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Light Dimmers

Dimmers let you determine the level of light you want in a room -- anywhere from soft, dim lighting for relaxation and ambience to full, bright light for reading and working. When choosing a dimmer, here are some things to consider:

  • 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 light bulbs.
  • 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 switch.
  • 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 the dimmer.
  • 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 level.
  • 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.

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