Homeowners love to get upgrades. Transforming something ordinary into something extraordinary is often a good place to start. Whether you want something more effective, or are just looking for a change, getting upgrades are welcome. Even small changes can make an impact. With that in mind, we at Peterkin Electric would like to elaborate on how to convert your standard light switch into a functioning dimmer switch. This simple feature can help you select the intensity of light you provide an area, whether it is ambiance or flooding illumination, you have more choices with the dimmer switch.
How to Change a Normal Light Switch to a Dimmer Switch
1) Start at the circuit or fuse breaker box and turn off the power. Confirm the power is shutoff by using a voltage tester and testing the light switch.
2) Generally, a flat head screwdriver is needed to remove the light switch cover plate. Keep in mind you will likely need a Philips screwdriver to remove the switch box.
3) Hold the electrical wires on the side of the switch, to loosen the screws and then detach the wiring using the appropriate screwdriver. Important for the next step; pay close attention to the wire coloring and where they had been attached on the old switch. (Tip: If it helps, write notes, or even better, take a picture with your phone to help you remember.) Separate the wires and keep them separate by pulling them to opposite corners of the box. If the switch is grounded, disconnect the grounding wire last. (Tip: Use needle nose pliers for the tight, small and confined places.)
4) A separate ground wire that may be bare copper, or sometimes wrapped in green, as well as a black and a white wire comprising of the 3 wires you will see. Attach the wires to the dimmer as the previous light switch was connected; refer to your notes or photo to properly identify the right colored wires to the appropriate connection. If your wires are solid copper, make a loop in the end of the wire with the pliers and guide it around the screw on the side of the dimmer. Should your wall wire be composed of a group of smaller wires. Tighten the screw after ensuring the wire is fastened securely beneath the screw and is not splaying to the perimeter of the screw. In the event your wall wire be composed of a group of smaller wires, use the pliers to gently twist the ends of the wires together to make them one unit and then follow the same direction, use the pliers to gently twist the ends of the wires together to make them one unit and then follow the same direction.
5) Once the wires are connected correctly, carefully fold any excess wire and compress the dimmer into the electrical box. Use caution as you attach the wires, ensure you don’t loosen the wires or cause damage. Fit the switch plate and tighten the screws to secure the switch to the box; flip the breaker or fuse back on once the cover is in place.
Note: For use with dimmer switches, keep in mind that not all light bulbs are designed for it. The bulb and electronics can be damaged if you do not use correlating bulbs to the dimming capabilities. Check the label to ensure it is dimmable.
Lighting & Electrical Wiring Services in Laguna Woods, Santa Ana, Newport Beach, Huntington Beach, Laguna Beach, Aliso Viejo, Costa Mesa, Fountain Valley, Irvine, Lake Forest & Orange County, California
Installing a dimming switch should only be done with someone experienced working with electricity. If you do not have any knowledge or experience, consider calling Peterkin Electrical and let our licensed electricians install your dimmer switches.