Dimming With LEDs
LEDs are growing more user-friendly all the time, but at least one hurdle still remains: using them with dimmers. In some cases, you can screw an LED bulb into a dimmable fixture and it will work perfectly. In others, you may find yourself in a netherworld of flickering or flashing light, weird oscillations, or stutter dimming.
That’s because LEDs draw a fraction of the electricity of old-style incandescent bulbs. Further, most existing dimmer switches were rated for loads as high as 400 watts, which can be 10 or 15 times greater than the load of the replacement LEDs. Sometimes the dimmer simply can’t “read” the load of the LED bulb. That’s when the weirdness ensues. Start by testing different LED bulbs with an existing dimmer. Sometimes the new light will work fine, sometimes it won’t. If none of the obvious choices works properly, the solution is to replace the dimmer switch with one designed to work with your chosen bulbs.
If there is more than one bulb or luminaire on the same dimming circuit, use bulbs from the same manufacturer. That should ensure that the dimmer can send a common signal to each light source. Mixing bulbs may result in flickering or humming as the dimmer tries different methods of communication.
LEFT This sunny kitchen is lit with a mix of forwardly placed prismatic pendants over the island and unobtrusive down lights that cast light on work surfaces around the perimeter of the kitchen. Lowvoltage strip lighting concealed under the upper cabinets casts light directly onto countertops.