Below is a video on how to replace/ install a 3-way dimmer switch
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Today we will be showing you how to install or replace a 3-way dimmer switch. The one we are replacing is a standard rotary dimmer switch. We are replacing this one with a Lutron toggle dimmer. We are using this one because it will match the rest of the house as they are all toggle switches. We also like this one because it can be used in a single pole or 3-way application like in our case as we have a switch on another wall to control the same light. Another reason we like this dimmer switch is because it will do all bulb types, LED’s, CFL’s, halogen, and incandescence.
Since we are upgrading our dimmer it’s also a good time to upgrade our light bulb. As you want the dimmer to work with the bulb you plan to run in the lighting fixture. We are going to use a 100watt Cree LED Bulb. Make sure when you are buying the bulb that somewhere on the package it says it dimmable.
To get started we can turn the light on and then shut the breaker off. Once we have the power turned off the circuit we can pull and remove the dimmer knob. With the dimmer knob removed we can grab a flat screw driver and remove the two screws that hold the cover plate in place.
With those screws removed we can grab a drill or Phillips screw driver and remove the two screws that hold the old dimmer in the box. Once we have removed those screws you might need to use a flat screws driver to pop it loose if someone painted it to the wall. We can also use a 110V tester to ensure that the power is off.
Once we have the old dimmer removed we can locate the “common wire” in this case it will be the black wire. Most dimmers will have two wires the same color in this case it’s the two red wires which are the traveler wires. Sometimes it will say which wire it is the common wire somewhere on the switch. Some dimmer switches will have terminals rather then pigtails. If yours has screw terminals then you will notice that there are two screws that are the same color those will be your traveler wires. The screw that is a different color either black or copper colored will be your common wire.
If you are unsure which wire is your common wire you will remove the wire nuts and remove the old dimmer or switch and then sperate the wires out. Next we can grab an 110v tester and turn the breaker then come back to the switch and test each wire to see what wire has power all the time that will be your common wire on the master switch. If we were on other side of the room on the slave switch we would test all three wires and see what wire doesn’t ever get power while we flip the master switch on and off. The wire that gets no power will be the common wire on the slave switch.
Now that we know which wire is our common wire we can remove the wire nuts and remove the old dimmer switch. Next we can grab our new dimmer switch and grab the common wire and put it under the copper colored terminal. Use a Phillips screw driver and tighten the screw to hold the wire. Pull on the wire to ensure that it’s secure. Next we can attach the two traveler wires in this case they are the white and red wires. Colors may be different depending on how they wired it. Use the screw driver and tighten them down. Check them to ensure there snug and the wire is held onto the terminal.
With the three wires hooked to the new dimmer switch we can pull the ground wire out of the box and then connect the ground wire from the switch to the ground wire in the box using a wire nut.
Once we have the ground wire connected we can turn the circuit breaker back on and test the switch to ensure it’s wired properly. So we will turn the switch to the on position on one side of the room and off on the other and vise versa will we also test the dimmer to make sure it dims the light bulb as well. If you switch has an up side or arrow on it that will need to go/ face upward. If your switch is “on” in the up position and the dimmer dims the light while sliding it upward you will need to swap the two traveler wires.
This one is functioning correctly so we can turn the circuit breaker off. Once we have the power turned back off we can push the ground wire back into the box first and then the other wires and the switch. Be careful not to pitch any of the wires. Next we can start the two screws that hold the dimmer switch in the box. Once started by hand we can grab a screw driver and snug them down while making sure we don’t pinch any wires and to center the dimmer switch in the box.
Once we have those two screws in and snugged down we can grab the cover plate and reinstall it onto the new dimmer switch and snug down the screws with a flat screw driver.
Once we have the cover plate reinstalled we can turn the circuit breaker back on. Well test the dimmer switch one last time to ensure it works properly. This one works as it should so that’s it we have just showed you how to replace/ install a 3-way dimmer switch.