Feature Story January 2006

Dimmer switches can save energy

and extend bulb life
Dimmer switches can save energy

January 2006

Looking for an easy way to add atmosphere and style to your home and save money at the same time? The Leviton Institute recommends you replace your old light switches with modern dimmer switches. Today's new dimmer switches not only look great on your walls but also offer an array of features. Plus, their energy-saving efficiency will help lower your utility bills, too.

Picking One That's Right for You

Mention dimmer switches to most people, and chances are they'll think of a rotary-style design. Still popular today, this model offers the basics: on, off, and somewhere-in between.

But why stick to the same old thing when there's so much more to choose from? For example, new touch pad models turn on when you place your finger anywhere on their flat touch pad; just slide your finger up or down to adjust the lighting level. Digital circuitry provides a soft, eye-pleasing gradual fade up or down when you turn the light on or off. This type of dimmer is ideal for seniors, who may have trouble gripping or turning switches.

Easy-to-use rocker-action dimmers feature a stylish low-profile rocker switch that responds with one tap by bringing lights up to a preset level; a second tap turns them full on. A double tap to the lower portion turns them back off again.

Fine adjustments are easy with the ultra-smooth slide dimmer. As with touch pad models, some slide dimmers come with a convenient preset switch to recall a previous light level.

There are even dual slide-type (or rotary) faders for those of you with ceiling fan/light combinations. Just think—no more guessing which chain controls which function.

One of the most modern designs is the push pad dimmer. With its return-to-neutral design, the push pad dimmer always remains aligned, whether it's on or off, and there's no dust-collecting webbing between switches. A comfort to touch and an aesthetic treat for the eye, each push pad dimmer features a glowing blue locator LED to help you find it in a dark room.

In the Mood

Creating mood around the house is easy with dimmer switches. Want some real movie theater atmosphere when you're watching a DVD? Dim the lights to low in your media room. Reading a magazine or playing a game with friends in the living room? Bring the lights up to near full.

For some real lighting magic, try one of the "scene-capable" dimmers. Individual fixtures can be programmed to different light levels in up to seven distinct custom- designed "scenes." As an added convenience, a handy remote is available to help change scenes and moods, from anywhere in the room.

Energy Savings

With a dimmer switch, less is more—more money, that is. Dim your lights by a quarter, you increase your energy savings by 20 percent; dim them by half, increase your savings 40 percent. You also extend bulb life up to 20 times when you dim a bulb halfway.

Sleek, functional, economical; no matter how you add it up, dimmer switches not only help beautify a home, they also can make life more convenient for homeowners.

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