Dimmer switches are a nice option to have in rooms such as dining rooms, living rooms, and dens. They help provide a different ambiance depending on your mood, or what you are doing. If you don't want bright lights while you're watching a movie, or want dimmer lights for a romantic dinner, a dimmer switch can come in handy. See below for instructions to install a dimmer switch anywhere in your home.
Tools And Materials For The Job:
- New dimmer switch and plate cover
- Voltage meter
- Needle-nose pliers
- Wire snips
These instructions are for a single-pole switch.
- Turn the power off to your switch. If your breaker box isn't marked, you can turn the lights on in that room you are working in (connected to your switch). Turn off the breakers one by one until that light is turned off. For extra peace of mind, you can test the switch to be sure there isn't any power to it using a voltage meter after removing the cover plate. Once you know the power is off to the switch, move to the next step.
- Take off the cover plate (if you haven't already done so), then take the screws out holding the switch to the box in the wall. Pull it out gently to expose the wires behind it.
- Use a screwdriver to remove the wires attached to the switch, but be sure to pay attention to the way the wires are attached to the old switch. You can even take a quick photo to use as a reference if need be. Separate the wires and pull them gently out of the box. There should be three wires total - one black (hot), white (neutral), and a ground wire that is usually the bare copper wire.
- Take your new switch and begin attaching the wires to the new switch in the same way they were attached to the old switch. Use your needle-nose pliers and bend the wires in a hook shape. Wrap them around the screws on the new switch and tighten the screws to help hold the wires in place.
- Put the switch back into the box in the wall, then install the screws to hold the switch snugly in place.
- Finally, attach the cover plate using the screws that came with it.
- Turn the power back on to the switch and test it to be sure it is working properly.
Installing a dimmer switch is not too difficult, although if you have a multi-switch that provides power to outlets as well, you may want to leave it to a professional electrician, such as All American Air & Electric, Inc., as this can be a more complex replacement.