Dimmers let you determine the level of light
you want in a room -- anywhere
dim lighting for relaxation and
to full, bright light for reading
When choosing a dimmer, here
are some things
- Check that the dimmer model will work with
the lights you will be using. Some dimmers
are for only incandescent lights, others
for fluorescent, or low voltage. If you are
uncertain or have a variety of lights, chose
a dimmer made to control various kinds of
- If the room has two entrances, consider installing
a 3-way dimmer that lets you turn on/off
the lights at either location so you don’t
have to walk through the room to reach the
- If you have only a few light level preferences,
a dimmer that has pre-set light levels rather
than a fully adjustable dimmer might be better
for you. If you think you may occasionally
want a different level of lighting, look
for one with an override capability.
- Dimmers with LED’s to indicate light levels
can also work as a nightlight and help guests
who are unfamiliar with your home locate
- A fade in/out feature is nice since it is
easier on your eyes than a sudden bright
light or darkness. Models that allow you
to set the amount of time to fade, or give
you a choice of fade in/out times are an
important safety consideration so you don’t
have to worry about bumping into something
while moving around a dark room. If there
may be times you want instant bright lights,
look for a model that also offers that feature.
- A dimmer with a built-in memory feature is
great so you don’t have to reset the lighting
levels if there is a power failure.
- If there are young children or seniors in
the house, look for dimmers that are easy
to operate with large knobs, paddles or push
on/off switches. An additional consideration
with young children is a “locking” feature
that prevents them from changing the light
- If you want to dim just a lamp, choose a
“point of use” dimmer where the lamp plugs
into the dimmer and the dimmer into the wall.
- Dimmers with remote controls are great for
TV rooms, home theaters, and other rooms
where you might want to dim the lights without
having to reach the switch.
- Dimmers now come in a variety of colors and
styles. Look for one that complements your
decor and has matching wallplates, TV/phone jacks, fan, and outlet plates.
There are even models available that snap
into the wall so no screws are showing for
a more sophisticated look.