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Guide to LED Dimming Controls in the Home


January 5, 2024

In today’s modern homes, dimming technology is not only common – it's expected in new construction and remodel projects. Dimming switches have become the norm for homeowners who want to have easy control over the lighting in their homes, making it possible to create the perfect ambiance for any scenario. Whether you’re cooking dinner or settling in for a movie night, dimming switches make it easier to adjust the light levels throughout the home. Plus, dimming the lights in your home offers benefits beyond aesthetics, helping to lower energy consumption and cost.

Benefits of Using a Dimmer Light Switch

Full dimming control of the lighting in your home offers tons of benefits, from allowing you to fully brighten your space while chopping vegetables to cutting the brightness in half to enjoy soft lighting during your dinner party. 

Advanced light dimmers also make it possible to create the perfect settings for lighting throughout the home. From adjusting the high- and low-end dimming range to easily calibrating the device to reduce common issues, advanced dimming technology makes it possible to enjoy a superior lighting control experience.

Dimmer switches can also help homeowners save energy while extending the life of their light bulbs. According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), dimming a bulb by 25% can double its life while dimming it by 50% can increase its life by a factor of five.

LED Lights Are the New Standard

In August 2023, sales of incandescent bulbs were banned in the United States. While the Department of Energy announced new energy standards in 2022 that would phase out incandescent bulbs, the Environmental Protection Agency started the conversation of this shift back in 2010. Due to their short life span and high energy output, incandescent bulbs have become a thing of the past.

And while that’s great for our electric bills, LED bulbs don’t have a perfect reputation. While the transition to LEDs was met with hesitation by some due to the higher price tag of LEDs, they last longer and require less energy, so they end up being more affordable in the long run. Other common complaints include their harsh brightness and tendency to flicker or have other issues when controlled by a dimmer switch.

Luckily, LED dimmers are becoming increasingly compatible with LED lights to help eliminate these types of issues and concerns. With an LED dimmer switch, it’s easy to reduce the harsh brightness, and advanced models are designed to eliminate flickering, strobing, turn-on delays and more.

Common LED Dimming FAQs

If you’re making the transition from incandescent to LED lights in your home, you may have a few questions. Here are a few common FAQs about LED dimming to help you navigate the transition.

How do I know if my LED is dimmable?

Not all LED lights are dimmable, but most are. Be sure to check the product packaging of your bulb or fixture. You can also search the manufacturer's website for information on whether or not your bulb or fixture is dimmable. 

Do all LED Dimmers require a neutral wire?

While some LED dimmers do require a neutral wire, not all do. Homes built before the 1980s may or may not include neutral wires to the switch. The newest radiant® LED Advanced Dimmer is a 2-wire dimmer that does not require a neutral connection.

Why do LED lights flicker when dimmed?

The most common causes of LED lights flickering are due to the dimming range of a bulb or fixture, environmental noise on the circuit, or an incompatibility between an LED driver and a dimmer. Choose the right dimmer to avoid or reduce the likelihood of flickering, popcorning, and turn-on delays.

How do I know how many watts my light bulb or fixture is? 

All light bulbs have the wattage rating printed on the glass or collar of the bulb. Most fixtures indicate their maximum wattage imprinted on the lamp holder near the bulb. Or you check the packaging if you have it. The total wattage of the application can be found by adding together the individual wattages of each bulb or fixture that is connected to one dimmer.

What kind of light bulbs and fixtures do your LED dimmers work with?

The radiant® LED Advanced Dimmer works with both LED bulbs and fixtures, including LED wafer lights, puck lights, canless recessed downlights, integrated LED lighting, recessed retrofit trims, pendant lighting, and more. It is designed to work with most standard forward-phase dimmable LED models up to 150W total.

Why doesn’t my LED bulb dim down as much as I expected?

The default dimming range for any LED bulb or fixture can vary significantly. Many LEDs will dim to completely off, while others will dim down to 20% brightness - and everywhere in between. An advanced LED dimmer will allow for simple adjustment of the dimming range through a manual reset of how low or high the LED can be dimmed. This can be optimized to any lighting preference and will help eliminate issues like flickering.

How do I know if I can use my existing dimmer switch with LED bulbs?

Compatibility between LED bulbs and dimmers can vary. Older dimmer switches designed for incandescent bulbs and other loads may not work well with LEDs. It is highly recommended to upgrade to a newer dimmer that is rated for and designed specifically around LED lighting.

Can I use one LED dimmer switch for an LED fixture with multiple bulbs?

Yes, as long as the total wattage of the bulbs or fixtures combined is less than the maximum rated LED wattage of the dimmer. Add together the individual wattage ratings of each LED that are connected to a single dimmer to determine the total wattage. The packaging on most LEDs indicates an "equivalent wattage" to draw a comparison to incandescent. The actual wattage of the LED is usually much lower, check the side or back of the packaging, or base of the bulb/fixture.

Enjoy a superior lighting control experience with our LED dimmers.

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