Do You Need Special Light Bulbs For Dimmer Switches?

With the advent of new technology in light bulbs, dimmer switches have become even more complicated. Specifically, what kind of bulbs are compatible with what type of dimmer switch? It used to be that you would simply put a dimmer switch on a wall and you could easily adjust the light levels of a lamp. However, this is no longer the case. In this article I will discuss how to find the dimmer switches that fit your lamps.

How dimmer works: To understand compatibility, it is important to understand how dimmer works. Light bulbs have both tension and effect on them. Voltage determines what type of current enters a light bulb, while watts determine the power of the current. Contrary to what you might think, it is the voltage of the current that is affected by the dimmer, not the wattage. This can cause chaos with some light bulbs if they get the wrong voltage.

Bulbs: Light bulbs will work with any dimmer switch. That's because light bulbs just burn out if you go over their excitement, not if you stay under it. Running a light bulb with lower voltage can actually increase its life. If anything, you would look for the cheapest available dimmers, because you don't need more.

Fluorescent lamps: Fluorescence is much more complicated. If you put a lower voltage current through a fluorescent bulb that is not intended to be dimmed, your bulb will start to diaper and then simply shut down, without ever dimming. To fog fluorescent lamps, you need two things. First you need a bulb with what is called a "dimmable ballast". It will say so on the package if it has one. Second, you need a dimmer that is compatible with your lamp. The problem is that standard dimmers are not fully compatible with all dimmable fluorescent lamps, although fluorescent ones say so on the box. Instead, it is better that you get a dimmer that is specially designed for fluorescent lamps or CFL. These switches say they are specially designed for fluorescent lamps.