Category Archives: Electricals

How to… install a dimmer switch

dimmer-switchIt’s high time we continue our ‘How to…’ series, so here we go with a simple guide to fitting a dimmer switch!

A dimmer switch is a handy little switch that allows you to dim the lights in a room to create a different ambience, depending on what you’re doing. Not so long ago, dimmer switches weren’t compatible with LED bulbs, which, as we all know, are among the most economic and environmentally friendly lights you can buy. The good news, however, is that dimmer technology has moved on considerably and many dimmer switches are now suitable to use with LEDs – look out for trailing edge dimmers when looking for LED compatible versions.

To install a dimmer, you’ll need a screwdriver, an electric mains tester and, of course, your new dimmer switch!

  1. As with any electrical work, the first step is to isolate the circuit. If you are not sure which switch in the fuse box operates the circuit in question, play safe and flip the trip switch to ‘off’ to shut down everything.
  2. dimmer-switchRemove the screws on the face of the existing dimmer plate and pull it away from the wall.
  3. You will see a red and black wires or blue and brown wires (the live and neutral wires) and also green and yellow wire (the earth wire). Test the red and earth wires with your electric mains tester. If no red lights show up, it’s safe.
  4. Disconnect the red cable, then the black cable. If there’s an earth wire, disconnect that too.
  5. On the back of your new dimmer plate, you’ll see three terminals – C, L1 and L2. A metal plate will also have a terminal for the earth wire. Attach the red cable to terminal C and the black cable to either L1 or L2; it doesn’t matter which!
  6. Attach the earth cable to its terminal if applicable, or just tuck into the wall recess if it’s not needed.
  7. Screw your new dimmer switch into place.
  8. Re-connect the circuit or switch the fuse box on, and let there be light!

dimmer-switchDon’t forget that any kind of electrical work can be dangerous. If you’re not sure what you’re doing, don’t risk it – call a professional!

Dimmer switches now come in all kinds of styles, including chrome, brass, copper, wood and bright colours that are ideal for nurseries or children’s bedrooms. Take a look at this range of switches from Socket Store to see what would suit your home!