Very simply put, dimmer switches are used to vary the brightness of a light bulb. They provide the convenience of being able to use the same light fixture for multiple activities that require different amounts of light.
Incandescent and halogen bulbs are the main types of light bulbs that dimmer switches are used for. Because of the adjustable wattage they are capable of saving energy. Dimmer switches have a minimum and maximum wattage range. The bulbs they operate must have minimum and maximum wattage that falls within these two numbers.
Types of Dimmer Switches
Dial dimmer switches, like the one shown above, have a knob. The knobs can be adjusted from full light to very dim and all brightness measures in between. The far left is the off position. Simply rotate counterclockwise until you hear or feel a click and it will be in the off position. The far right or rotated all the way clockwise, is full brightness. You may simply turn the dial to the amount of light you want.
Slide dimmer switches have a sliding handle. They are usually self-illuminating or lit up so that you can find them in the dark. To adjust the amount of light you push up on the slide for brightness and down on the slide for dim and off.
Automatic dimmer switches have an on, off and an automatic setting. They self-adjust to the amount of light in the room. As it gets darker inside the room the light increases and the lighter it gets, the light decreases. This type of switch uses an electronic eye to maintain the same level of light throughout the day and night or as long as it is turned to automatic.
Another type of automatic dimmer switch turns on the light when you enter the room. It is set manually to the desired brightness and remains at that setting until you change it.
Digital touch pad models turn on when you touch them anywhere on the pad. To adjust the lighting you move your finger up or down and they smoothly change the light accordingly. They are available in many styles, shapes and sizes.
Digital push pad dimmers have an attractive LED light. They are easy to locate in the dark. They have a return-to-neutral setting. Digital push pad dimmers are rapidly becoming one of the most sought after types of dimmer switches.
Plug-in dimmer switches require no installation. They are very simple to use. You simply plug them into an outlet and then plug the lamp into the switch. A dial on the plug-in switch controls the amount of light.
Pull cord dimmers are mainly for use in bathrooms. With a pull cord dimmer, pulling the cord causes the light to brighten.
Fan switches are designed to control the power to and speed of a ceiling fan. They are equipped with a switch for off and on. In addition they have a dial or slide to set the fan speed. Since they have two switches the speed control can remain set when the power is switched off and on.
Many touch pad and push pad dimmer switches come with a remote controller. This enables you to adjust the lighting from anywhere in the room. Just like a TV remote, they are perfect for the elderly and disabled.
Idea for Dimmer Switch
Dimmer switches can be purchased in many designer colors. They can be matched to any décor. They range from simple yet functional to modern and stylish. An idea for a child’s room is to decorate the switch by gluing a small toy, such as a toy car to the knob. This will make your children want to turn off the light when they leave the room.
Photo by Betsssssy, Creative Commons Attribution License