LED dimmers allow you to control the amount of energy sent to your LED lights, which can make them a great alternative to conventional incandescent or halogen light bulbs. You can choose to have soft, warm lighting that’s ideal for relaxing or reading or bright, crisp light for kitchen work and other activities.
The first step to connecting your new dimmer is to install it into an electrical box with the screws that come with the dimmer kit. You may also need to splice the wires to the switch using a wire nut or butt splice if your system uses a metal conduit for grounding instead of a standard plastic box.
You will need a dimmer that’s compatible with your LED lighting and has been tested by the manufacturer to ensure it works well with their bulbs. Most manufacturers will include a dimmer compatibility chart in their product packaging and on their website.
A dimmer switch reduces the amount of power delivered to your LED lamps by trimming a section of the waveform on the lead or trailing edge. These cutting points are called “trim” or “dimming”.
Most manufacturers state that their dimmable LED bulbs and fixtures are compatible with the majority of common ‘trailing edge’ household dimmers. However, there are some dimmers out there that use a different technology called “leading-edge” dimmers. These dimmers use either a Triode for Alternating Current (TRIAC) or Silicon Controlled Rectifier (SCR) device to trim the leading edges of the half-sine waves to produce the desired dimming effect.
This means that some dimmers will cause strobes or flickering in your LED lighting when used with certain dimmable LED bulbs. This type of symptom can be frustrating for homeowners because it is not always easy to tell what’s causing the issue.
* Flickering is a symptom of a faulty dimmer switch or bulb. It occurs when the light’s brightness changes suddenly, often accompanied by a buzzing or humming sound that may be audible. This is a sign that your dimmer isn’t compatible with the LED light or bulb that you have chosen to replace the existing light.
Some dimmers will only work with a single LED bulb, others will work with several. Some will even support multi-way dimming, which can be particularly useful for controlling a large number of LED bulbs from a single switch.
Choosing the Right Dimmer for Your LED Lighting
When choosing a dimmer, consider your lighting needs, the installation method and budget. Many modern dimmers have a range of settings, making it possible to change the intensity and color temperature of your LED lights with ease.
The most important thing is to find a dimmer that has been tested by the manufacturer to be compatible with your LED lights and has a load range that straddles the wattage of the circuit you want to dim. Generally, this means that the dimmer has been tested to work with a minimum load of 60W or more, but in some cases it can be as low as 20W.