How to make correct use of dimmable LED bulb

There are many reasons why more people are choosing dimmable lights over other standard options.

The main one would probably be related to their aesthetic properties.

In fact, just by touching a tiny knob on the wall, you can alter the temperature of your ambiance and the power of the lighting, creating a soft atmosphere or brightening up the room according to the situation and moods.

Whether you’re having a romantic night-in, watching a movie or having a family reunion,  you can get away with just one type of light, the dimmable one that you can control as you please.

Now, having said that, there is, of course, another, more practical reason attached to dimmable light bulb choices.

This is referring to reduced energy consumption and improved life span. In fact, the longer your bulbs are dimmed, the less energy they use and the longer they last.

Nowadays the massive increase of dimmable LED light consumption has LED to a further improvement of the duration of the light, lasting much longer than ever.

However, if dimming a traditional incandescent bulb is a simple procedure, if you have a LED bulb to dim it gets a little more complicated.

Here below we try to answer the most common questions that we have found about dimmable lighting with the hope to shed some lights over any doubt on the topic.

Can any LED bulb be dimmed?

Unfortunately, not.  While it’s not possible to make a non-dimmable LED bulb work on a dimmable circuit, the reverse does work, instead. However even if a dimmable bulb can work on the non-dimmable circuit, without causing any damage, it just wouldn’t dim. So, there would be no point.

What kinds of dimmers are available?

There are many different types. The most commons are the leading-edge dimmer and railing edge or LED ready dimmers

They both work by trimming the voltage at various phases of an alternating current’s sine wave, thereby reducing the power they send to the lamp accordingly.  

 Leading edge dimmers  

They have been in use for much longer than the others and normally used to dim traditional incandescent and mains halogen light bulbs. Working at a much higher wattage range than usual, it makes them less likely to work with LED bulbs. It can be possible only if the required tolerances are met.

Trailing edge or LED ready dimmers have been created specifically for use with LED bulbs, which makes them the ideal dimmers for this kind of lights. Since these dimmers require a much lower range of wattages they are naturally more compatible with the lower wattage of LED bulbs.

How to decide which dimmers to use?

In order to avoid confusion, if we are not familiar with the lighting, it’s always better to check with the manufacturers which dimmers are compatible with a certain type of bulb.

Why are my LED bulbs flickering?

If this happens chances are that you are either under-loading your dimmer or over-loading it. It’s always necessary to keep in mind the huge disparity between incandescent and LED wattages and the LED bulb’s drastically superior efficiency. It is, therefore, necessary to remember to divide the dimmer’s maximum wattage by 10 when considering its tolerances for LED.

So, in order to wrap it up here is a shortlist of what you should keep in mind in order to make sure your light dim properly:

1. Make sure your LED bulbs are dimmable.

2. Upgrade your dimming circuit from leading edge to LED-ready dimmers

3. Make sure you are using a compatible dimmer.

4. Move to a non-dimmable circuit, in case you realize that you are not actually making any frequent use of dimmable lighting

5. Ensure that all your bulbs are of the same type and from the same manufacturer.

6. Replace low voltage bulbs with mains voltage versions.

Dimming LED bulbs can certainly be tricky, but because of their efficiency and long life span, it might be worth the hustle and most of the time, in order to make everything work properly and avoid inconveniences it is advisable to hire an electrician.