How To Wire A Dimmer Light Switch & Install it?

Installing a dimmer light switch is a great way to customize your lighting experience. Not only can you control the brightness of the light, but you can also create ambiance with different colors and tones.

In this article, we'll show you how to install a dimmer light switch in just a few simple steps. If you're finding ways to save on energy costs or want more control over your home's lighting, installing a dimmer light switch is the perfect solution.

The most important thing to remember when installing a dimmer switch is that you need the proper wiring and grounding. We'll show how easy installation can be with some extra attention paid to safety for your lights or other electrical devices to work correctly.

What Do You Need to Install a Dimmer Switch?

Get the right tools and materials, and you will notice that replacing or installing a new dimmer switch is a breeze!

The Tools Required:

1. Screwdriver

2. Needle-nose pliers

3. Measuring tape

4. Tester to check the voltage

5. Wire stripper/cutter

The Materials Required:

1. The dimmer switch

2. Wire connectors

Steps to Install The Dimmer Switch

Step 1: Choose a Dimmer

Here are the three things to consider when deciding which dimmer switch is suitable for your home:

1. The type of light you will use with the dimmer plays an important role in choosing the dimmer switch. If you plan to use an LED light, select an LED dimmer as LED requires direct current. It is generally recommended to use the corresponding switch with the type of light you choose since dimmers are rated for specific types of lights like CFL dimmers for CFL lights, Halogen, and incandescent dimmers for their respective types of light, etc.

2. Another deciding factor is the number of switches controlling each fixture. The two basic wiring configurations are the standard single-pole dimmer in which a single switch controls the light and the three-way dimmers with two switches controlling the light.

3. Last but a very important consideration is the number of lights connected to a single dimmer switch. If you want to connect more than one light, add the wattage of all the lights and check the rating on the dimmer switch to ensure it is compatible.

Step 2: Ensure Safety by Turning the Power Off

1. To replace an old light switch with a new dimmer, you'll first need to turn off the power at the circuit breaker box.

2. Flip the current switch on and off to confirm the power is off, or test the circuit with a working voltage tester.

3. Then, remove your existing wall plate and the screws mounting the switch to the wall box using a screwdriver.

4. Pull the switch away from the wall.  If you find a bundle of white wires in the back of the wall box, leave them in place.

5. However, if you are replacing a three-way switch, you will notice that one wire is connected to a screw that is colored or marked differently. Be sure to note which wire is attached to this screw and tag it with a piece of electrical tape, as it will be important when wiring the new dimmer.

6. Lastly, disconnect the wires from the old switch.

Step 3: Wiring the New Dimmer Switch

Here is how to wire a single-pole dimmer switch:

1. First, check if the wires in your house are bent, and if so, then trim the twisted ends with a wire stripper. You can remove 3/4 inch of casing from the wire end if required.

2. Take the ground wire from your dimmer and connect it to a green or bare copper wire in the wall box. Twist the wires' end clockwise to connect them properly and use a wire connector nut as a cap.

3. The next step involves connecting each dimmer wire to a house wire by twisting them together. To identify the wires, look at their colors. While the wires from the dimmer are usually always black, the two house wires may be white, black, or in color with black marking. Take each pair of wire ends and tighten a wire nut over it. Look for exposed bare wires and, if any, then first unscrew the wire connector, remove the wires, trim the wire ends with a wire cutter, and re-cap the wires. 

Follow the steps below to wire a three-way dimmer switch:

1. The first step for both single-pole and three-way dimmer switches is the same. Cut the twisted ends of the house wires if bent. Start by removing 3/4 inch of casing from the end of the house and the dimmer switch wires.

2. Twist the wires' end clockwise to connect the ground wire from your dimmer to a green or bare copper wire in the wall box. Cap them with a wire connector nut.

3. Find the tagged common wire, connect it with the black dimmer wire, and remove the electrical tape.

4. Connect each remaining wire in the wall box to the two remaining dimmer wires.

5. Mount the dimmer to the wall using a screwdriver and the provided screws.

Step 4: Replace the Wall Plate

1. After all the wires are connected, it's time to tuck them back into the electrical outlet box.

2. Make sure to put the dimmer in place by tightening the screws that hold the dimmer to the electrical box.

3. Some dimmers come with removable knobs. To install such a dimmer, gently pull the knob outwards and remove it before attaching the wall plate.

4. For dimmer switches with a separate wall plate, tighten the mounting screws to hold the wall plate to the switch. And if your dimmer has a wall plate without screws, screw the wall plate adapter to the dimmer and place the wall plate onto the adapter.

Last Step: Turn the Power Back On

1. After completing the above steps and ensuring the wall plate is secured, turn the power back on. 

2. Turn on the switch to test that your dimmer is working correctly.

Installing a dimmer switch does not have to be complicated. With the help of a few simple tools and a bit of patience, anyone can replace a switch in their home. However, finding the ideal light and dimmer switches can be tricky. If you want to change the ambiance and control the lighting in your home, then visit Buy LED Online for some of the best lighting and fixtures at the most competitive price.  

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