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Video:How to Install a Dimmer Switch

with Sabrina Veroczi

Do you want an easy, inexpensive way to add warmth to a room? Consider installing a dimmer switch, which lets you set the perfect lighting for any occasion.See Transcript

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Transcript:How to Install a Dimmer Switch

Hi, I'm Sabrina Veroczi for About.com Home. Installing a dimmer switch is one of the best ways to create a warm atmosphere in the home. Today I'm going to show you how to install one.

Tools Needed to Install a Dimmer Switch

For this project, you will need:
  • a small flathead screwdriver
  • a medium-sized flathead screwdriver
  • a pair of needlenose pliers
  • electrical tape
  • a circuit tester
  • a dimmer switch kit
Dimmer switch kits are sold at most hardware stores. In your kit, there is a dimmer switch mechanism with wiring and three wire connectors.

Turn Off the Power

First, always make sure that the power to the circuit where you're working is turned off at the main breaker box or fuse panel. Once it is turned off, put a piece of tape over the breaker so nobody turns it back on accidentally while you're working.

Remove the Switch Plate

Next, using your medium-size flathead screwdriver, unscrew the switch plate. With the switch plate removed, to expose the old switch and wiring, unscrew the two retaining screws that hold the switch mechanism in place.

As an extra precaution, you still will want to use a circuit tester to make sure that the switch is not receiving power before beginning work on the wiring.

Remove the Light Switch

Once you're certain that the power supply is shut off to the switch, remove the light switch from the box. If you have trouble pulling out the wires, use a pair of needlenose pliers to pull them straight out.

Prepare the Wires From the Wall Box

Using your small flathead screwdriver, press down the release button for the push-in connections to disconnect both black wires from the old switch. Separate each wire so that none of the wires are touching.

Now remove the wire connector from the two ground wires. The ground wires are the two white wires.

Connect the Wires

To connect these wires, use the wire connectors from the kit. With the proper amount of bare wire exposed on both black wire ends, attach the ends of each of the black wires on the back of the switch mechanism to the ends of each of the black wires from the wall box. Twist a wire connector over the ends to hold the two wires together for each set of wires.

Next, match the ends of the two white wires from the end of the green wire to the back of the dimmer switch mechanism. Hold all three wires together by using a wire connector.

Install the Switch in the Wall Box

Finally, with all three wires connected, the switch is ready to install in the wall box. When doing this, make sure that you install the switch so that "on" side is up, and "off" side is down.

Using your screwdriver, fasten the new switch in the box with the two retaining screws. Finally, remount the face plate.

Turn the Power Back On

Once everything is secured, remove the tape and turn the power back on at the breaker box.

Thanks for watching. For more information, visit us on the Web at homegarden.about.com
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