In this video, This Old House master electrician Heath Eastman helps a homeowner fix flickering lights controlled by a dimmer switch. Heath shows us the most common issues that homeowners can run into with their dimmer switches.
SUBSCRIBE to This Old House: http://bit.ly/SubscribeThisOldHouse.
Master electrician Heath Eastman takes us on a road trip to solve a homeowner’s dimmer problem. After the homeowner explained that she upgraded the switch to a dimmer and that her track lighting is now flickering, Heath knew just where to start. After checking out the switch to ensure that it was compatible, the two discuss the different types of dimmable switches available.
Flickering Lights are a Common Problem
Dimmable lights are a desirable feature. They allow homeowners to adjust the lighting for the time of day, conserve energy, or even set the mood for a movie or romantic dinner. Many homeowners install dimmable switches to achieve this effect, but they end up with lights that simply flicker rather than dim, or switches that don’t do anything at all. Both issues are very common.
Where to find it?
Heath breaks down different types of dimmer switches and helps a homeowner troubleshoot why her dimmer switch is flickering.
It’s important to first identify what kind of transformer will be connecting the dimmer switch. There are 2 main types of low voltage transformers, and they have some distinct differences:
Electronic Low Voltage Transformers – step down 120VAC line voltage to 12VAC or 24VAC. This is executed with electronic circuits. ELV’s are smaller, lighter and more cost effective but have a lifespan of about 5-6 years.
Magnetic Low Voltage Transformers – step down 120VAC line voltage to 12VAC or 24VAC. They use copper, wound around a steel core. MLV’s are also larger, heavier, and more expensive, but have a lifespan between 15-20 years.
Universal Dimmer – designed to work with dimmable LED, dimmable CFL, incandescent and halogen bulbs. They are not usually compatible with MLV or ELV loads.
Incandescent or Halogen Dimmer – designed specifically to control incandescent and halogen bulbs. They are not designed to control LED and CFL bulbs.
Magnetic low-voltage (MLV) Dimmer – works well for recessed lights which are usually magnetic low voltage.
Magnetic low voltage lights are also often larger and heavier than electronic low voltage lights.
Electronic low-voltage (ELV) Dimmer – controls electronic low voltage transformers and dimmable LED load types.
Looking for more step by step guidance on how to complete projects around the house? Join This Old House Insider to stream over 1,000 episodes commercial-free: https://bit.ly/2GPiYbH
Plus, download our FREE app for full-episode streaming to your connected TV, phone or tablet: https://www.thisoldhouse.com/pages/streaming-app
About Ask This Old House TV:
From the makers of This Old House, America’s first and most trusted home improvement show, Ask This Old House answers the steady stream of home improvement questions asked by viewers across the United States. Covering topics from landscaping to electrical to HVAC and plumbing to painting and more. Ask This Old House features the experts from This Old House, including general contractor Tom Silva, plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey, landscape contractor Jenn Nawada, master carpenter Norm Abram, and host Kevin O’Connor. ASK This Old House helps you protect and preserve your greatest investment—your home.
Follow This Old House:
How to Troubleshoot a Dimmer Switch | Ask This Old House