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Dimmers Are Your Friend

February 23, 2012

As an individual in the lighting industry I’m always talking about lighting it seems. One of the things I can never rave enough about is dimming. Whenever I hear the mantra “Incandescent Bad, Compact Fluorescent/LED Good” I have to remind myself that I’m in the LED business and I should let it lie. But there is a lot of good when it comes the good old cheap incandescent bulb and chief among them is its ability to dim. It dims nicely. Dimming saves energy and saves on the electrical bill. Installing one is very easy, but if you aren’t keen on doing it to your hardwired switches, you can at least pick up some cheap hand dimmers and use them on your lamps. I have two on both the bedside lamps.

In order to have good access to them I used the double-sided tape they give you on those plastic hooks. For some reason they always put extra tape in the packages. Lucky me. I put them right on the side of the nightstand. This way, if one of us is going to bed before the other we can dim the night owl’s lamp way far down and everybody’s happy. The night owl can see enough when they come in later, but the early sleeper isn’t disturbed.

These hand dimmers are relatively inexpensive, but they do save kilowatt-hours on that meter. You can find them at Home Depot. They have a couple different brands and you do get what you pay for when it comes to dimming. Trust the expert. Having said that, the expert bought the cheapest ones and they work just fine with minimal buzzing. If you are loading it up (lots of watts – 100-150 or more) on the lamp, then I definitely recommend the more quality product – Lutron – to avoid a buzzing sound. If the bulb isn’t that powerful to begin with, you’ll be fine with whatever.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. February 23, 2012 4:08 pm

    What a great idea!! I have incandescent lighting (not in lamps though) and it makes such a difference!

    When building our house, I spent *months* with a lighting designer. Lighting is why professional pictures look so good, but some overlook it in their homes.

    Great post … as usual 🙂 I’ll be making a run to Home Depot soon!!

    • February 23, 2012 4:41 pm

      Cool. I was a lighting designer for six years in NYC. And I’m still consulting on the side a bit. Lighting is one of the most important and yet most overlooked element to successful design. Good on you for hiring a lighting designer!

  2. February 26, 2012 3:59 pm

    I learned about this product from Lutron a couple of years ago. We should all use dimmers wherever possible. Your application is so elegant and easy to do. Thank you for the great idea.
    Now I know who to contact when I have lighting questions. 😉

    • February 26, 2012 4:16 pm

      Yes. I love talking about lighting. 🙂 Dimming is so important to a great design no matter what you are doing – home, restaurant, even retail. And with the right dimming system you can be just as energy efficient as using some newer technology.

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