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The RIGHT Way to Install a Dimmer Switch

[fa icon="calendar"] Oct 28, 2021 4:54:19 PM / by Jaron Henkel

Dimmer switches provide a number of benefits for your home or office, including ambient lighting, creating a relaxed environment, and reducing cost by conserving energy

The best part? Installing a dimmer switch only takes about an hour and can be done in a few easy steps. 

Getting Started

Before you begin installation, you need to ask yourself a couple of questions to create a plan for your home improvement project. 

First, where do you want to install a dimmer switch? If you’re just getting started with dimmer switches, you may want to consider installing one in the room you use the most so you are able to consistently use the switch. 

Five of the most common rooms for installing dimmer switches include: 

  • Living rooms
  • Bedrooms
  • Home offices
  • Dining rooms
  • Outdoor spaces, such as a Florida Rooms

Second, what kind of dimmer switch do you want to install? You have a number of options with dimmer switches, so you should pick one you think will work best for your household. 

    • If your household focuses on minimalism, the single-pole dimmer switches might be best for you. These are simple, easy to use, and have a variety of design options. 
  • If your household is first in line when the latest piece of tech is released, you will want to take a look at a smart dimmer switch, many of which have the ability to pair with your phone. 
  • If your household loves convenience, dimmer switches with a remote may be the way to go. You can spend more time entertaining your guests without interrupting to change the lights as the evening turns into night! 

Please note: not all light bulbs are suitable for dimming. Be sure to read the bulb’s instructions as it will indicate if the dimming is possible for that particular bulb or not. 

Installing a Dimmer Switch

Now that you’ve decided where you want to install the dimmer switch and what kind you want, it’s time to get started. 

Check out our 4 steps to installing a dimmer switch below: 

Step 1 - Cut the Power and Remove the Old Switch

Before you begin handling wires and electricity, you must cut the power to the correct switch.

Identify the circuit, cut the power on the fuse box or circuit breaker, and double check by attempting to turn on a light switch. Once you are sure the power has been cut, unscrew and remove the existing light switch cover. 

You will then need a flathead screwdriver to remove the screws of the old switch and detach it from the box. Once you’ve done that, carefully pull the switch and attached wires away from the box. 

Step 2 - Remove the Wires From the Old Switch

Now that you’ve removed the old switch, it’s time to disconnect the wires from it. 

You will want to make note of the wire colors and where they were attached on the old switch. You may need to remove the grounding wire after you have disconnected the other wires. 

Step 3 - Attach the New Dimmer Switch to Wires

After removing the old switch from the wires, you should have three wires: black, white, and a separate ground wire. 

Attach these wires to your new dimmer by mimicking the old placements and using pliers to guide them around the screws. Tighten each screw and make sure the ends are secure. 

In the event that you have multiple wall wires in a group, twist the ends of these wires together to form one single wire before attaching the wire to the screw.

Step 4 - Install the Dimmer Switch to the Wall Box and Add the Switch Plate

Once you have replaced the older switch with a new dimmer module, fold all the wires back into the wall box and position the new switch on the box. 

Screw in the dimmer switch to the box and replace the switch plate. 

Once you have secured these two things, return power to through your fuse or breaker box. You have successfully installed a dimmer switch!

DIY vs. Hiring a Professional

For every electrical project, you’ll want to consider whether it’s a DIY project or if you should hire a professional. 

Some electrical projects are simple, including installing dimmer switches, replacing a wall outlet, or attaching an appliance cord. These can be completed in a short amount of time without extensive electrical knowledge. 

Even if you have the ability, you may still want to consider hiring a professional electrician to complete these tasks to save time and ensure the project is properly completed. In addition, there are some projects, such as rewiring a breaker box, that should always be completed by a professional

At Southwest Florida Electric, we’re here to make sure all of your electrical needs are met. Whether you’re looking for assistance adding new lights to your home, updating your ceiling fan, or installing dimmer switches, contact us today to get started on your latest project!

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Topics: home wiring, Light Switches, Electrical Safety

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