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Ask Houchin Electric about Dimmer Switches

It is said that some of life’s brightest moments happen in the dimmest rooms. I suppose this explains why a lot of creative people are night owls. But how can one achieve creative genius in a pitch-black room? The answer, you can’t but you can continue to work creatively in a softly lit room thanks to dimmers.

You do not have to be a  genius to operate a dimmer switch, button or lever. However, choosing the correct dimmer for your light source and lighting system does require a bit more thought. In order for a lighting system to work properly, you need to choose the right one.

Below is a list of information Houchin Electric has provided to help you understand  how dimmers work and which dimmer is the correct choice for your lighting system. We will cover Dimmers that work with the following lighting systems:

  • Incandescent Lights
  • LEDs and CFLs
  • Plug-in Lights
  • Hardwired Lights

Standard Incandescent Dimmers

You should use a Standard Incandescent Dimmer if you are dimming your standard incandescent, halogen, or xenon lights. The Standard Incandescent Dimmer switch uses an electrical component called a triode alternating current switch, or a triac. Amazingly, the alternating current switch turns the lights on and off very rapidly, about 120 times every second. However, this flashing happens too rapidly for anyone to notice. The process is very similar to how film works – captured still images called frames move so quickly that all we see is smooth and continuous motion. When you need brighter light, the triac will keep the lights ON more than OFF.  And for dimmer lights, it will keep them OFF more than ON.

LED & CFL Dimmers

You need a compatible dimmer to ensure all your lights dim correctly. You should know that standard incandescent dimmers can cause newer light sources such as LEDs to malfunction. For example, when used with the wrong switch, LEDs and CFLs won’t dim fully, may turn off unexpectedly, and could fail to turn on completely. Use C-L dimmers instead. They are manufactured to operate LEDs, CFLs, and even mixed loads with incandescent lights. It is important to always check to be certain that the light bulbs you purchase are manufactured for dimming and that they are listed as compatible with the dimmer you plan to use.

Hardwired & Plug-in Dimmers

More often than not, there’s an issue with style. For example, in new homes there is often a need for large-scale lighting systems to work with designs that include recessed lights, under cabinet lighting, or display lighting. For these situations you’ll always want to use a hardwired dimmer, installed in the wall like a regular light switch. However, if you only need to dim a single fixture, like a lamp,  a plug-in tabletop dimmer may give you much more freedom.

Call Houchin Electric to have dimmer switches installed in your home. Visit our website Houchinelectric.com for more information and remember to follow us on Facebook. Simply click on the Facebook icon at the top of our website and LIKE our page.



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