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How to Choose a Dimmer Switch Based on Lighting Type

Adding dimmer switches to your home is a great way to save energy and gain complete control over the intesity of lighting, reducing eye strain and adding ambiance of your interior lighting.

Choosing a Dimmer Based on Lighting Type

Not all dimmer switches are created equally. Your electrician will ensure you get the right type of dimmer based on the type of lighting you wish to control.

Every kind of lighting has certain characteristics, or load types, which require a particular type of dimmer. Therefore, it is important to use a dimmer switch that is designed for your specific lighting type. These include:

  • Incandescent/Halogen; Resistive
  • Magnetic Low-voltage (MLV); Inductive
  • Electronic Low-voltage (ELV); Capacitive
  • Neon/Cold Cathode; Highly Inductive
  • Fluorescent: Electronic Fluorescent Dimming Ballast; Special dimmers are used to transmit power and control input to each type of electronic fluorescent dimming ballast.
  • Light Emitting Diode (LED); Special dimmers are designed to send power and control signals to each type of electronic LED driver.

Dimmer Switches and Heat Dissipation

By design, dimmers will get warm to the touch. About 1% of the energy is dissipated through the dimmer as heat. This can be up to 6 watts of heat for a 600 watt fixture.

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