How to Install a Dimmer Switch

Electrician Suffolk County | Smithtown | Islip | TFC Electric

Dimmer switches give you more control over your home’s lighting, and can even help you save energy and extend the lifespan of your bulbs. Most dimmer switches are designed to fit in a standard wall box, making them a relatively simple DIY swap.

Follow these step-by-step instructions from the experts at TFC Electric to install your very own dimmer switch:

What you’ll need:

• Phillips head screwdriver
• Flat head screwdriver
• Long nose pliers
• Wire stripper
• Wire cutter
• Voltage tester
• Dimmer switch
• Dimmer wall plate
• Wire connector nuts
• Electrical tape

Step-by-step instructions:

1. Turn off the power to the switch from your breaker. Confirm the power is disconnected by turning the switch on and off a few times.

2. Remove the old light switch plate. You should be able to unscrew it from the wall using your flathead screwdriver.

3. Remove the old light switch. After removing the plate, pull the switch away from the wall. Use the voltage tester to make sure none of the wires are live, then disconnect them from the light switch. If you are replacing a three-way switch, one of the wires will be connected to a different colored screw, or one labeled as COMMON; mark this wire with the electrical tape.

4. Connect the new dimmer switch. Connect the ground wire on your light switch to the green or bare copper wire in the wall by twisting the ends together and capping them with a wire connector nut. Follow the same process for the other two wires. Make sure none of the bare wire is exposed after capping. If so, you will need to remove the cap, untwist the wires, shorten them using a wire cutter, then re-connect and cap them.

5. Install the new wall plate. Carefully tuck the wires back into the electrical box and tighten the screws to secure the dimmer switch. Then, use your flathead screwdriver to connect the wall plate to the wall.

6. Restore power and test the dimmer. Restore power to the switch from your main breaker and turn on the light. Test your dimmer to make sure it works at different lighting levels.

While installing a dimmer switch is a relatively safe project, there is a lot that can go wrong. If you run into any problems during installation, the professionals at TFC Electric are just a phone call away. If you live in Suffolk County, Long Island, give us a call anytime at (631) 589-2800.

April 13, 2017