Installing a lamp dimmer and fan control is quite simple. These simple step-by-step instructions should work for standard dimmers or fan controls. Check the instructions included with your specific switch to be sure.
Tools and materials to install the dimmer and fan controls
- Set of screwdrivers
- Fine-tipped forceps
- Wire Stripper
- Cable Cutter
- Regulator or fan control
- Wall plate (if necessary)
- Assembling hardware
- Cable connector nuts
- Insulating tape
- Scotch tape
Installing dimmers and fan controls
Although they look similar, the fan controls and dimmers have different functions. Always use the correct key for your application. Look at the packaging to see if the switch is for a light or a fan motor.
Step 1: turn off the power
Remember that you are working with electricity, so cut off the power on the switch panel or the fuse box.
Make sure the power is off by turning the switch lights on and off.
Remove the wall plate and switch mounting screws to allow the switch to be removed from the wall and expose the wires. Do not touch the wires before confirming that they are de-energized.
Step 2: disconnect the old switch
Use tape to mark the wires connected to the switch. These are the cables you need to connect to your new regulator. If you have a digital camera in hand, take a picture of the current wiring in case you need to use it when installing the new switch.
If you are replacing a three-way switch, use tape to mark the common wire. This wire is usually connected to a darker terminal (than the other two wires) on the switch.
Disconnect all wires from the old switch, loosening the screws and releasing the wires.
Step 3: connect the new switch
For unipolar application of a dimmer switch, this means that the light will only be controlled by the switch to be replaced, connect the green wire of the switch to the copper ground wire of the box using the connector provided. Rotate clockwise to adjust.
For three-way application of a dimmer switch, this means that the light is controlled from this switch and from another location, connect the common wire of the dimmer, which is usually black, to the common household wire that you previously marked with tape. Connect the other two wires in the house, called traveling wires, to the other two wires of the regulator, just like with the standard switch. In a typical three-way switch configuration, the transport wires are red or white with black markings.
Step 4 Install the dimmer and fan controls: replace the wall plate
Carefully reconnect the wires to the electrical box.
Place the switch on the wall. Align the wrench and tighten the screws.
Attach the wall plate to the switch. Secure it with the screws on the wall plate.
Reconnect power to the circuit breaker panel or fuse box.
Tools, products, materials, techniques, building codes and local regulations vary. The reader must always take reasonable precautions, respect current codes and regulations that may apply and should consult a certified professional if in doubt about any of the procedures.