The Right Way to Install a Dimmer Switch

If you want to change the lighting in your living room, there's no need to type “electrician Oklahoma City” into a search engine! You can dramatically change the ambience of any room by installing a dimmer switch. Tackling this do it yourself project is very easy: anyone (yes, even you) can do it.

Grab Your Tools: You'll want to make sure you have the tools you need handy before you get started. First off you'll need your new dimmer switch (check to see if the switch comes with a plate – not all of them do). Next, grab a screwdriver, needle nose pliers, a voltage tester (you can get one for cheap at a hardware store), and some wire strippers. Having some electrical tape and wire nuts on hand will also come in handy.

Turn off the Power: Whatever you do, don't skip this step! Head on down to the basement and turn off the circuit that leads to the part of the house you're working on. It may not be a bad idea to put some tape over that circuit for the time being so no one turns it back on while you're working. This step is crucial in making sure you don't get hurt.

Take it Apart: Unscrew the existing plate from the switch you want to replace and pull the switch out of the wall. Use your voltage tester to make doubly sure that there's no power coming in to the switch. Unscrew the wires from the back of the old switch and throw it away. Use the wire strippers to cut off the bare wire you'll find just below the insulation, and then strip off about 3 / 8th of an inch of insulation.

Put it Back Together: Get you new dimmer switch out and match up the wires to the ones you just stripped (most dimmers will come with pre stripped wires). Use your pliers to twist the two wires together and tighten a wire nut around the connection. Do this for all the wires. Wrap a bit of electrical tape around each connection to keep them safe. Gently ease the wires back into the box (this may be a little difficult since dimmer switches can be a little bigger than other ones).

Finishing Touches: Screw the switch into the box and screw the plate on top of it. Make sure the dimmer is in the “off” position, turn the circuit back on, and enjoy your new dimmer switch!

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