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ClarkKent77

Dimmer Switches

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ClarkKent77

Hello there. 

 

I would like to install dimmer switches in various rooms in our house. The thing is, I don't know ANYTHING about dimmers, or lights or DIY in general. 

 

What do I need to know? Do they work in all rooms / with all lights? Feel free to explain it to me as though I was a child. 

 

Where is the best place to buy them? 

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Doc Hudson
19 hours ago, ClarkKent77 said:

Hello there. 

 

I would like to install dimmer switches in various rooms in our house. The thing is, I don't know ANYTHING about dimmers, or lights or DIY in general. 

 

What do I need to know? Do they work in all rooms / with all lights? Feel free to explain it to me as though I was a child. 

 

Where is the best place to buy them? 

 

Welcome to the forum, taking the last question first the best place to buy anything depends upon personal preferences for style, specification, brand etc, e.g. it could be similar to asking where is the best place to by Corn Flakes? Do you want Kellogg's or generic shop-brand, what size of box and do any shops have any offers on etc. The best place may not be the best place all of the time. 

 

Re actual dimmer switches; if you are replacing a standard on/off rocker switch it my be mounted into a shallow (16mm deep), back-box. But as dimmer switches generally have larger electronics on the back, the physical switches need more room in the back-box, which could need 25mm, or deeper.

 

Historically the main point of consideration was the power rating of the dimmer. (All dimmers have a maximum load measured in Watts that they can control without damaging the circuits). Typical ratings were 250Watt or 400Watt, so if you had a light fitting with 3x traditional 100watt lamps this would need a dimmer capable of 300Watts or higher.

 

But dimmers also have a minimum load required for them to operate correctly. Often this was minimum 60watts, however a lot of modern energy saving lamps may only be 7watts or less. So if we replaced 3x 100w lamps with 3x 7watt lamps the power can be too LOW (21watts), to operate the dimmer correctly.

 

On top of all this if you are looking at LED lighting not all LED's are dimmable. So you need to ensure the lamps you fit can be dimmed, and that the dimmer switches are low-energy compatible, and that the mounting boxes are deep enough. But other than that there is not much preventing you installing dimmers in any rooms that you choose. It can be done but it is not as simple as changing a dimmer back to a manual switch.

 

Doc H

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