Dimmer Switches Tips

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What do rheostats do for my home lighting?

Rheostats Are Where It's At

Lighting Advice: You call it a dimmer switch. The experts formally call it a rheostat—but don't choose the older rheostats that waste energy. Whatever the name, these new slick electronic remote controls allow you to, in the words of Southern California Edison, "Flex Your Power." What do rheostats do?

  • Save eyestrain and fatigue you get from working under the wrong halogen lighting or fluorescent home lighting.
  • Create a mood for every room, from cheerful and expansive to warm and cozy.
  • Save energy by cutting out three-way bulbs and making existing bulbs last 20 times longer.
  • Glow in the dark for easy location.
  • Work in nearly every home, even mid-century or turn-of-the-century.
  • Come in a variety of styles and colors.

A dimmer switch gives you plenty of options, from the light level to the kind of dimmer switch. You can use the rotary dimmer switch you might have grown up with. The new trend is slide rheostats, which allow full-range, total dimming control and a glow-in-the-dark light level indicator. Another model, the one-touch dimmer switch, stores the previous lighting level. And as with everything else in this modern age, dimmer switches multitask.

You can have a multi-set dimming system that controls all the lighting within a room. Of course, as with other high-tech systems, you can operate multi-set dimming home lighting systems with a click of the remote. So, hats off to rheostats!

What do rheostats do for my home lighting?

What's That Buzz?

So, you're new dimmer switch is installed and creating perfect lighting is a breeze. The problem is, however, that you keep hearing an annoying buzz. No worries, this is a problem that is typically easy to fix. The first thing that you should do is to upgrade the bulbs in your fixtures. Splurge and buy the higher quality bulbs (and get them from a different manufacturer).

Most of the time this will eliminate the buzzing. If the posts inside the bulb are cheap, they buzz due to vibrations, but if they are stronger, like those used in most high quality light bulbs, no vibrating sounds will be emitted. If, changing the bulb doesn't work, consider upgrading your dimmer switch.

I have installed 3 halogen lamps on a track to illuminate a computer area, connected to a wall dimmer switch. They flicker and pulse-very annoying. It resolves when they are turned up all the way, but any decrease in the output makes a flicker. Any suggestions?

Dimmers and Flickers

If the halogen track lighting around your computer area flickers and pulses when you try to lower the light to reduce glare, your computer may not be to blame, especially if your dimmer switch is located away from EMF interference.

Lights that flicker and pulse when you adjust them with a dimmer switch may not be matched--you may have a low wattage dmmer with high wattage bulbs. If you have a low voltage bulb, you need a dimmer switch that matches. If you have a standard or high voltage bulb, you need a dimmer switch to match. Check the voltage of your dimmer switch and of your bulbs. If they don't match, there's the source of your problem.

What rooms don't need a dimmer switch?

No Dimmer Switch Required

Lighting Advice: You're not a dimbulb, but you just don't think dimmer switches belong everywhere. That's a bright notion! If you have a white downlight Kichler ceiling light or pendant light in a room such as the closet, you don't need a dimmer switch. The whole point of closet lighting is to be able to see your clothes. In the wrong light, you can mistake navy blue for black.

Lighting should prevent a fashion faux pas. A recessed or surface-mounted linear closet light should show you how many pairs of shoes you have without you needing to tone down the light. Unless you're embarrassed about the ring around your tub, you don't need a dimmer switch for your halogen lighting or incandescent lighting in the bathroom. Bathroom home lighting should suit the task of dressing, washing and primping. As a rule, a dimmer switch belongs in a room where you need atmosphere or greater control over the light level.

Do I need special wiring to connect a residential dimmer switch?

Dimmer Switch

We've all seen a dimmer switch before but do we really need to set our home lighting on a dimmer? Well, that all depends on how versatile you want your lighting quality to be. These devices be put in any room of the house (bedrooms, bathrooms, home offices, etc.). The beauty of them is that they can change dimmers can change the type of light given off at any time.

In the bathroom, for example, a dimmer allows you to have direct task lighting when doing intricate tasks such as applying make-up and shaving. But, the lighting can be made softer for say, providing a night light so you can find your way through the bathroom in the middle of the night without getting blinded. In the bedroom, a dimmer enables you to change from direct lighting for reading, to soft lighting for hanging out and watching television.

Want some lighting advice? Invest in a dimmer and give your rooms multiple personalities.

How do I keep my dimmer switch from overheating?

Selecting Lighting

When you're moving into a new home or redecorating a room in your home, lighting is something that you will need to look into. Do you want some great lighting advice? It's important to take the following things into consideration:

  • What kind of mood do you want to create?
  • What different activities will go on in that room?
  • What decorations or areas do you want to draw attention to?

Once you figure out what you are trying to achieve in your room, it will be easier to select fixtures. It is a good idea to have between five and ten lighting sources in a room. If you're dealing with a multi-functional room it's a good idea to only use the lights you need at that moment or perhaps to install a dimmer switch so that you can control the amount of light that each lighting fixture emits.

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Guru Spotlight
Lynne Christen