How to Install a Dimmer

Difficulty: 1 of 5

 

A dimmer can be an energy-efficient alternative to a regular light switch.

 

Turn off power at the main circuit breaker for any circuit or switch you are working on. If you are unsure how to turn off power, contact a licensed electrician before starting any electrical work.

Materials:

– Circuit tester
– Screwdriver
– Wire cutter
– Wire stripper

Step 1: Turn off circuit breaker


Before working on a circuit, turn off power to the circuit at the main circuit breaker.
Shut off power to the switch

Step 2: Remove and disconnect old light switch


Use a screwdriver to remove the screws to the cover plate over the old light switch. Remove the cover plate. Unscrew the top and bottom screws that hold the switch to the electrical box. Carefully remove the switch from the box and use a circuit tester on all the wires attached to the switch to make sure there is no voltage present anywhere on the switch. Use a screwdriver to unscrew first the black, then white, then bare copper ground wires. Always remove the ground wire last.
Test the switch for voltage.

Step 3: Connect wires to the new dimmer


Use a wire cutter to clip the loops on the ends of the wires coming out of the wall. Use a wire stripper to remove one inch of insulation from the black wire and the white wire. The insulation on the ends of the dimmer wires should already be cut and ready to remove. Pull the cut insulation off from the dimmer wires. Using the wire nuts that came with the dimmer, first attach the green ground wire on the dimmer to the copper ground wire from the wall. Then connect the black wire from the wall to the black wire from the dimmer, and connect the white wire from the wall to the other black wire from the dimmer.
Connect the green and black wires from the dimmer to the copper, black and white wall wires.

Step 4: Install dimmer to the wall


Place the dimmer fixture into the electrical box. Use a screwdriver to tighten the screws that hold the dimmer to the electrical box. Put the cover plate back in place and secure it with the two cover screws.
Screw the dimmer into the electrical box.

Step 5: Restore power to the circuit


Turn the circuit breaker back on to restore power to the circuit. The new dimmer is ready to use.
Enjoy your new dimmer.