Hold the tip of a non-contact voltage detector near each screw terminal to be sure the power is off. Wiring a Dimmer switch is as simple as Wiring a 2-way switch. here are 10 key facts that your electrician wishes you knew. If your box is too small, replace it with a larger one. Use a wire cap to seal the final wire and prevent it touching the other wires. Open the dimmer switch and strip the rubber coating from the wires. With the switch off, test for voltage to determine if the lone wire, on the bottom of the switch, is the hot (line) or if the two connected wires, on the top, are together the hot (line). of the insulated covering from the wires in the box and bend a loop in each with needle-nose pliers. You’ll need a screwdriver, wire stripper, inexpensive (2 lead wire type) voltage tester and needle-nose pliers to install a dimmer. If you can turn your lights off using a different switch than the one you used to turn them on, skip down to the 3-way switch section. 3-way switches are also marked with four wires in the wall outlet: a ground wire, a hot lead wire and two travelers to allow for a connection to another switch or outlet. Put a wrap of black tape around the white conductor to label it as a hot wire. The ground wire is typically green or copper and should be connect to the bottom, center wire on your dimmer. After you unscrew the switch and pull it away from the box, probe around inside the box with the detector to make sure there are no other hot wires from another circuit. We will handle the app setup in STEP 12. Bend the ground wire back onto the clip and squeeze it down tight so it won't interfere with the dimmer switch. The black and red wires in the other bundle (four-wire), entering the box from up top, are the travelers (wires from the other switch). 4. of insulation from the end of the wires. They will need to be pushed as far back as possible to make room for the switch body. Just be sure to turn the electricity off at your main fuse box before proceeding with the instructions below! If the switch you're replacing is the only switch controlling the light, buy a standard single-pole dimmer. Fold the wires neatly into the box. Unscrew the switchplate and save if you are reusing it. Other dimmers have screw terminals instead of the attached stranded wires to the new dimmer. We prefer this type of tester because it'll detect voltage without direct contact with the metal conductor. We show the single switch but there are also three-way dimmers, CFL and LED dimmer switches. A good dimmer switch can be a real game-changer in any room. The National Electrical Code specifies minimum box sizes to reduce this risk. Test the new dimmer switch by turning on and off, dimming as you go. They are usually marked red in the wall, but can be black and otherwise taped or marked off. Finally, you have to use a special device, not a dimmer, to control the speed of ceiling fans and motors. After connecting the wires, carefully and neatly tuck them back to the electrical box. For 3-way switches be sure to check the on/off switches at both light switches. Plus, learn how to change a single-pole switch to a 3-way switch. Plus, learn how to troubleshoot a dead outlet here. Call in a licensed pro who is certified to work with it. Use a plastic wire cap to secure the two wires after wrapping, protecting the connection and ensuring a tight seal. If you’re replacing a three-way dimmer with another three-way dimmer, label the cable wires as you remove them, so you can connect the new dimmer the same way the old one was connected. Fifteen-amp circuits are usually wired with 14-gauge wire and 20-amp circuits require 12-gauge or heavier wire. The wires are held in place by screws, often called "terminals." If your dimmer switch is too large for the box space, use a measuring tape to gage the difference. Step 12: Test the Dimmer Switch Screw the new box into the wall. Needle-nose pliers can help wrap and secure the wire in tight spaces. Houses wired with plastic-sheathed cable almost always have bare copper ground wires that you'll connect to the toggle dimmer switch. Remove the 2 wires from the existing switch by cutting them with diagonal pliers or other suitable device, or loosen the screw terminals as required. Tip: If the circuit breaker is labeled “15 amp, ” the wires are probably 14-gauge, or 12-gauge for 20-amp circuit breakers. The two wires currently connected together on your existing switch should be again connected together on your new switch. Next, connect the red wire to the hot lead wire and cap them together. Older homes may only have a hot lead and a ground wire. First, connect the ground wire to the corresponding wire on your dimmer. 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