Installing a Single Pole Dimmer Switch for Lights

How To Install a Single Pole Dimmer Switch for Lights from your Scottsdale Home Inspector


Here is another short video in our series provided by ACSI, your home inspection Company in the Phoenix metro area




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Installing a dimmer switch on a light is a pretty simple process. With the right tools and about 20 minutes, you’ll have this DIY project done. Please note: This video is for installing a dimmer switch for a light that is controlled by ONE switch. The technical name for this is a single-pole switch. If your light is controlled by more than one switch or if you wish to install a dimmer switch to control a ceiling fan, then please see our outer videos specific to those projects.

To install a single pole switch, you’ll need a flat head screwdriver, a phillips head screwdriver, a power meter, a single pole dimmer switch for a light, electric nuts, wire strippers, and needle nose pliers.

Because you’ll be turning off the electricity in the room you’ll be working in you may need to run an extension cord from another room to power a work light.

Go to your main circuit panel, find the breaker labeled for the room you’re working in and switch it to the off position. Try turning on the light in your room to make sure that it has no power. Next, unscrew the plate, carefully unscrew the screws at the top and bottom of the switch that hold it in the junction box. Gently pull the entire switch out of the wall.

Using your power meter, test the wires to confirm that there is no electricity to the switch. Also make a visual inspection, if you notice any exposed wires, put an electric nut on them. Now, find where the wires are attached to the switch. Remove the wires from the existing switch. If you can’t release them, clip them close to the connection and then carefully strip away the insulation to expose the copper. There should be a total of three wires. Two black or white wires and a green or uncovered copper wire. The green or uncovered copper wire is your ground wire.

Take one of the non-ground wires from the wall box and match it to a solid color on the new switch. With an electric nuts, secure these two wires together, turning the nut clockwise. Now repeat this with the other solid wire. Then connect the ground wire on the switch to the ground wire in the wall.

Once the wires are attached, gently push the entire switch back into the junction box. Secure the switch to the junction box with the provided screws. Install the cover plate being careful not to over tighten that screws as this can crack the plate.

Turn the power back on to the room and test your new dimmer switch. Make sure the bulbs you are using are appropriate for dimmer switches, especially if you are using LED or energy efficient bulbs.

If you have any questions about this process or to book a home Inspection, please call ACSI at 480-636-7400.

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