Dimmer Switch Doesn’t Dim: What to Do?

A dimmer switch lets you control the room’s ambiance. It makes the time you spend at home more enjoyable. However, the fun is spoiled if your dimmer switch doesn’t dim. Let’s look at the culprits and how to fix each situation.

Improper Dimmer Switch Installation

One of the most common reasons why dimmer switches won’t dim is because of improper installation. While you can turn the dimmer on, you won’t be able to adjust the light’s brightness if the switch wasn’t set up correctly.

To confirm the problem, you may have to remove the plate and reinstall the device if needed. However, we highly recommend that you seek the help of an expert technician.

An electrician would pull the switch off the wall and make sure it is wired correctly and the wires are tightly connected.

Voltage Supply Issue

An insufficient voltage supply can also cause the dimmer switch not to function according to its intended purpose.

You see, an electrical circuit that has enough voltage allows more electrons to do the work. Having sufficient electrons to carry an ample supply of charges makes the dimmer switch function efficiently.

If your dimmer switch operates with correct voltage can be checked an electrical voltage tester. But also for this part you need to hire an electrician.

The Dimmer Switch Is Overloaded

Using a dimmer switch beyond its maximum wattage capacity could also cause dimming problems. In other words, when you connect the switch in a circuit that has too many lamps, its dimming ability could be compromised.

That said, make sure that you don’t overload the dimmer switch by checking both its wattage rating as well as the bulbs.

How to Know if the Dimmer Switch Is Overloaded

  1. Check the wattage capacity of the dimmer switch, which you can find either on the front part of the device or beneath its cover plate.
  2. Check the wattage rating of all the bulbs connected to the circuit.
  3. Add all the bulbs’ wattage ratings and then compare the sum to the dimmer’s wattage capacity.
  4. If the bulbs’ total wattage exceeds the dimmer’s capacity, reduce the number of bulbs connected to the circuit.
  5. Once done, turn the dimmer on and then adjust the switch from low to high.
  6. Check if the light slowly intensifies.

The Dimmer Switch and Bulbs Aren’t Compatible

While it’s true that most dimmer switches are optimized to work with most light bulbs, not all are compatible with each other. This incompatibility could sometimes lead to dimming issues.

You might see the light’s intensity go down to unusually low levels. The light may also sometimes flicker and or produce buzzing sounds.

Additionally, you might experience a light dropout. It’s when the lights suddenly turn off even before reaching the device’s dimming level. On the contrary, the lights could sometimes intensify too much and unexpectedly when the dimming level reaches a certain point.

Likewise, when facing a compatibility issue, the light may show consistent brightness no matter how you adjust the dimmer switch.

What to Do to Prevent Compatibility Issues

The best way to resolve compatibility issues is by either replacing the lamps or the dimmer switch. However, before buying either, make sure that they both have the same specifications. You can get that information from the product’s spec sheets.

You also have to make sure that the lamps you’re purchasing are dimmable. You’d know it if the light bulb has a dimmable icon printed on its packaging.

Likewise, take note that some rotary dimmers for incandescent lighting might not work with some LED or CFL lamps.

Damaged Dimmer Switch Components

There are several reasons why dimmers get damaged.

Needless to say, components such as the rheostat tend to deteriorate because of repeated use. Some other parts could also get broken, especially when the faceplate screws are overtightened.

A sudden power surge or wattage overload could likewise harm this device. On top of that, repeated arcing because of switch and wire mismatch can make the device brittle over time.

Lastly, unsuspecting users like kids might have regularly applied excessive pressure to the switch.

These damages could compromise the performance of your dimmer switch, making its dimming ability malfunction.

What to Do When the Dimmer Switch Is Damaged

The first thing to do in this situation is to check if the dimmer switch is still under warranty. If it is, take chances and use the warranty regardless of the damage.

Let the manufacturer tell you if they could issue a replacement.

However, if the manufacturer won’t replace your dimmer switch, the most viable option is to buy a new one. Hiring a professional to install the device for you could significantly reduce the chance of getting it damaged again.