Save Energy Beautifully with Dimmers
Dimmers: They'll Change Your Life
Explore the countless ways that dimmers can change your life (insert tongue in cheek).
We hope you liked our light-hearted take on dimmers and how they can offer a great way to enhance the look and feel of a room - while helping the environment. A dimmer can contribute to keeping your monthly electricity bill under control.
In fact, installing a dimmer switch is one of the easiest ways you can save energy. If you dim an incandescent, halogen, or xenon bulb by 25 percent, you'll save 20 percent on the cost of electricity, and you'll extend the life of the lamp (it will last 6 years on average). Dim more, and you'll save even more and bulbs will last even longer. So while you're saving energy, you're reducing landfill waste, too. When you purchase a dimmer, halogen or otherwise, you are helping your energy budget in an earth-friendly fashion!
To find out how much money you could save using a dimmer visit Lutron's energy saving calculator at http://www.lutron.com/en-US/Education-Training/Pages/Tools/EnergySavingCalc.aspx.
Another environmental benefit of reducing energy demands is that CO2 emissions from power plants are reduced. In fact, if every household in the U.S. installed one dimmer switch this year, we would reduce CO2 emissions equivalent to that from 370,000 cars and save $230 million in electricity.
Change the Mood in a Minute
A dimmer allows you to create different levels of light - meaning you can change the mood of a room whenever you want with the simple touch of a button. Install a halogen dimmer in your bedroom, for example, and wake up slowly to a soft, gentle light. Later, get dressed and ready for your day in a brightly-lit room. In the evening, watch TV or relax with the lights dimmed to the perfect levels.
A halogen dimmer can also add benefits to rooms you may not have considered such as a bathroom or kitchen. Dimmed light in the bathroom creates a retreat - the perfect setting for a soothing bath - or softens the transition into your morning routine. Dimming also accentuates the warmth of the room, helping you to unwind after a busy day.
The kitchen is the center of family life. With lighting controls, it can be as versatile as any other room in your home. Here, a dimmer lets you brighten lights at breakfast or for preparing meals, and lower them to catch up with your family over an evening snack, all while saving energy.
However, bathrooms and kitchens are not the only places a dimmer can be used. Many of us at Pegasus use dimmers in every room of my house - bedrooms, dining room, family room, hallways, living room, and media or bonus room. Many businesses use halogen dimmers in conference rooms, restaurants, taverns, and theaters.
How Does a Dimmer Work?
An electrical component in the dimmer, called a triac, actually turns the light on and off very rapidly - a whopping 120 times per second. But, just like when you watch a movie and your eye "smoothes out" the rapid movement changes, your eye perceives a steady dimmed light level. The longer the light is "on" versus "off", the brighter the lights appear. Conversely, when the light is "off" more than "on", the lights are dimmer.
Line and Low Voltage
Residential light fixtures use either line voltage (120 volts) or low voltage (12 or 24 volts). Make sure to buy dimmer switches with the appropriate voltage rating. In addition, when choosing a low voltage dimmer make sure to know whether the low voltage light fixture uses an electronic or magnetic transformer. If you install a "magnetic dimmer" to control a light fixture using an electronic transformer, then in all likelihood the light will flicker, and no one wants that. If you have a situation where you want one dimmer to control both a line and low voltage light fixtures, then choose a low voltage dimmer switch that matches the transformer used in the low voltage fixture.
When connecting the dimmer to power, it should always be connected to line voltage (usually 120 volts). That is, when a dimmer is used to control a low voltage transformer it is always connected between the source of the power and the primary side (the line voltage side; the 120V side) of the transformer; it is never connected to the secondary side (the low voltage side; the 12V or 24V) of the transformer.
Compact Fluorescent & LED
With the ever-growing presence of CFL and LED light bulbs in our homes and offices, new C-L dimmers are now coming to market designed specifically for these low wattage lamps. A nice benefit of these newer dimmers is that they will also provide full range dimming for incandescent and halogen light bulbs. So, you could purchase these new C-L dimmers now knowing that in the future if you move to lower wattage CFL and LED light bulbs in your light fixtures they would work.