“How do dimmers work?” is a frequent question posed to the San Luis Obispo electricians from Electricraft, Inc. Light dimmers are popular because they give you the ability to set the level of light in a room. From dimming the lights for a romantic dinner to, adjusting the level of lighting in the room for working, reading or watching TV, light dimmers are part of nearly every household.

The staff from Electricraft thinks it’s important to answer people’s questions. more about how the electricity in their home or business works can add a layer of safety when operating appliances, lights, tools and equipment. Knowledge also helps people make better decisions about maintenance, inspections and upgrading or repairing electrical wiring. The San Luis Obispo company is publishing this overview about how light dimmers work to help keep the community informed.

How light dimmers work

A light is on or off, right? Unless it operates on a dimmer that makes it possible for you to control lights from off, through a range of brightness.

A regular light switch that turns the lights on and off is a straightforward device. It either opens the connection to electricity to turn the light on, or closes the connection. Dimmers, the devices that dim lights work by controlling the flow of electricity to the light.

The basic rotary dimmer switch that operates one light source controls the flow of electricity to the light by rotating a dial. Rotating the dial all the way to the right turns the light to its brightest. Rotating back to the left dims the light. The dimmer contains resistive material that determines how much electricity flows from the switch to the light. The thinner the resistive material the brighter the light. Rotary dimmer switches were quite popular in the 1970s and 1980s and are still available and in use.

Newer, more modern dimmer switches work by interrupting the electric wave by switching the light off and on many times per second, taking advantage of alternating current (AC), that rapidly fluctuates from positive to negative voltage. A modern dimmer switch automatically shuts the circuit to the light off every time the current reverses direction. This happens twice per cycle or 120 times per second. The switch turns the light back on when the voltage climbs back to a certain level.

The “turn on value” is based on where you position the knob or slider on the dimmer switch. When you set the switch for bright lighting, it switches on very quickly after cutting off. As you dim the lights, the switch turns the light “on” at a slower rate.

Light dimmers can be relatively simple devices that operate lights in homes to highly sophisticated devices that control lighting in large facilities such as manufacturing plants, amphitheaters or sports arenas.

When expertise and training pay off

Wherever lighting systems are installed, a highly trained team has done the work. From drawing up the plans to installing the electrical wiring, and testing, the San Luis Obispo team from Electricraft has installed electrical and lighting systems for homes, businesses, corporate complexes, hospitals, data centers and public works projects just to name a few.

Displaying a passion for quality and hard work, the Electricraft professionals stay current with the progressive electrical industry. There’s no electrical project too big or too small for the professionals at Electricraft – from repairing light fixtures in homes, to installing the latest solar technology, to large industrial electrical construction.

Give Electricraft, Inc. a call today to start your project.