One of the easiest things you can do to improve the functionality of lighting in your home or business is by adding dimmers. With this simple addition, a space can be dramatically changed, and the best part is it is as easy a swapping out a switch.
Each dimmable fixture or light bulb features a certain technology that will determine what type of dimmer will be needed. It's very important to ensure that the dimmer matches up with the technology of the fixture in order for it to function properly.
Types of Dimmers
Standard/Rotary: This is the oldest type of dimmer on the market. These dimmers are designed to work with incandescent. They work by turning the knob to lower the amount of power that reaches the lamp or fixture and therefor reducing the amount of light generated.
Magnetic Low Voltage (MLV): These dimmers are designed to be used with a magnetic driver. This feeds the power in such a way that the driver can determine and respond properly without damaging the driver hardware.
Electronic Low Voltage (ELV): Just like the MLV dimmer, the ELV dimmer is designed for use with an electronic driver. It's also the dimmer that is required for most dimmable LED fixtures.
CL: This dimmer was designed for smooth usage of CFL and LED bulbs.
0-10 Volt: This type of dimmer is commonly used throughout Europe and on commercial applications here in the US. This system requires an extra wire from the fixture, so it works best in applications that are being newly wired or in remodel applications where rewiring will not be a major issue.
Advantages of Using Dimmers
Dimmers provide a wide range of advantages when their installed. Not only will dimming your lights allow you to create the right mood and atmosphere of a room, but it will also help save on energy consumption and extend the lifetime of the bulbs inside the fixture. For example, having a fixture on a dimmer at full brightness level will help save 4-9% in electricity costs. Or, you could dim that same fixture 20% and save 20% in energy consumption, it's that simple!.