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Dimmer Switches

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Dimmer Switches and Dimming Controls

Dimmer switches are lighting controls used to control the intensity of light output from the bulb or fixture. Dimmers modify the light level by reducing or increasing the power delivered to the fixture. Using dimmers will also increase the rate life of the fixture since it is operating at a reduced power. Dimming controls are classified according to load types, which are the compatible fixtures that the dimmer can control. Each load type has different characteristics that require its own dedicated dimmer. It is important to choose the correct switch type for a dimmer based on what it controls, how it is used and where it will be installed. Dimmer switches also have various operation types to turn the light on or off or to dim the lights up or down.

Dimmer Switch Types: Single Pole, 3-way and Multi-Location

Single pole dimmers are controlled by only one switch from a single location. This is normally used for rooms with just one point of entry and exit.

3-way dimmers have the main dimmer control turning on or off and adjusting the light level from one location, but can have multiple switches from other locations turn the light on and off as well. The other switches would not be able to adjust the light level. This can be used for rooms with multiple entrances and exits, so the light can be turned on and off from whichever side is used.

Multi-location dimmers have a master dimmer that can turn on or off and adjust the light level, plus companion dimmers in different locations that can also do the same. This is more flexible than 3-way dimmers because the light can be dimmed from any location.

CFL/LED Dimmers

CFL/LED dimmers control dimmable compact fluorescent (CFL) and LED bulbs and fixtures. Most CFL/LED dimmer switches also provide dimming support for incandescent and halogen bulbs. Dimmers for CFL/LED bulbs can be used for single pole, 3-way and multi-location configurations.

Incandescent Dimmers

Incandescent dimmer switches control dimming-compatible incandescent bulbs and fixtures only. Choose from single pole or 3-way incandescent dimmers to light up and dim bulbs throughout the house.

Fluorescent Dimmers

Fluorescent dimmers control dimmable fluorescent bulbs and fixtures to the required lighting level, and can be used for commercial and residential applications. Fluorescent dimmers are compatible for use in single pole and 3-way locations.

0-10V Dimmers

0-10V dimmer controls modify the voltage between 0 and 10 volts DC to adjust the light level of the bulb. Putting the level at 10 volts keeps the light at 100% brightness, while putting it at 0 volts dims down to the lowest possible brightness. 0-10V dimmers are compatible with LED fixtures and LED and fluorescent light bulbs.

Low Voltage Dimmers

Magnetic low voltage dimmers use magnetic transformers to dim down the light to the desired level. Electronic low voltage dimmers use solid-state electronic transformers for the same function. Both low voltage dimmers are compatible with single pole and 3-way switch type combinations.