fuse and test the circuit again. Note: if it’s a three-way switch, one wire will be connected to a screw with a different color or label.
- Tag the common wire with a piece of electrical tape before wiring the new dimmer. Disconnect all wires from the old switch. Note: if it’s an old dimmer you’re replacing, unscrew the wire nuts around the switch wires and house wires.
- Standard Single Pole Dimmer Switch. For connecting the new dimmer switch, if the house wires are bent, use a wire stripper to cut off the twisted ends. Remove ¾ inch of casing from the end of the house wires if needed.
- Connect the ground wire from your dimmer to a green or bare copper wire and twist the ends together clockwise before capping with a wire connector nut.
- Connect each dimmer wire (typically black) to a house wire (typically black, red, or white with black markings) by twisting them together with a pair of pliers.
- Tighten a wire nut over each pair of wires. If there is wire exposed, unscrew the wire connector, remove and trim the ends of the wire with a wire cutter, and then re-cap wires.
- Three-Way Dimmer Switch. Again, if the house wires are bent, use a wire stripper to cut off the twisted ends. Remove ¾ inch of casing from the end of the house wires if needed.
- Connect the ground wire from your dimmer to a green or bare copper wire and twist the ends together clockwise before capping them using a wire connector nut.
- Connect the black dimmer wire to your tagged common wire and remove electrical tape.
- Connect the two remaining wires or traveler wires to each remaining wire in your wall box.
- Use a screwdriver to mount your dimmer to the wall with the provided screws.
- When replacing the wall plate, carefully tuck the wires back, tighten the screws holding the dimmer to the electrical box, and turn on the switch at the breaker and test the dimmer.
If you think you’re ready to upgrade to a dimmer switch, please click here and feel free to check out the rest of the Hipp’s Help store. We offer FREE ship to store for all of Mountain View customers. And we also offer reasonable shipping rates for the rest of our customers throughout the country.
Copyright: artranq / 123RF Stock Photo