Why my dimmer switch does turn on but doesn’t dim?

A dimmer switch is usually a device used to adjust the amount of light produced, primarily the intensity of the light. It is considered to be one of the most recent inventions in the field of current home technology. A dimmer is particularly beneficial since lighting can transform a home’s atmosphere from one of boredom to one of excitement and so has a significant impact on a small budget.

Dimmer switch turning on but not dimming is a common issue that should not pressure you. However, if this happens to you, you need to follow the steps given below.

This article will guide you on what to do when the dimmer switch does not dim. There are occasions when the dimmer switch will not function properly, which will necessitate taking action. The switch must be replaced if it is not working correctly. However, if the switch is working correctly, but no light will come out, there may be a problem with the connections that must be addressed. Follow the steps and guidelines below for a better understanding and the best results.

Common types of dimmer switches

dimmer switch does turn on but doesn't dim

There are several distinct types of dimmer switches, each of which performs somewhat different purposes. However, dimming switches are most commonly used in the following situations.

a)    An incandescent dimmer switch that provides hot lighting is an option. However, as a result, it generates far more heat than the other kinds of dimmer switches.

b)    Fluorescent dimmer switch with a light that is not changeable and built for the bulb’s output.

c)     A dimmer switch with an LED indicator. This kind of switch boosts the brightness of space while still being inexpensive, resulting in cost savings.

d)    It is possible to regulate the light from various positions or separate switches by using a single-pole and a three-way dimmer switch.

The most common reasons for a dimmer switch to fail

A dimmer switch can malfunction for various causes, the most common of which are listed below. The following are some of the primary reasons:

·        Combining a large number of lights into a single dimmer. A dimmer has a limited ability to manage a large number of lights, and when exposed to an excessive amount of light, it may become inoperable. For example, it will take more time and energy to operate a dimmer that is usually fitted to 700 watts if it is exposed to the task of perhaps turning ten lights, each of which is 100 watts in power. The dimmer will then be pushed to work for a more extended period than it should, resulting in the dimmer failing to function correctly.

·        Possibilities for dimmer switch issues to emerge. There are seven primaries led dimming issues to be aware of, the majority of which involve a rapid turn on or off while attempting to regulate the intensity of light.

The main led dimming problems

a. The possibility of a dropout

This type of problem occurs when a person tries to lower the brightness of their device, and the light suddenly turns off before they hit the bottom of the switch or before they slide to the base of the switch.

b. A pop on

When one attempts to increase the intensity of light and the switch is turned on, the dimmer raises its brightness level to a greater level than expected; this is known as a dropout in the opposite direction.

c. A possible dead travel

A dead travel condition happens when the lights do not respond to any modifications introduced on the dimmer switch, regardless of the dimming scale used.

d. Lamps flickering 

If you have lamps connected to dimmer switches and begin to behave unpredictably, this is known as flickering. The lamps begin to pulsate distinctly.

e. Ghosting

It is possible to experience this form of led dimming problem even after completely turning off your dimmer switch and the lights because the bulbs continue to produce dimming lights.

f. The lights begin to flash

When the lights are connected to a dimmer switch, this type of condition is termed flashing because the lights continually turn on and off systematically.

g. The lights are strobing

It’s a little like the flickering of a lamp in some ways. The distinction between the two is that even with strobing, the lighting flicker at a less frequent interval, and with flickering, the durations are more frequent than with alternating.

Techniques for avoiding led dimming

There are ways to prevent dimming difficulties, regardless of whether the lights are flickering or dropping out or any other concerns associated with LEDs. The following are the primary methods of avoiding such issues:

1.     Always check to see if your bulbs have a dimming feature. There are various types of bulbs, some of which are not dimmable, while most LED lamps are often dimmable.

2.     Pay close attention to the instructions provided by the manufacturer. For example, when using dimmable led bulbs, several controls will not function properly.

3.     Always be cautious when purchasing low-cost items because most low-cost items are of poor quality and have not been thoroughly tested. Always go for products that have been well tested.

4.     Always build a preliminary version of the samples or even a demonstration of your product to confirm that it is of high quality and functioning properly before proceeding.

How to troubleshoot a dimmer switch that does not dim but turns on

Source: dummies.com

Step 1; Ensure that your dimmer is installed correctly

Installing the dimmer switch and discovering it is not functioning correctly is a good time to double-check that it was fitted correctly.  It’s possible that the connection between your dimmer switch and the lights is not secure or that it’s incorrectly linked when you do this. In such instances, you will discover that even the dimmer can also be turned on, but the lights do not respond.

You must restore everything properly and tighten the cords since you cannot just leave the connection loose. Your light should now begin to decrease when you have completed the installation process once more.

Step 2; Determine whether or not your light bulb is compatible

It is possible that the bulb will not dim simply since it does not offer certain functionalities. Always check that the lightbulb you are using incorporates the dimming feature to ensure that it is compatible with your lighting system. Older bulbs typically do not have dimming capabilities; however, newer bright lights are equipped with dimming functionality. If your light bulb does not have a dimming option, you will need to replace it with one that does.

Step 3; Verify that the dimmer is not malfunctioning

It’s possible that your dimmer is not working correctly. Always check to see that your dimmer is operational and in good working order. If the dimmer is defective or in poor condition, updating it with a suitable replacement is essential. If you have any worries about the reliability of your dimmer, you can test it with a new bulb and in a different place.

Step 4; Determine whether or not it is necessary to replace the dimmer

The majority of dimmer users are entirely unaware that their dimmers ought to be updated regularly because they are vulnerable to wear and strain. After a certain amount of time in use, their rheostat begins to fail. Specific effects begin to appear, the most typical of which is the cessation of dimming of the lights.

Step 5; Double-check that the dimmer you’re using is the proper one

The method by which you control your dimmer is the most critical factor. If you only have one switch, always ensure a single-pole dimmer to avoid wasting energy. When employing two or even more switches, the three-way dimmer is the best choice. Keep in mind that you should never overload the dimmer switch with more lights than you need.


In conclusion, before resolving any issue involving the dimmer switch, be sure that the issue has been recognized and that you are aware of the actions to be taken to resolve it. If you find the problem-solving process difficult or have no idea how to proceed, you should seek professional assistance to resolve the problem. Dimmer switches are both inexpensive to operate and inexpensive to maintain. Always remember that you are not supposed to overload the dimmer switch. If the lamps are more, you need to connect them in different sequences.

Following all of the above processes and checking for the concerns mentioned above, you may be able to fix this problem. If it does not work for you, then it could be possible that you are dealing with a more complex problem. In this case, you should seek the assistance of a professional or a specialist in your area. It would be preferable to always use the most significant amount of caution when working with any electrical item. It is not recommended that you manage the dimmer switch if you’re not knowledgeable of what you are connecting.

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