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How to test a dimmer switch

Updated April 17, 2017

Adding a dimmer to your room is an inexpensive way to upgrade a home. Dimmers reduce energy usage by lowering the light levels in a room. Unlike ordinary receptacles, a dimmer has wire leads instead of line and load terminals. If you believe that a dimmer switch may be faulty, test the device to ensure that the problem lies with the dimmer switch and not circuit connections. Replace any faulty dimmers with working ones as soon as possible.

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  1. Turn the breaker to the dimmer circuit off at the service panel. The service panel houses all of the breakers to a home's electrical system.

  2. Remove the dimmer cover plate from the wall using the screwdriver. Disconnect the dimmer from the wires located within the outlet box. Loosen wire nuts and remove electrician's tape from the wires.

  3. Attach the continuity tester's alligator clip to one of the dimmer wire leads. Hold the continuity tester's probe to the other dimmer wire lead. If the continuity tester's continuity LED glows, the device is working; otherwise, you have a faulty dimmer switch.

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Things You'll Need

  • Continuity tester
  • Screwdriver

About the Author

Necie Reed

Necie Reed began writing professionally in 2009. Her work appears online, focusing on topics about technology, software, video games and relationships. She also blogs and is the owner of a forum website. Reed earned her Bachelor of Science in technology from Devry University and her Master of Business Administration in project management from Keller Graduate School.

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