CFL bulb & dimmer


Old 03-23-07, 10:17 AM
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Join Date: May 2006
Location: Toronto
Posts: 127
CFL bulb & dimmer

I have a light receptacle in the living room with a dimmer switch. Can I set the switch to maximum brightness and replace the incandecent bulb with a non-dimmable CFL bulb?
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Old 03-23-07, 10:24 AM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Central New York State
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If you are going to use a non-dimmable CFL then replace the switch.

While this MAY work, it also MAY NOT work. Further, you or someone else will eventually adjust the dimmer without realizing it until too late.
Old 03-23-07, 11:25 AM
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Chesapeake, VA
Posts: 340
It varies from CFL to CFL and dimmer to dimmer. For dimmers who bypass the dimming circuit when they're on full, there's really no problems. Other dimmers (as well as motion sensors, electric eyes and other electronic switches) will introduce other frequencies onto the line and will cause CFLs to flicker and quickly burn out.

I'm told you can buy dimmable CFLs and I've seen them online, but I've never seen one in the stores around here.
Old 03-23-07, 11:39 AM
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Join Date: May 2006
Location: Toronto
Posts: 127
Thanks for the advice. Didn't realize there's more to the dimming feature than just the adjustment of resistance to control the current going into the bulb. I will probably have to replace the switch.

When replacing the switch can I just follow the same wiring setup or is there an extra wire that I will need to leave unattached?

Yes, I've heard of dimmable CFL but they are expensive, about $50+ each and are said to not work very well. I scoured the big box stores for one but they don't carry it. Mostly specialty stores or online.
Old 03-23-07, 12:00 PM
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: United States
Posts: 18,497
The following discussion ignores ground wires and screws for simplification.

If it's a regular dimmer, it will have two wires. A regular switch will have two screws. The same two things connected to the two dimmer wires will connect to the two screws on the switch.

If it's a 3-way dimmer, it will have three wires, one colored differently than the other two. A 3-way switch will have three screws, one colored differently than the other two. Connect whatever's connected to the odd-colored wire to the odd-colored screw, and connect the other two either way.

If you find multiple wires connected to one dimmer wire, you'll need to use a wire nut to connect these multiple wires to one short wire so that you'll only have one wire for each screw on the switch.
Old 03-23-07, 01:43 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Near Lansing, Michigan
Posts: 10,342
> light receptacle in the living room with a dimmer switch.

You shouldn't have a dimmer controlling a receptacle anyway; this violates code. Replace the dimmer switch with a standard toggle switch as the other posters have described and kill two birds with one stone.
Old 03-23-07, 02:15 PM
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: NE Wis / Paris France{ In France for now }
Posts: 4,808
Per NEC code the dimmer switch is not allow to hook up directlly with the repecaile [ plug in ] at all.

only allowed for hardwired lumiaires only but there are other option you can use the dimmer but i am not sure some store do have " table top dimmer device " and few other sort.

so please do it in safe manner with the set up

Merci , Marc
Old 03-26-07, 07:06 AM
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Join Date: May 2006
Location: Toronto
Posts: 127
Sorry I was not clear. No, the dimmer didn't control an outlet (receptacle). I was referring to a light fixture coming down from the ceiling. Yes, as I intend to replace the bulb with a CFL to save energy I will need to replace the switch for sure. Thanks.

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