How to Fix a Broken Dimmer Switch in Your Home

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If your dimmer switch is broken you don't necessarily need to run out and have it replaced. Fix a broken dimmer switch with help from the founder and owner of a tile and home repair shop in this free video clip.

Part of the Video Series: Home Improvements: Bath, Electric and Around the House
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Video Transcript

Hi I'm Robert Herdan with West Oaks Tile. And I'm here to show you how to repair a dimmer switch. The tools you'll need for this job are a flat head screwdriver, a Phillips head screwdriver, a pair of needle nose pliers, and some wire cutters. Okay when you have a dimmer switch that's in your home and it doesn't work anymore there is a lot of reasons why something can go happen with it. But just to simplify it it's not cost effective to actually try and fix it. And trying to find the parts would probably almost be impossible. So the simplest thing to do is just to go out and buy a new dimmer switch which you know the average dimmer switch is probably around six dollars. So it's not that much money. So now what you do s you want to see that the power is off. So you check to see by turning the switch on. If the switch will not turn the light on because it's broken then what you'll need to do is get yourself a electrical tester. The one I have has two probes on it so that you can plug it in to the backs of the little pig lights. If you've already gone out and marked at your box which circuit breaker actually turns the power off then just go ahead and turn the power off. But always check in the house too, cause you want to make sure the power is off. So now what we are going to do is we are going to remove the cap on our dimmer switch and we will remove the cover plate. So once we have removed the screws we will go head and pull off the cover plate and we'll just set that down. Then we'll go ahead and actually remove the old dimmer switch. And again that's just a couple of screws so you just want to unscrew that from the wall. Okay so now we have removed our two screws to the dimmer switch where we'll go ahead pull that out. Now we can see here that we got our two leads. And so now what we are going to do is just go ahead and check with our electric tester and we'll just sit the probes inside. Okay now I can see the light isn't coming on so now I know the power is off. So once you're absolutely sure the power is off then we'll go ahead and remove the wire nuts. I'm removing the wire nut on the white wire first and then I'm going to go ahead and remove the wire nut on the black wire. Okay so now we've removed the old broken dimmer. We'll go ahead and grab our new dimmer switch and we'll go ahead and just basically reverse the process. Now one thing I'm noticing here is that in this box I do not have a ground wire and the box is plastic. This new dimmer switch that I have does have a ground wire but since there is no ground wire and it's a plastic box there's nothing to connect it to. And that's ok. You can just go ahead and connect the white wire first and take your wire nut and just twist it on till you feel it get nice and tight and snug. And once it's snug and tight pull on the wire a little bit just to make sure it doesn't pop out. And then we'll go ahead and do that same process here to the black wire. And go ahead and take our wire nut and twist that down. Okay so now we've got both of those re-secured we'll go ahead and just fold down the wire on the ground wire. And we'll just go ahead stick all these wires back into the box. And just push that back into the hole. And once we've done that we just go ahead and grab our screws that we used to remove our old one. And we get that one started. Okay so once you get them started then we go ahead and get our flat head screwdriver and just go ahead and tighten those down. You want to get them tighten snugly but you don't need to over tighten this. You just want it to be tight enough so that the switch itself doesn't move around. And that's easy to tell once you've gotten the screws in. All you have to do is just move the thing around. If it moves real easy then just tighten those screws up a little bit more. Okay so now we know that's nice and secure. We'll go ahead and grab our cover plate and put that back on. So we just take our screwdriver and put the one screw there in on the top one. And grab our other screw and we'll go ahead and put that in the bottom one. Again especially with the cover plates do not over tighten, you will break them. So once you got that in we'll go ahead and take our new button cover and we will put that on. Okay what we have done now is completed our repair of our dimmer switch. And I can see that it's working fine. I'm Robert Herdan with West Oaks Tile and I've just shown you how to fix a dimmer switch in your home.

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