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How to Install a Dimmer Switch

Control the light levels in your home by easily upgrading to designer dimmers.

October 28, 2021

There are few home updates that offer as much impact, for so little effort, as swapping those ol’ standard light switches for ones that provide dimming control.

Designer dimmer switches enable you to completely transform the atmosphere and mood of a space by simply adjusting the light levels, or improve a room’s setup for completing specific tasks by tailoring the lights to your needs.

In the kitchen, just for example, soft mid-level lights can help gently perk you up while sipping that first cup of morning coffee. Then later, you turn the lights up high to create a brightly lit dinner prep station for greater safety and ease while dicing those vegetables. At the end of the evening, set the lights low again to help your mind and body start to wind down even as you do your final tidying up or getting things ready for the next day.

And the best thing about switching (pun intended) to dimmers? It’s a DIY project you can take on yourself. Maybe you’ve been intimidated by the idea: “I’m not an electrician, so how do I wire a switch or an outlet?” But by following the steps below, you can safely replace a device in as little as 15 minutes and using basic tools you probably already have at home.

  • Screwdriver
  • Wire Cutter / Wire Stripper
  • Wire Connector / Wire Nut
  • Voltage Tester
  • Dimmer switches should only be used with compatible bulbs or fixtures. When selecting a dimmer, check that it matches the load type (ex. CFL/LED, Fluorescent, Incandescent) and power requirements (ex. 0-10V, 120V) of the dimmable bulb(s) or fixture it will be installed to control.
  • Most homes have both single-pole and 3-way switches in use. Make sure to choose a dimmer that is usable in the same single-pole or 3-way application.
  • Some dimmers require calibration or adjustment at the time of installation for optimal, flicker-free performance. Review the installation instructions provided with your device to confirm if, when and how to calibrate your dimmer before use.
*Note the steps below are generalized to apply to any adorne® or radiant® dimmer installation. Be sure to also carefully review any installation instructions provided with your device before proceeding.
  1. Turn off power for the existing switch at the circuit breaker. Also, give anyone else at home the head’s up that you’ve turned off the power to do electrical work. You want to make sure nobody flips that breaker back on while you’re working.
  2. Next, test the existing switch. Try flipping the switch itself and breaking out the voltage tester. For your safety, no further action should be taken until you are positive all power to the switch has been turned off.
  3. Remove the existing switch’s wall plate and mounting screws, then gently pull the existing switch out from the wall box. Go ahead and double (or triple) check the wires at this step too, using your non-contact voltage tester, to be absolutely sure it’s safe to proceed.
  4. Identify and label the connected wires: The Hot or Common Wire (usually black, might be connected to a black screw on the switch itself); the Neutral Wire; and the Ground Wire (usually a bare, copper wire). Note that for 3-way switches, additional Traveler Wire(s) will be present.
  1. Cut the wires to disconnect the existing switch. Then strip the ends of the wires using the guide provided on the back of your new dimmer.
  2. ​​​​​If the new dimmer has a Ground Wire attached to its frame, connect it with the Ground Wire disconnected from the existing switch with a wire connector / wire nut.
  3. Connect new dimmer by inserting the stripped wires into the appropriate terminals on the back of the device, then tighten each screw enough to secure the wires in place.
  4. Gently fold the wires and insert the new dimmer into the wall box. Attach to the box with the provided mounting screws.
  5. Finish the installation of any adorne or radiant dimmer by snapping on its sleek, screwless wall plate.
  6. ​​​​​​Once the new dimmer is fully installed, turn the power back on at your circuit breaker and test your new dimmer switch to confirm it is working correctly.
Need more visual guidance before you break out the screwdriver? No worries! Check out great how-to videos for installing an adorne Dimmer, an adorne Tru-Universal Dimmer or a radiant Dimmer for a closer look.

Flicker-free dimming control of LED lights and the widest dimming range available on the market.

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