Dimmer are used to adjust the brightness output of light fixtures. The dimming function allows you to vary the light level within a room. However, there are also disadvantages when installing dimmers.
Below are the advantages and disadvantages of dimmers to know if they are right for you.
Advantage – Flexible Brightness Level
There are different types of lighting used in homes and offices. General lighting or ambient lighting is used to provide enough illumination in an area or room. Low levels of brightness are used to create a comfortable atmosphere. This is used in living rooms, bed rooms, office lounges or any area where people often rest. Another lighting type is task lighting which is used to help people to see a space clearly. Task lighting has a higher brightness level than general lighting. This makes it easier for people to perform any kind of work. Task lighting is used in study rooms, kitchens and offices.
In order to achieve variable light levels in a room without the use of a dimmer, you would need more than one kind of light fixture with different wattages and to have those lighting fixtures separately switched. Dimmer controls resolve this dilemma by giving you the option of adjusting a fixture’s brightness. Having a dimmer control installed allows you choose the level of lighting to suit your particular mood by simply adjusting the dimmer control dial to the light level you require.
Disadvantage – Humming Sound
One of the disadvantages of dimmer switches is their tendency to produce humming or buzzing sounds. This usually happens when you dim the lights or lower their brightness level. This causes the electric current to flicker at a rapid pace. This means the light turns on and off at a rate faster then the human eye can detect. To an average person, it only looks as if the light fixture has dimmed or became less bright. The sound is due to the vibration produced by the current within the electromagnetic field of a bulb’s filament vibrating, commonly referred to as “filament sing”.
There are ways to fix this problem but it depends on the source of the sound. If it is coming from the bulb, it needs to be replaced by a bulb with a stronger filament. Low quality dimmers can also often produce this sound if its capacity is overloaded. Make sure to buy one with a higher wattage load rating. To calculate the wattage load rating you require, add up the wattages of all the light fittings on the circuit controlled by the switch you intend to control by the installed dimmer.
Advantage – Power efficiency
With the option of controlling the brightness of your light fixtures, dimmer can help decrease your energy usage. Normal switches only have a fixed brightness setting which operates at 100 per cent. A dimmer on the other hand, can be adjusted to reduce brightness to a lower level. When dimmed it decreases a fixture’s wattage use, this can help save you money on your electricity bills if you regularly have your light fittings dimmed.
Decreasing a lighting fixture’s energy consumption can also help increase your bulb’s life span. When a bulb is turned on, the filament becomes hot due to the electric current crossing it. This causes the filament to wear down. The use of a dimmer can lessen the current passing through the filament and prolong its service life.
Disadvantage – high initial cost
Dimmer costs more than normal light switches. Apart from the dimmer, you also need to use special light bulb designed for dimming. Incandescent and low voltage halogen light bulbs are compatible with most dimmer types. However if using compact fluorescent or LED light bulbs it is important to insure the bulb is first, dimmable and secondly, what type of dimmer the manufacturer recommends for the particular light bulb. Dimmers generally fall into three categories, Universal, Leading Edge or Trailing Edge. The light bulbs circuit design will decide with type of dimmer is best suited to the bulb.
Special light bulbs work with dimmer switches because of their built-in electronics. This feature allows the bulb to regulate the amount of current passing through it. Most modern bulbs come with these features but they cost more than non dimmable bulbs. Knowing the pros and cons of dimmer helps you determine if they’re ideal for your home or office. You can find these and dimmable LED lights at Discount Lighting. Visit their website to browse their available light fixtures today.