Everyone enjoys mood lighting, especially first thing in the early morning when the complete blast of light in the eyes from a 100-watt bulb makes me yell like a vampire at midday. Regardless, it’s nice to be able to change the brightness in a space, and setting up a dimmer switch is a quite simple method to get control over your lighting.


Prior to you walking around and ripping switches out of the wall, there are a number of things you need to learn about electrical wiring and dimmer switches:

Not all dimmer switches work with Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFL). If you have CFL bulbs you will have to use a more recent product, like those from Lutron. Inspect to see if the switch you wish to change is a single pole (one switch) or three-way switch (can be turned on/off from several places) that also determines the kind of dimmer you require. Some dimmer switches utilize resistors so you’re using the same amount of electrical power despite the fact that you’re seeing less light. More recent dimmer switches will really save energy when you’re not using the bulb at its complete capability.

Required Tools

Your standard electrical tools will provide for this task include:

  • Screwdriver
  • Wire strippers
  • Voltage detector 
  • Dimmer switch 
  • Flashlight


Action 1: Power Down.

Shut off the power at the breaker not at the switch. This is usually a three-trip experience to the basement, turn the breaker, evaluate the switch, over and over once again. Nevertheless, it beats being electrocuted any day. Utilize a voltage detector prior to touching any wires.

Action 2: Remove The Old Switch.

As soon as whatever is shut down, loosen the old switch and pull whatever out so you can get a great take a look at it. For a toggle switch, the wires are more than most likely twisted around the adapter screws. Either loosen up the screws or utilize the wire strippers to snip completions off and eliminate the old switch.

Action 3: Dimmer Installation.

To install the dimmer, check out the guidelines to ensure you’re clear on what wires go where and which the leading is and which the bottom is. As constantly, green signifies the ground or copper wire. Unlike setting up a light, both wires going to the dimmer will be black and typically can be put on either gold screw. There should not be any silver screws.

If the switch can be utilized for either a single-pole or three-way, there might be an additional screw so ensure to take a look at the electrical wiring diagram. To link the wires, strip 3/4 ″ of casing off completion, loop it into a U shape, hook it around the screw, and after that pinch completions together prior to tightening up the screw down.

Step 4: Finishing Up.

As soon as the wires are connected, you will want to re-fasten the switch to the electrical box with 2 screws leading and bottom, and after that re-attach the switch plate.

Turn the breaker back on, and there you have it, supreme control over the brightness in one area of space!