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Electrical

Dimmer Switches

Dimmer switches can add wonderful ambiance to areas where the moods frequently change, such as a dining room, bedroom or other casual area inside your home. Dimmer switches work with single-pole switches but not with three-way switches.

When buying a dimmer, the variety with terminal screws are quite easy to install and when given the choice, may be the quickest option. But if the wires inside your switch box are short, a dimmer switch with lead wires is the perfect solution and almost as simple to install.

Installing a Dimmer with Terminal Screws
Not much in life is easier than this installation–in fact, you'll feel like a pro in no time flat. First, turn off the power to the circuit. Remove the cover plate. Being careful not to touch bare wire, test the switch using a circuit tester to make sure the circuit is cold. Once you're sure it is, loosen the terminal screws and unfasten the black wires from them. If the exposed wire ends look worn, strip the wires. Loop the wires clockwise around the dimmer's terminal screws, tuck the switch into the box, anchor with screws and install the cover plate. Ah, light!

Installing a Dimmer with Lead Wires
Instructions for this project are the same as those for Installing a Dimmer Switch with Terminal Screws with one minor difference. Instead of wrapping the circuit wires around screws, you will marry the wires with the lead wires of the dimmer switch itself. Remember to turn off the power before you do anything else!

Twist the black wires from your switch box with the two lead wires of the dimmer. To prevent hazard, always cap off with plastic screw-on wire connectors. Insert the switch into the box, careful not to crowd or crimp the wires, anchor with screws and install the cover plate. Enjoy!