Having lighting options throughout your home is a fun and easy way to add ambiance and style to any space. Adding the ability to control the amount of light being emitted makes life convenient and more comfortable. Bigger lighting jobs around your home should always be left to a professional, but there are a few small tasks you can perform around your home if you have a basic knowledge of handyman work. If you’ve never dealt with the inner workings of electrical components and are not confidant in your ability, you would be better suited calling in the pros to help you complete your goal. Once simple way to add comfort to your home is to install a dimmer switch to the rooms you need light control most. Living rooms and bedrooms are great options for this upgrade. Don’t you hate waking up in the morning, turning on the lights and being blinded by their brightness? What about when you read and only need minimal light, so you don’t get a glare on the pages? A dimmer switch could help you to solve these problems. You just need a few tools and these instructions to accomplish this task! CAUTION- If you have aluminum wiring do not proceed, call a licensed professional who is certified to work with aluminum wiring! If the wiring is dull grey instead of orange, you have aluminum wiring.
Needed Supplies for Installing a Dimmer Switch
What you need-
-Phillips head screwdriver
-Needle nose pliers
-Non-contact Voltage detector
-Light bulb approved for use with dimmer switch
How to Install a Dimmer Switch
Step 1- This is perhaps the most important step you will take in this process. Shut off all power to the switch by flipping the fuse to that switch in your fuse box or circuit breaker. Double check the power is off by flicking the light switch a few times. If the light did not turn on, then you will remove the switch plate using your flathead screw driver and use your non-contact voltage detector to ensure the wires are not charged. You can do this by placing it near each screw terminal to ensure it’s safe to proceed.
Step 2- Using your Phillips head screwdriver, dismount the light switch from the wall.
Step 3- Carefully examine where each of the wires are attached to on the current light switch. These wires should be color coded which will make this process a bit less complicated. You will need to know where these wires go when installing your new dimmer switch.
Step 4- Remove the wires from the old switch using your Philips head screwdriver. Be sure to keep the wires separated by bending them to opposite corners of the box. Always remove the grounding wire last. Your needle nose pliers will come in handy for this step because it is a small, tight space.
Step 5- Attach your dimmer switch. There are going to be 3 wires that will need to be attached to your new dimmer switch. A black one, a white one and a separate copper ground wire. (sometimes wrapped in green wire insulation) Identify each of the colored wires and connect them to the dimmer switch in the same manner they were connected to the old light switch. If the wires are copper, make a loop at the end of the wire with the needle nose pliers and wrap it around the screw on the side of the dimmer switch. Double check that the wire is secured beneath the screw and not hanging out. If the wiring in your wall consists of a group of smaller wires, use the pliers to gently twist the ends of the wires so they come together and make one wire then follow the same directions.
Step 6- Reinstall the dimmer switch to the box and put the switch plate on. Once the wires are securely attached, gently fold the excess wires back into the wall and place the dimmer switch back into the electrical box. Do this step with care so the wires don’t come off the switch. Screw the switch back into the electrical box with a few small twists and ensure everything is fitting just right. Then secure the switch and install the new switch plate. Once the cover is on turn the breaker or fuse and test your new dimmer switch! Be sure you have the correct bulb intact too.
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Peterkin Electric is available for all of your electrical needs big or small, we hope these helpful hints will help you be on your way to dimmer independence! Contact us to schedule a consultation today!