It only takes one power outage to remind us how important lighting is to a room. It can dictate your ability to complete certain tasks, set the tone of the room, and even affect your mood.
Lighting has the ability to completely change the look and feel of the entire room. Installing dimmer switches is a great way to change up your existing lighting, and thus change the functionality of the room. However, like anything in your home, if the dimmer switches aren’t functioning properly it can be annoying or even concerning. Sometimes, homeowners notice that their dimmer switch is buzzing or humming, the lights are flickering, or they aren’t dimming properly. Here are answers to the most common questions about dimmer switches.
The Problem: The dimmer switch is buzzing or humming.
The Solution: Update your dimmer rating.
When humming or buzzing is coming from the dimmer itself, that may be a sign of an overload. This means that the circuit connected to the dimmer switch is attempting to handle too much power. If there are several bulbs in the fixture, removing some of them is an easy way to troubleshoot and reduce the potential overload. If you remove the bulbs and the buzzing stops, that means that it’s time for an upgrade. Call a local licensed electrician to help you find the proper replacement for this dimmer switch.
The Problem: The light fixture connected to a dimmer switch is buzzing or humming.
The Solution: Change the bulbs.
Most often, buzzing coming from the fixture itself is usually related to the type of lightbulb you’re using. You might just need to replace the existing lightbulbs with new bulbs that have a shorter filament or lower wattage. Also, most older dimmer switches are not rated for use with LED bulbs, so be sure to pair the right bulb with your dimmer switch. CFL bulbs can also cause problems with your dimmer, so if you insist on using CFLs, make sure they’re rated as dimmable and your dimmer switch can pair with them.
The Problem: The dimmer switch is making the lights pop on, cut out, or flicker.
The Solution: Change the bulbs.
Not all bulbs are dimmable, so make sure the ones in your fixture are. Like we mentioned above, not all types of bulbs are compatible with all dimmer switches. For example, some dimmer switches do not work properly when a LED bulb is installed. If your dimmer switch isn’t dimming the lights properly, chances are that the switch and the bulbs just aren’t meant to be friends.
The Problem: The dimmer switch is hot to the touch.
The Solution: Upgrade the dimmer switch.
It can be normal for a dimmer switch to be a little warm when it is on, however if the switch is hot to the touch, it is likely that it is overloaded. There are a couple solutions that could remedy this. First, you could upgrade the dimmer switch. Some dimmer switches are rated to handle 1000-1500 watts. This is usually the simplest solution. Secondly, you could try switching out the bulbs to LEDs or CFLs which us less energy than incandescent. However, if you go this route just remember that not all dimmer switches play well with all types of bulbs, even if the bulbs are dimmable. Lastly, you could rewire the lights. Especially if the dimmer switch controls several fixtures (say, track lighting), splitting up the lights on two different dimmer switches would solve the problem. This solution requires the help of a licensed electrician.
Dimmer switches are a great way to set the ambiance in a room, or just save on your energy bill. If your dimmer switches aren’t behaving properly, give us a call – we can help!