How to Install a Dimmer Switch

Lights too bright? Not anymore. A dimmer switch helps you create the perfect mood lighting in every room. Here's how to install one.

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Setting the perfect mood lighting has never been easier. A dimmer switch lets you adjust the strength of your light fixture every time you walk in the room. Turn the light up if you're reading a book, or tone it down to take a nap. Whatever the use, a dimmer switch will add ease and elegance to your home. Plus, it can save you money. The model we installed has an eco-dim feature that guarantees a 15 percent energy savings when compared to a standard switch.

Installing a dimmer switch couldn't be easier. All you need is a screwdriver, wire caps, and access to your home's circuit breaker. We'll walk you through each step and provide important pointers along the way.

More Expert Tips for a Well-Lit Home

What You Need

  • Screwdriver
  • Dimmer switch (we used the Lutron Maestro)
  • Wire caps

Step 1: Turn Off Power

Turn off power at the circuit breaker for the room or outlet where you'll be installing the dimmer switch. Flip the existing switch on and off to confirm the power is out.

Bonus: Learn How to Install an Occupancy Sensor

Step 2: Remove Switchplate

Remove existing switchplate cover with a screwdriver. Then unscrew and disconnect the standard switchplate. Remove wires, one at a time, paying attention to the existing wire placement. If desired, snap a picture of the setup before disconnecting so you can easily remember which wire goes where. 

Step 3: Connect Dimmer Switch

Connect the dimmer switch to the outlet, one wire at a time. The green and bare copper wires from the switchplate attach to the ground wires in the outlet. The black wires from the switchplate connect to the black wires in the outlet. Cap off any remaining wires with wire caps. 

Editor's Tip: Carefully read the manufacturer's instructions for your switch before installing. You may need to connect the wires differently.

Step 4: Attach Switchplate

Once the wires are all connected or capped, push them back into the wall. Screw the dimmer switchplate into place with a screwdriver. Restore power at circuit breaker.

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