do dimmer switches save electricity

Do Dimmer Switches Save Electricity?

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Asking, “Do dimmer switches save electricity?” is more common than you’d think.

With most households looking for ways to reduce their energy consumption for energy savings, cutting back on power is essential.

This begs the question, is it worth investing in light dimmers, and do modern dimmers use a small flow of electricity?

Hence, we’ll explore what dimmer switches are designed to do, the benefits of using light dimmers, and if they can truly help with energy consumption.

What Are Modern Dimmer Switches?

A dimmer switch is an incredible convenience to have in a home and is often seen as a luxury.

With a dimmer switch, you can have mood lighting in bedrooms, dining rooms, and even living rooms.

They allow you to reduce the light bulb’s brightness in your fixture, creating an unforgettable aesthetic appeal.

You’ll find that you can easily customize the ambiance once you install dimmers in your home.

It helps to create a unique atmosphere without having to paint your walls a different color, invest in new furniture, or rearrange your room setup.

How Do Dimmer Switches Work?

The simplest way to explain a dimmer switch is to imagine a glass of water.

When you have a bright light in your home, your power consumption is higher, similar to chugging a glass of water to quench your thirst.

However, once you use a dimmer switch, your electrical usage is cut significantly, more like sipping on the water.

The central premise of these switches is to cut the amount of electricity flowing through the circuit into your lights.

It helps to provide more of a subtle glow from your light bulbs rather than a bright, harsh light.

Another important feature of dimmer switches is that they’re fully customizable, allowing you to manage just how dim or bright you want your bulb to be.

Depending on your preference, these switches come in many different styles and designs.

There are standard dimmer switches with a physical switch on a slider that can be moved up and down.

More modern dimmer switches are touch-sensitive, detecting your finger movement rather than using a physical switch.

Do Dimmer Switches Save Electricity?

Now that you have a good idea of how dimmer switches work, it’s easy to see how they’re a great way to lower your electrical costs.

As mentioned, the electrical circuit creates a significantly lower power output when you use the dimmer on your lights.

This helps to ensure you’re consuming lower light levels, resulting in less power consumption and smaller electrical bills.

Not only that, but you’re also helping to prolong the longevity of your installed light bulbs.

All types of light bulbs have a lifespan that’s typically categorized by usage hours at maximum power.

When you use a dimmer, you’re only using half of the potential power of your bulbs, helping them last considerably longer.

In more technical terms, dimmer switches contain something known as a TRIAC switch.

Also referred to as TRIAC dimmers, these components quickly turn your light circuit on and off to interrupt the electricity flowing through the circuit.

Fascinatingly, TRIAC dimmers will cut the energy up to 120 times per second, which is impossible to notice with the naked eye.

You’re also cutting your power consumption in half by continually cutting the power.

The best part is that although the light is flickering exceptionally quickly, it looks like a regular constant flow of electricity when looked at.

do dimmer switches save electricity at home

What Are the Other Benefits of the Common Dimmer Switch?

Aside from being a fantastic addition to your home to reduce energy consumption, electronic dimmers have numerous other benefits.


By far, the most notable benefit of the domestic light dimmer is that it adds versatility to your home.

Aside from giving you complete control over the atmosphere of any room, it also adapts to lifestyle changes.

For example, installing a dimmer switch in your living room can help you explore the true potential of your home theatre.

Another great example is considering dimmer switch installation in offices.

If you’re prone to headaches from bright lights, a dimmer switch can help you work on your computer more comfortably.

With the integration of a light dimmer switch, you’ll find every room in your home perfect for any activity.

Remote Control

There are many fantastic benefits to using modern dimmer switches compared to old-fashioned ones.

With modern technology comes modern conveniences, such as having remote control of the lighting in your home.

LED dimmer switches can often be paired with an app, allowing you to adjust the lighting in your home from anywhere.

These dimmers will connect your lights to WiFi, allowing you to turn them on or off as needed.

