Can You Put a Dimmer on a Halogen Bulb?

Halogen bulbs are great energy savers. Everyone is converting to light bulbs that save energy and last longer. Now that people are using halogen bulbs the question is, can they be used in ways similar to incandescent bulbs? When replacing a light bulb with a halogen bulb, will the light work the same with dimmer switches and other electrical connections?

Differences Between Light Bulbs

According to GE's Consumer information, "halogen bulb technology is a great improvement over regular bulbs - they last around 4 times longer while providing a superior quality of light." Halogen lamps are smaller, last longer, have whiter light that is brighter than incandescent bulbs and they use less energy. Unfortunately, not all halogen lamps have bases that fit into conventional bulb sockets. However, there are lamp hardware manufacturers that produce various styles of halogen sockets. Lighting companies are starting to produce halogens that can be used anywhere incandescent bulbs are used.

Electrical Connections

Halogen lamps that run at line voltage (regular house wiring) work the same as incandescent bulbs on dimmer switches. If the light fixture is running off a transformer, then it is important to find out if the transformer is dimmable. According to Pegasus Associates Lighting, "dimmers should always be connected to line voltage." One of the advantages of using dimmers is that they extend the life of both regular bulbs and halogen lamps. Many hardware stores sell dimmer switches for halogen lamps and dimmer switches combined with halogen lamps in the same unit. Sylvania (one of the leading manufacturers of halogen lamps) introduced in 2009 a Halogen Supersaver lamp that is designed for homes, fits in traditional incandescent sockets and boasts a 30 per cent energy savings. According to Sylvania "The Sylvania Halogen Supersaver is also dimmable and features instant-on capability."

Types of Halogen Bulbs

Halogen lamps come in a large variety of sizes and shapes. Everything from flood lamps and reflectors to vanity globes and drop lighting are available. Manufacturers make different beam angles and wattages for home and industrial use. Sylvania, Philips, GE and other manufacturers make halogen lamps that are dimmable. Halogen lights are found in most lighting products and, according to Sylvania, auto manufacturers use halogen lamps for "standard factory headlights in the majority of all vehicles on the road today."

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About the Author

Caroline Thompson is a professional photojournalist who has been working for print and online publications since 1999. Her work has appeared in the "Sacramento Bee," "People Magazine," "Newsweek" and other publications. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in photojournalism from California State University at Hayward and a personal trainer certification from the university's Health and Fitness Institute.