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Installing a Light Dimmer

Before you decide on dimming your lights in your home you need to know what type of lights you have. Fluorescent lighting is only dimmable for a specific type of dimmable electronic ballast. In these systems, the electronic ballast and dimmer switch must be matched and made to work with one another. Most Fluorescent lights are not dimmable. However, you can purchase complete dimmable systems if you wish.

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Now, why dim the lights, well, mostly aesthetics or upgrades are reasons for dimming. In some case it’s for comfort, others for necessity as bright lights can affect the homes ambiance. Or maybe, it’s a cool thing to do. If you are choosing to install a dimmer and you have incandescent lights installed you are in business Wire Pull Tester. Once you verify you have incandescent lights you can now start the installation.

First, find the circuit located in the electrical panel that feeds this particular lighting circuit you are attempting to upgrade. Once found, turn off the power to that light circuit. Remove the coverplate then the switch, be careful. Even though you shut down the light circuit and the light is not coming on, there is always a chance of shock with reverse fed wires and hot neutrals.

Now, carefully pull the switch away from the switch box. Take a voltage tester and verify that all wiring in not energized. Once you verify this with a zero reading on the meter, carefully remove the wires from the switch. In most cases you will have a hot lead coming into the switch and a load side lead leaving the switch feeding the light.

Finally, remove the green or copper-colored wire last for safety reasons. Once you remove all three wires you can now begin installing your new dimmer. There are many types of Dimmers available. Some provide screws for you to land your wiring, while others have short wire leads. Read the instructions and install. You may have unused leads as some Dimmers have more capabilities such as electronic ballast provisions. Once you land your wires, reinstall the new dimmer into the wall along with coverplate. Turn on the circuit and dim away. A note on choosing a dimmer. If you have multiple gang switch setup, the old plate can be used and your dimmer switch should match the toggle style to match the original switch. Twist Dimmers are older in style and come with a single wall plate specifically designed for the installation.

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