Selecting a Dimmer – Types and Styles

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 20,546
    Home Maintenance Expert Steve McCurdy dicusses the various types and styles of lighting dimmer switches.

    Steve McCurdy: Hi, this is Steve McCurdy from Leviton Manufacturing, and we are here today to talk about selecting a dimmer. Now dimmers come in multiple styles and colors. We'll start over here with a basic rotary type dimmer, it's called the trimatron, and you've probably seen many of these in some homes, particularly older homes. So you can just simply turn the nob on the dimmer, and it actually lights or you adjust it to the light level that you choose. This is what's called the electromechanical dimmer. Now the difference between an electromechanical dimmer and a digital dimmer, is the ability to dim it from multiple locations. So if you had that bottom of the stairs, then in the top of the stairs, and you wanted to turned it on and off, and also dim it from both locations, you would need a digital dimmer for that, versus an electromechanical.

    Now styling goes along with toggle type products, this is what's called the toggle touch. It allows you to turned it on, just like you would normally do a toggle switch, and then simply touch the side of the dimmer to adjust that to the light level, that you choose. When you shut it off, that dimmer will stay at the level that you left it at, it's called the preset.

    Other types of touch technology, start to work into what we called a Decora Styling. The true touch dimmer, allows you to simply touch the device. There is no mechanical mechanism here, and as long as you touch it, it'll raise the light level to what you desire. If you want to shut it off, you simply hold that part of the dimmer and it'll lower to that level.

    Now most of these dimmers are available in multiple, multiple colors. So pretty much anything that will meet to decorum of your home. This is an illumatech dimmer, this is an electromechanical dimmer, and a lot of times you can tell the difference between an electromechanical dimmer and a digital dimmer, in the way that you actually physically operate the device. So if you are physically moving a dimmer up and down, with the mechanical means, that's an electromechanical dimmer.

    Versus something like this, which is the Vizia+ type dimmer, this is a digital dimmer. So with a simple touch of the hand, the dimmer raise up or lower with one stroke. You're not mechanically adjusting the dimmer. It also allows you to dim from multiple locations up to nine locations, if you need to.

    Going forward you have architectural, very high styling of products, this is called the acenti dimmer. This allows you to also dim from multiple locations, and at the simple touch of a hand, you can simply adjust the light level. So there's lots of styles to choose, one for just about every home out there. Next we're going to talk about the various types of loads, that go into the lighting of your home, and making sure that we select the proper dimmer for that application.