Installing a Dimmer Switch

For many electrical jobs around your home, it is wise to hire an electrician (such as Austec Electrical). But, there are many little electrical jobs that you can easily do yourself without a lot of special tools. For instance, you can install a dimmer switch on your own, and you can likely do it in less than an hour. The first thing to do is to measure the size of the box that the light switch is currently housed in (height, depth, and width). Then, you can head to your nearest home improvement centre to pick out a dimmer switch that will fit into this space. Once you have a dimmer switch, here are the steps you will use to install it.

Shut Off the Power

Before you start working on anything that involves electricity, it is important that you shut the power off to that outlet or area at the main circuit panel in your home. If you have a circuit breaker, you can simply turn off the switch that provides power to the light switch. You should then use a voltage testing meter to make sure that there is no power running to that switch.

Remove the Old Switch

Once the power is turned off, unscrew the light switch panel that is there, and remove the switch from the box it is housed in. Next, attach the new dimmer switch, according to the manufacturer's directions. The wires will be colour-coded, so you know which ones need to be connected to each other.

Make Sure it is Grounded

Now you can turn the power back on temporarily to test the ground. Put the leads of the voltage meter between the metal box and the screw terminals. If a light comes on, then you know that the box is indeed completely grounded. If there is no light, it means that the ground wire isn't connected, or that there are hot wires, and you will need to fix this before proceeding any further (shut the main power back off before grounding or disconnecting any wires). After grounding, turn the power back on, and test again. If it is now grounded, you can go on to the next step of the process.

Add a Grounding Clip

All that is left to do now is install a grounding clip, which you can buy at any hardware store or home improvement centre. Press the clip, along with a piece of copper wire that is about six inches in length, onto the metal box that holds the inner workings of the dimmer switch. This is going to keep everything well grounded. Now you can put the faceplate on, turn the power back on, and start using your new dimmer switch.