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Replacing a Dimmer With A Light Switch

By Dave Rongey - Summary:

How To Replace a Dimmer Switch with a Light Switch: Wiring a Light Switch to Replace a Dimmer Switch.

Dimmer Switch to a Light Switch

 Electrical Question: I have a dimmer switch that needs replacing.

  • Can I replace the dimmer switch with a single pole switch?
  • The dimmer switch has a white, a red and a black wire coming into it.
  • Can I replace the switch with the single switch using existing wires or do I have to replace with another dimmer switch?
  • Thus converting the dimmer to a simple on and off switch?
  • If yes, where should I connect the red, black and white wires on the single switch?

This electrical wiring question came from: Robert, a Homeowner from Dothan, Alabama.

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your electrical wiring question Robert.

How To Replace a Dimmer Switch with a Light Switch

Skill Level: Beginner to Intermediate – Best performed by a licensed electrician.
Tools Required: Basic Electricians Pouch Hand Tools, a non-aluminum ladder and Voltage Tester.
Estimated Time: Depends on personal level experience, ability to work with tools and access to the light fixture(s).
Precaution: Identify the light circuit, turn it OFF and  Tag it with a Note before working with the wiring.

Wiring a Light Switch to Replace a Dimmer Switch

  • You can replace the dimmer switch with a regular light switch, only from what you have described you need to install a 3-way light switch, not a single pole light switch.
  • The typical connections are as follows:
  • The black wire to the lone screw on the 3-way light switch.
  • This is usually identified as the point or common and the screw is usually a darker color than the two screws at the other end of the switch.
  • The red and white wires should be able to be placed on either of the remaining screws at the other end of the switch, one wire on each screw of course.
  • Additional wiring diagrams can be found from the links below as well.

More about How to Wire a Light Switch

Wiring a dimmer switch

  • 3 Way Dimmer Switch Wiring Diagram
  • Fully explained 3 way dimmer switch wiring diagram will take the mystery out of wiring a 3-way dimmer switch.

Home Electrical wire

  • Electrical Wire for the Home
  • Complete listing of electrical wire types and parts used for home projects with electrical code information serves as selection guidelines.

For more information about Light Switch Wiring
Light Switch Wiring
Light Switch Wiring

  • Wiring a Light Switch – Diagram 1
  • Fully explained pictures and wiring diagrams about wiring light switches describing the most common switches starting with photo diagram 1.

This link is helpful as a Homeowner
Do-It-Yourself Electrical

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2 Responses to “Replacing a Dimmer With A Light Switch”
  1. Allen Round says:

    I have four ceiling bulbs on a dimmer switch but the bulbs gradually shut down one by one after being on a few minutes. I don’t really need dimmable lights. Can I install a regular switch? Do I need a special switch for CFL bulbs?

    • Dave Rongey says:

      Hi Allen,
      Installing a regular switch will most likely stop the dimming light problem. Keep in mind that CFL lamps must state that they have the capability to dim, and the controlling switch must be compatible with CFL type lamps for the dimming function to work properly.
      I hope this helps,


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