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Does using a dimmer switch affect the cost of electricity?

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Answered 2015-07-15 21:46:15

All a solid-state dimmer does is fire a triac at the correct point in the phase to control the power output. It does not dissipate the excess power like a variable resistor. The triac has about 3/4 of a volt drop across it. With a 120W light bulb this means that the dimmer will dissipate 3/4 of a watt at maximum power, which is negligible. So the dimmer will save energy in the long-run.

The dimmer circuit is actually a power regulator, albiet a choppy one. The lower the setting, the less time the lamp is turned on during each cycle. Thus, the overall power consumption is decreased.

How do I know this? I've built light dimmers. Ask me about the ramp voltage.

The truth is logical. Less light less energy!

Not as much as switching to compact fluorescent bulbs.

Do not use a dimmer on CFLs, as it can damage both the bulb and the dimmer.Another option is to switch to an LED lighting which is a solid state lighting. The advantage of this is that you save as much energy as using a CFL while still retaining the capability to dim the bulb thus giving you increased energy savings.


The answers above are not completely accurate. Dimming a light DOES cause it to use less electricity. There are many dimming technologies. Some do "chop" the wave using triacs or SCRs. Others produce a normal sine wave output at lower amplitude, although these are used more often in theatrical and commercial dimming systems.

It is possible to dim a CFL lamp without damaging the lamp or the dimmer. The CFL lamps must be designed to be dimmable (many are now, check the specs). Similarly, not all LED lamps are dimmable--check the specs (most are dimmable but depends on the electronics).

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Does using a dimmer switch affect the electricity usage?

Newer dimmers are based on the "triac" principle which will cut costs of running lamps. This is achieved by allowing electricity to cycle through the bulbs at less than 60 hz thus causing the bulb to use less energy. Some old dimmers were purely resistive dimmers thus, electricity not being used by the lamp was dissipated as heat by the dimmer. This style dimmer showed no electricity savings.

Does using a dimmer switch reduce electricity usage?

Newer dimmers are based on the "triac" principle which will cut costs of running lamps. This is achieved by allowing electricity to cycle through the bulbs at less than 60 hz thus causing the bulb to use less energy. Some old dimmers were purely resistive dimmers thus, electricity not being used by the lamp was dissipated as heat by the dimmer. This style dimmer showed no electricity savings.

Is it possible to wire a dimmer switch off another dimmer switch for a completeley different light?

No, the dimmer switch needs its own individual circuit power supply to feed the fixtures connected to it. The black of the second dimmer switch can not be connected to the red wire of the first dimmer switch. Now if you are talking about using a common "hot" to feed two dimmer switches then this can be done. The neutrals will be common also. So what you should have is two black wires connected together with the incoming "hot". Two neutrals connected together with the incoming white. The red from each dimmer is then connected to its own individual fixture load.

If a dimmer switch will not turn off completely and one dims the lights off with the dimmer switch is there a chance of causing an electrical fire at the switch?

Your question is a bit unclear and vague, but if you have a dimmer switch and you turn it all the way to its lowest setting then the switch should not fail because of that. If there is nothing wrong with your electrical system then using a device exactly how it was designed to be used then there is no reason why it would catch on fire.

If a dimmer switch is turned to a low position but not off is it still on?

Yes it is still on and using as much power as if it was on full

What should you do if you install a dimmer switch in a room and it does not dim the fixture lights?

Some lights won't dim. If you've installed the switch properly, and are using traditional incandescent bulbs (not flourescent, LED, E-L lights or any other very low current light), the dimmer will dim the bulbs. Make sure you're using a dimmable bulb and that the dimmer is installed properly.

How do you make bulb light using a switch?

In a theoretical ciucuit, a switch is not essential. What is needed is a source of electricity.

Does leaving the switch on to a switched outlet use electricity if nothing is plugged into the outlet?

No, if nothing is plugged in pulling current then you are using no electricity by leaving the switch in the on position.

Can xenon lamps be used with a dimmer switch?

120 volt xenon bulbs are fully dimmable just like a regular incandescent bulbs, using regular old 120 volt dimmer switches.

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Using coal releases pollution in the atmosphere.

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What city was the first to switch from using torch light to electricity?

Menlo Park from California was the first city to switch from using torch light to electricity in 1882. This has happened because of the funds invested in the research projects about direct current conducted by Thomas Alva Edison.

Are you using electricity if the switch is on but the bulb is not screwed in enough to light up?

i would say that you would not be using any as there would be no current flow.

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What do you if the interior cab lights on a 1997 Ford Ranger will not turn off?

Did you try turning the dimmer switch to a lower setting, sometimes the dome light will stay on even if the door is closed if the switch is set to high. But if the dimmer switch is set propertly, and the light remains on for a few minutes, the problem is most probably a defective relay. There are 3 relays on my 97 Ford Ranger, and I have not found out which controls the light. The relays cost too much just to buy 3 of them. If tou have tried dimmer switch and that did not work try using wd 40 on the the latches. The interior lights stay on until the switch in the door is cleaned and lubed. The switch is within door latches on for ranger. !

If a light bulb is burned out and the switch is on are you still using electricity?

A standard filament bulb works on the principle that it gets hot and glows when a current is passed through it. If the filament has burned out (blown) it is open circuit and no current can flow. Therefore you are not using any electricity even if the switch is still on It may still use power if it is a lighted switch. Find a licensed electrician at

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By Throwing Garbage In The Environment. Cutting Down Trees. Using to much Electricity.

Iam installing a double dimmer into two reading lamps using two core cable how do you connect the wires to the terminals?

You need to have three wires to make it work-- one common, two switch legs

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Dimmer requires less energy for the same reason it is easier for us to lift on pund than twenty pounds; its easier.

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What are some things that consumers can do to save electricity and lower their electric bills?

You can use an electricity monitor to measure the electrical usage of various electrical appliances at home. You may find that many items on standby are actually consuming a fair amount of electricity. You can then switch those items off when you are not using them.