If you’re interested in a simple way to save energy or add atmosphere to any room, a dimmer switch will do the trick. When you dim the lights, they draw less power for energy savings and the lower light level helps contribute to a cosier or more romantic atmosphere. Plus, dimmers provide you with extra control so you can always set the light level to match the task at hand.
Types of Dimmers
Single Pole: These are single location dimmers that allow you to control a light fixture from one spot only.
3-Way: These are used when you want to have a dimmer in one location and a switch for the same fixture in another location.
Multi-Location: These are used when you want to dim a light fixture from more than one location.
Rotary: The light level is controlled by a rotating knob which either pushes on and off or switches off when you turn the knob down past the lowest light level.
Slide: The light level is controlled by a sliding bar.
Traditional Toggle or Rocker with Dimmer: This type of switch features a traditional style toggle or rocker switch that turns the light on and off but also has a dimmer incorporated for extra control.
Tap/Touch: These dimmers are controlled entirely by touching or tapping the switch and there is usually an LED indicator that shows you where the light level is set.
Choose the Right Light
Different types of light fixtures require different types of dimmers. Incandescent and halogens, CFLs, ceiling fan – they all have different dimmer requirements. Make sure the dimmer you buy matches up with the type of fixture you have.
Tip: If you have a CFL fixture you not only need a dimmer that’s appropriate for compact fluorescents, you also need to use dimmable CFL bulbs. Regular ones won’t work.
Choose the Right Wattage
The dimmer switch you choose needs to be rated to handle the wattage of your light fixture. If you have a fixture that takes three 100 watt bulbs, then you need to have a dimmer switch that’s rated for 300 watts. (Three x 100w= 300w).Buying Guide: Dimmer Switches