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Install A Dimmer Switch

Removing The Old Switch: Turn off the power at your main power box. Take off the plastic cover switch. Next test to see if the electricity was completely shut off by touching the wires and terminals (screws located at the side of the switch) with a voltage indicator. If the indicator’s light goes on, you still have power and must go back to the power box and turn off the correct circuit breaker or fuse.

Remove the screws that attach the switch to the outlet box. Pull out the switch a little, but remember the switch is not completely free because it is still attached to the wires. Gently pull the switch out of the box so you have some room to work with the wires. Use a screwdriver to loosen the terminals (screws) on the switch and unwind the wires from around the screws. If the wires were inserted into the holes in the back of the switch, place a small screwdriver into the slot located next to each hole to release the wires. Remove the old switch.

Installing The Switch: Connect the wires that were attached to the single pole switch with the wires from the dimmer switch. You will need about ˝” of bare wire to connect them, so you may have to use a wire stripper to strip the insulation from the wires on the original switch. Connect the green or copper ground wires from the outlet box to the dimmer switch by placing them side by side in your hand and slightly twisting the tops of the wires together. Place an electrical cap (or wire nut) on top, covering both wires, and screw the cap clockwise until it is tight. Take one of the black wires from the dimmer switch and connect it to the black wire from the outlet box, twisting them as you did for the green wires. Place an electrical cap on top, covering both wires, and screw the cap clockwise until it is tight. Repeat the same steps for the white wires. Be careful to check that all the caps are tight and no bare wires are exposed. Make sure the ground wire is not touching the other wires. Gently push the wires and dimmer switch back into place and screw it into the outlet box. Turn on the power at the main power box. Use a voltage indicator to check to see if the switch is receiving electricity. Screw on the outlet cover.
If the new switch does not work, turn off the main power and repeat all steps. If it still doesn’t work, call an electrician.


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