Adding dimmers to the lights in your home is an easy way to change the dynamic and setting in each individual room. They can also save energy, reduce your electric bill, and help your light bulbs last longer. There are two basic wiring configurations – standard single-pole (one switch controls a light) and three-way (control the light with multiple switches). For the purpose of this post, the following 8 steps will focus solely on installation of a standard single-pole switch. You can also watch this great step-by-step video.
– Ordinary dimmer switches are not intended to be used with most fluorescent lights. If you are using CFLs, make sure they’re labeled “dimmable.”
– Read the manufacturer’s instructions before beginning your project.
– Make sure the wattage of the light(s) you want to dim doesn’t exceed the wattage of the dimmer.
– Before starting any electrical project, always make sure to turn off electricity to the switch at the main fuse box or circuit breaker box.
– Test the switch/wires to confirm that there is no electrical current before you proceed.
– If you’re hesitant or have any doubts about the installation, please call a licensed electrician.
Make sure power to the switch is turned off at the circuit breaker or fuse box. Flip the switch to make sure the power is truly off before you move on to the next step.
Remove the wall plate and mounting screws so the switch can be pulled from the wall and the wires are exposed. Again, don’t touch the wires unless you’re sure the power is off.
Disconnect all wires from the old switch. Make note of the wires that are connected to the switch as these are the wires you’ll connect to the new dimmer. There should be a bare copper wire in the box and a green wire on the dimmer – these are the grounding wires.
Strip wire insulation about ¾ of an inch using a wire stripper. You can check the manufacturer’s instructions to make sure you don’t strip off too much.
Connect existing wires to the dimmer’s wires. Make sure to connect the green grounding wire to the copper grounding wire in the electrical box. Using pliers, twist wire ends to tighten and secure together with a wire nut.
Tuck all wires back into the electrical box and attach dimmer with mounting screws.
Mount wall plate to the switch and secure with wall plate screws.
Turn the power back on at the main fuse box or circuit breaker box and test the switch.