Dimmer switches

matildajaneNovember 13, 2012

It's been suggested that I update my dimmer switch now that I have an updated ceiling light. My current dimmer (mid-80's house) is a large round rotating dial with no specific on/off. Is there a preferred brand/style? To be honest, I never gave thought to replacing my dimmer switch, but my Chief Decor Critic has implied that its shamefully archaic.

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David

Take a look at Lutron's dimmers. They have a wide range of styles and generally perform better than Leviton.

Here is a link that might be useful: lutron dimmers

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 11:43PM
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attofarad

I've never seen a dimmer with no "off." Mine which rotates like yours has a push on/off function. Have you tried that on yours?

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 1:18AM
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matildajane

Thanks, davidtay. I'll direct my attention to Lutron. Attofarad, here's a schematic of my current dimmer. If the dial is turned fully counterclockwise, the light will be turned off but newer dimmer switches have a separate on/off switch. Am I microfocusing here? Perhaps anything is better than what I have.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 8:52AM
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brickeyee

"If the dial is turned fully counterclockwise, the light will be turned off but newer dimmer switches have a separate on/off switch. "

Every plain round knob switch like you illustrate has either a push on push off or rotating stop with a barely detectable 'click' position for off (counterclockwise by convention).

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 11:55AM
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matildajane

Yes, brickeyee. My plain round knob switch has a barely detectable click position (when rotated counterclockwise) indicating that the light has been turned off. Regardless, my family decor critic is horrified by my outdated dimmer switch. Maybe I'm being snookered here, but I've fallen into the trap that the switch needs to be updated. Big box stores have a wide range of dimmer switches. Is there a preferred style/type?

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 6:08PM
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attofarad

Lutron Maestro dimmers are sexy.

Tap to turn on to last selected level. Tap to turn off. Tap twice to turn on full bright. Little green LEDs to show level. Separate small rocker to set level of dimming. Get the version with an IR remote and control it from across the room (don't tell the decor critic, just do it surreptitiously).

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 8:18PM
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matildajane

Thanks so much, Attofarad. The sexy new dimmer that you suggested is guaranteed to knock the socks off of the self-appointed decor specialist who visits my home every so often. Let's hope I don't lose the remote control, as happens with the TV. (Smiles!)

    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 2:07PM
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brickeyee

Besides the round knobs, there are now linear sliders, toggles with a very tiny slider beside them, and even touch dimmers (if you look hard).

I usually use the toggle & slider ones now.

The toggle is fractionally narrower than a plain toggle switch to make room in a standard switch plate for the slider.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 6:05PM
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brickeyee

Watch out for some of the newer electronic type switch systems, they may not work with your wiring.

A lot of old work has 'switch loops' and no neutral in the switch box.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 6:06PM
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matildajane

Very useful information, Brickeyee! Electricity is a little bit like an octapus, isn't it? One little wish branches into a mass of possibilities and potential pitfalls.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2012 at 10:40AM
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