A Beginner's Guide to Light Dimmers

Lighting Basics

Dimmable Bulbs Development

Light dimmers are used for mood lighting or to regulate the light in a particular work or play area. In the past, light dimmers were only applicable for bright halogen bulbs and incandescent bulbs. Fluorescent lamps didn’t have a dimmer function not until recently. Due to recent developments in fluorescent ballast systems, it is now possible to have a dimmer function on fluorescent lights whether it's a regular or compact fluorescent light. This means that bright fluorescent lights' output can be regulated or adjusted depending on the lighting conditions in a particular area.

Two Types of Light Dimmers

Basically, there are two types of analog dimmers namely the analog-type and the electronic-type. There are advantages and disadvantages to using them.

Analog Dimmers

Analog dimmers were the first dimmers around. The technology is rather straight-forward and one that involves using a coil. It is the coil that will absorb some of the energy output. That is why typical analog dimmers have switches that feel warm to the touch due to the heat transfer that occurs during the dimming process.

Since analog dimmers are simple, they are usually very cheap compared to the electronic-type of light dimmers. Unfortunately, analog dimmers give off a humming sound. Analog dimmers also tend to use up a lot of energy. Since energy efficiency is very important to home owners nowadays, analog dimmers may not be that fashionable anymore.

Electronic Dimmers

Electronic dimmers use new technology. They have many applications and can be used not just in the home but can be used in businesses as well. Electronic dimmers are more flexible and various functionalities can be added.

Among the advantages of using Electronic dimmers is its energy efficiency. In commercial establishments, using electronic dimmers is a plus. Home owners can opt to use electronic dimmers but it is more costly compared to an analog dimmer. But for home owners that are thinking about the long-term, they can opt to use electronic dimmers to save on energy.

Electronic dimmers have several advantages over analog dimmers. For one thing, electronic dimmers are able to adjust the light output much faster. It also uses a lot less energy. Electronic dimmers don't give off that humming sound. They also don't emit heat.

Dimmable Fluorescent Lights

Nowadays, it is not uncommon to see fluorescent dimmable lights. Many prefer the fluorescent over the incandescent lamps since fluorescent lamps are more energy efficient than incandescent lamps. Fluorescent lamps also provide value for one's money due to its longevity. Developments in fluorescent technology have allowed compact fluorescent lights to come into the picture. They look similar to regular light bulbs instead of the regular rod-shape of regular fluorescent lamps. Compact fluorescent lamps or CFL as it is called are now being used as a suitable replacement to halogen flood lights due to its dimming function. CFLs are available in many sizes but with the R30 and R40 being the lamps ideal for its dimmer capability.

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