Choosing a Dimmer Switch For Your Home
Dimmer switches are a popular electrical upgrade that provide greater control over the lighting in your home. When choosing dimmer switches there are several type available, including:
- Rotary – The classic dimmer style, with a rotating knob to control lighting levels.
- Slide - A slide control dimmer slides from the off position at the bottom to the brightest setting at the top position.
- Toggle – A toggle dimmer is a traditional toggle light switch with a small sliding dimmer on the side. When you use the toggle switch, the light level will automatically return to the preset level.
- Rocker - Works the same as a traditional toggle switch, but with a more modern looking rocker switch.
- Tap - A touch-sensitive button that returns light to a preset level. Tap dimmers often include LEDs to display the current light level.
Can Dimmer Switches Be Used With CFL or Fluorescent Lights?The answer depends on the age of the fixture and whether or not it's rated for dimming. If the fixture is not rated for dimming, don’t install a dimmer switch, it won't work correctly and will overheat the bulb. Replace the fixture with a one designed for dimming. This is also the case with Compact Fluorescent fixtures (CFL). If the fluorescent fixture is rated for dimming, be sure to install a dimmer that is compatible with fluorescent bulbs. If you install a dimmer switch and it only turns the bulb on and off and doesn't dim correctly, it's not designed for dimming and you should use a regular switch instead.
Dimmer switches come in different styles designed to work with 4 categories of bulbs, they include:
- Incandescent and halogen bulbs
- Dimmable compact fluorescent light bulbs
- Magnetic Low Frequency (MLV)
- Electronic Low Frequency (ELV)