What's new

Dimming LED lights can be challenging

Lutron Maestro style dimmer
Lutron Maestro style dimmer

LED lights are wonderful. They offer the most energy savings and the promise to last for years. As the quality of lights improves and more people switch to LED lighting however, they are encountering an annoying side-effect: their old dimmer might not be compatible with the new LED bulbs or fixture they installed.

The complaints we have heard are many: Lights start flickering when they are dimmed down, don’t turn off all the way when the switch is off, buzzing, or they don’t turn on all at all! The old dimmer they had was only installed a few years ago and never had any issues after all. So what went wrong and how can it be fixed?

In short, it’s an issue of incompatibility of the LED light with a dimmerthat was not designed to work with LED lights. Dimming incandescent lights was a relatively trivial task and most any dimmer would do the job and it was only a matter of matching the correct wattage but dimming LEDs is challenging due to the many different technologies and a lack of standardization in manufacturing. Some LEDs are not dimmable at all!

It’s not enough to buy an LED fixture that says “dimmable” and a dimmer that says “LED compatible” and expect things to work together. For most screw in type bulbs, that should work, but a lot of light fixtures with built in LEDs have some fine print that tell you what type of LED dimmer works with it.

A lot of commercial style light panels for instance require 0-10 volt dimmers that require special wiring. Other types of fixtures have a built in LED driver that requires an ELV or MLV type dimmer. Sometimes, even if you match up everything seemingly correctly, you’ll find that some dimmers just don’t work well with certain lights and as such it’s always a best practice to use resources like Lutron’s LED Compatiblity tool and use lights that were tested with specific dimmers.

If all of this sounds complicated, you can be confident in knowing that our electricians are constantly keeping up with the changes in LED lights and we install the correct type of dimmer for all your light fixtures whether it’s LED or otherwise. Call us today and set up an appointment.