DIY Dimmable Light Switch Installation


If you remember a few basic safety precautions, putting up a new dimmer switch is as straightforward as 1, 2, 3. To begin, you must determine the ideal switch size for each scenario. Dimmers come in various colors, shapes, wattages, and wall plate designs today.

The first step in installing a dimmer switch is to determine how many lamps or bulbs will be controlled by the device. For instance, a dimmer switch for five 100-watt bulbs needs to maintain at least 500 watts of power and more is preferable. It’s best to keep your lashes from reaching their total capacity. Overheating the switch, and maybe an electrical fire could result from this.

After calculating its entire amount, it would be best to go shopping for the necessary wattage. Dimmers come in various styles, including the more common slide switch, push button, and even programmable versions. Select the desired wattage after deciding on the desired color, dimmer type (regular or programmable), slide, or button style. The package will specify the maximum wattage used with the switch. Make sure the controller can manage the newer CFL fluorescent lamps, also. You won’t be able to buy incandescent bulbs soon in 2011.

Before installing a dimmer switch, you should also check to see if the electrical wall box is big enough to accommodate the button. Comparatively, a dimmer is much bulkier than a single-gang light switch. If there aren’t a ton of additional cables in the gem box, a single dimmer switch should be OK. Converting a two-gang switch box to accommodate a dimmer and a single gang (or two dimmers) can cause the TV to become too cramped for safety and compliance with electrical codes. To function correctly, dimmers must have adequate ventilation. Overheating from too many wires and a dimmer in too little space might damage the dimmer switch prematurely and start a fire. Dangerous circumstance. You may need to replace the wall box with a larger, deeper box to accommodate all the wires and switches, but the extra effort will be well worth it.

Caution is advised. Turn off the breaker for the switch box where you intend to install the new dimmer switch. Before removing the screws from the controls, make sure all wires are dead using a small, cheap tester. This extra step ensures that no one else has accidentally switched on the button you are adjusting because of a crossed wire.

Get rid of the old cover plate and switch. The standard number of wires for a modern switch is three. Gray, emerald, and forest green. The transition is simple. Green wire to the bare copper ground wire in the power cord, white to white, and black to black. The wire nuts that are included with most switches should be used. Wrapping a layer of high-quality electrical tape over each wire nut is common among electricians. When installing or removing a button from a wall box, I always wrap a strip of tape around the switch’s body to protect the exposed wire-connect screws from accidental contact.

After you’ve wired the switch, you should test it to ensure it works as intended before reinstalling it in the wall. After installing the new dimmer switch and turning off the breaker, the wiring can be carefully reinserted into the box. Put up the switch plate, and you’re done!

Pete, the Building Inspector You Can Trust
The BICES Software for Building Inspection and Code Enforcement

Pete has been a building inspector for over 30 years and has worked in the public and private sectors. His experience in the Eastern US building design and construction fields spans various building types and sizes, from schools to treatment plants, private residences, and condo projects to huge residential landscaping. Together with two other building inspectors, he established Wagsys LLC in 2006 to develop applications for local governments’ use in building departments, planning boards, and Zoning Boards of Appeals.

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