Replacing a single pole switch with a dimmer switch is not that difficult to do. Here’s how to go about it:

  1. Choose a dimmer switch with enough rated wattage capacity to handle the combined wattage of all the lights it will control.
  2. Select a dimmer switch that is designed for a single or multi (3-way) switch, depending on your requirements.
  3. Turn off the circuit breaker for the switch and fixture.
  4. Remove the cover plate on the existing switch and use an electrical tester to make sure the power is off.
  5. Unscrew the switch from the box.
  6. Unscrew the wires from the existing switch.
  7. Connect the wires to the dimmer switch, following the wiring instructions that came with it, connecting the ground wire as well.
  8. Screw the dimmer switch to the electrical box.
  9. Screw the cover plate to the dimmer switch.
  10. Turn the circuit breaker back on and test the dimmer switch.

Watch this video to find out more.

CFLs and Dimmer Switches

Compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL) can’t be used with a dimmer switch unless they specifically state that they are designed to work with a dimmer switch.

Further Information

Editorial Contributors
Danny Lipford

Danny Lipford


Danny Lipford is a home improvement expert and television personality who started his remodeling business, Lipford Construction, at the age of 21 in Mobile, Alabama. He gained national recognition as the host of the nationally syndicated television show, Today's Homeowner with Danny Lipford, which started as a small cable show in Mobile. Danny's expertise in home improvement has also led him to be a contributor to popular magazines and websites and the go-to source for advice on everything related to the home. He has made over 200 national television appearances and served as the home improvement expert for CBS's The Early Show and The Weather Channel for over a decade. Danny is also the founder of 3 Echoes Content Studio,, and Checking In With Chelsea, a décor and lifestyle blog.

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