You can even set lighting schedules to ensure your lights on dimmer switches are turned off when you’re at work and turned on when you return home.

Not to mention the convenience of setting up custom lighting schedules, so they turn on and off automatically.

Saving Money and Energy

By far, the two most notable benefits of even the earliest dimmers are their ability to help you save money and energy.

By cutting your power consumption in half, your energy usage will be considerably lower in no time.

Also, you’ll be reducing your environmental footprint by consuming less energy that needs to be made for your municipality.

A Few Concerns With Dimmer Switches

Although they have several fantastic advantages, there are a few important things to note before installing regular dimmers in your home.

Bulb Types

One of the largest drawbacks of using dimmer switches is that not all bulb types work with dimmers.

It can be quite annoying for people interested in using energy-saving light bulbs, as modern halogens, CFLs, and LEDs tend not to work with dimmers.

LED bulbs and newer energy-conscious bulbs are designed to use a fraction of the energy that incandescent bulbs require.

As such, the technology inside dimmer switches will not work with reduced power consumption.

That is particularly true if you have an older dimmer and more modern bulbs.

The best way to work around this issue is to find dimmable bulbs that come in LED form.


If you’re not an electrical savant, the idea of installing an electronic or manual dimmer switch could be out of your wheelhouse.

These switches are notoriously challenging for the everyday homeowner to install, so it’s best to hire a professional.

You’ll find they’re particularly challenging to install in a series with a set of lights to be dimmed.

If you’re willing to spend the extra money on an electrician, dimmers are well worth the investment.

How to Use Different Bulbs With Dimmer Switches

As mentioned before, not all bulbs can work with dimmer switches.

Let’s go over a few ways you can make different bulb types work so you can save money on electricity and create a unique atmosphere in your home.

Incandescent Bulbs and Dimmers

One of the most popular power bulbs to use with dimmers is undoubtedly an incandescent bulb.

Although they can consume more energy and have higher lighting costs, they’re the simplest solution for dimmers.

It’s certainly possible to use incandescent bulbs with newer dimmers, but you’ll want to be careful when using them with older, legacy dimmers.

Legacy dimmers are known to restrict electricity flow, so the bulb produces less light.

However, this doesn’t necessarily mean the amount of electricity used is any less.

As such, using an incandescent bulb with a dimmer switch could cost just as much as using high-output bulbs.

Halogen and Dimmers

An alternative to consider is investing in halogen bulbs compatible with dimmer switches.

If you were to ask any lighting expert, most halogen bulbs are compatible with modern-day dimmer switches.

On average, you can save up to 20% more power using these bulbs and dimming them regularly.

However, the downside is that you need to replace halogen bulbs more often than other smart lighting options like LED and CFL bulbs.

CFL and Dimmers

If you’re looking to use CFL bulbs and a dimmer switch, you’ll find they’re non-compatible bulbs in most instances.

They surely use less energy than halogen, but it can be challenging to find modern LED bulbs that work with dimmer switches.

CFL bulbs will indicate whether they are compatible with dimmer switches or not when you buy them.

LED and Dimmers

LED bulbs feature a lighting technology that everyone loves.

With energy efficiency, brightness, and a long-lasting lifespan, they’re exactly what you need to reduce energy costs in your home.

However, many LED bulbs will not be natively compatible with standard dimmers, especially older dimmer switches.

If you were to install a non-dimmable LED bulb into a dimmer switch, it could cause permanent light damage, flickering, and an annoying buzzing sound.

Like CFL bulbs, you’ll need to find LED light bulbs that specifically work with dimmable lighting fixtures.

Can I Save on Electricity With Dimmer Switches?

If you’re looking to answer, “Do dimmer switches save electricity?“, the answer is they have the potential to.

Modern dimmers in the lighting industry can assist with reducing your monthly energy costs and efficiently transforming energy into illumination.

With the combination of the right bulb, you’ll have control of the flow of power to every fixture in your home, reducing your environmental footprint.

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