Monday, November 7, 2011

Installing a dimmer switch

One of the many little projects we tackled this weekend included installing a dimmer switch in our formal dining room. We use our formal dining room for every meal, since our eat-in-kitchen nook has been transformed into a craft center.  The lighting in the formal dining room includes a 5 bulb light fixture.  So when it was turned on, boy was it bright! We could never have mood lighting for adult dinner parties or just tone it down a notch when we didn't want the whole neighborhood to see us in all of our lighted glory.

So while I was out with the boys at Home Depot making wooden Christmas picture frames and the baby was asleep my wonderful husband snuck in this project.

Here is our light fixture (Joe installed it himself, more deets on that later):

He turned this light switch:

Into this light switch:

Now we can go from this:

To this:

I know it's hard to tell from the pics, but the mood changes drastically when the lights are dimmed. Plus more modern houses come with dimmer switches, so now we're all caught up to speed.

We purchased this dimmer switch from Lowes for $17 (one that is compatible with dimmable CFL and LED bulbs) and the stainless steel plate was around $2. The instructions included with the dimmer were fairly well-written, and any home improvement manual will also have a page on replacing binary switches with dimmers, so I won't go through the step-by-step. However, I will put a reminder here to SHUT OFF THE POWER! After killing the circuit, it took about 20 minutes. We didn't need to buy any additional materials, because we already had the following on-hand: wire strippers, electrical tape, and wire nuts (included with the dimmer). If you don't have any of these, don't forget while you're at the store!

Although we got a CFL-compatible dimmer, we didn't get dimmable CFLs, because they're a bit more pricey and our fixture needs five bulbs! Also, we rationalized that the dimmer will allow us to use less energy with incandescent bulbs, alleviating some eco-guilt.

Isn't my hubby sweet for installing this while we were out?  Does your significant other get'er done while you're away?

Happy Monday!


Sarni said...

Your hubby is indeed a treasure. And those lucky boys are extending their craftiness to woodworking. What great parents you both are!

Unknown said...

The lamp with dimmer switch is lovely! This gave me a great idea for my living room. I will show this to my Long Island home builders.

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