How to Replace a Dimmer Switch

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Replacing a faulty dimmer switch involves just disconnecting and reconnecting two pairs of wires.

Things You'll Need

  • Circuit Tester
  • Dimmer Switches
  • Flat-head Screwdriver Sets
  • Wire Nuts
  • Turn off the power to the dimmer switch at the main circuit breaker or fuse box, and test to make sure it's off.

  • Unscrew the switch's cover plate and remove it. The cover plate is the piece of metal or plastic covering the switch.

  • Pull the old switch out of the wall carefully with your hand. Do not hold the metal parts of the switch as you do this. The switch should come out a few inches, exposing the wires.

  • Unscrew the wire nuts connecting the wires coming out of the wall and the old dimmer switch's wires.

  • Take the switch to the hardware store and get another exactly like it - the same number of wires and the same kind of wire. If you aren't sure, ask at the store. Also, make sure to get new wire nuts (this will ensure good splices when reconnecting wires).

  • Match the two wires from the wall with the two wires on the dimmer switch.

  • Firmly attach each pair in a wire nut. Make sure the wire nut is screwed on firmly and that no bare copper is exposed.

  • Give each wire a light tug to make sure the wires are secured in the wire nut.

  • Mount the new switch into the wall and screw the cover plate back on.

  • Turn on power at the main circuit breaker or fuse box.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use a voltage tester to confirm that power to a circuit is turned off.
  • When turning off breakers or removing fuses, use only one hand and keep the rest of your body and face turned away from the box. Keep your body away from the front of the box. This reduces the risk of injury if a breaker explodes.
  • Use great caution when working with an electrical system. If you're unsure of your abilities or about any aspect of the project, call an electrician.

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