As we are changing the switches and sockets, it seems like a good time to install dimmer switches for the ceiling lights. Overhead lighting is never flattering, but it is essential for tasks requiring good light levels as it gives the best distribution of light in a room. A dimmer allows both soft ambient light and full illumination when needed – so you get the best of both worlds with one light fitting.
In my old flat I installed MK Electric Aspect dimmer switches and was really pleased with them. They have a ‘soft start’ feature where when you tap the dial the lights gently fade from dim full brightness. Very fancy. So I thought that specification job was done… but of course nothing is ever simple.
That was 5 years ago, and before the phasing out of incandescent light bulbs in the EU in 2009. You read more about it here if you are interested. Unfortunately, you cant put an energy saving florescent or LED light bulb in a pendant on a dimmer switch or it will flicker and eventually break. So what to do in an energy conscious world when you want dimming capability?
The answer, we learnt, is to install what is called a Trailing Edge Resistive Dimmer. These dimmers are more expensive that your standard Leading Edge Dimmer, but allow you to install an energy saving LED light fitting on a dimmer. Lots more on the technical differences here if you care for more bedtime reading!
Frustratingly there are very few companies who have caught up with the LED revolution and sell trailing edge dimmers, but after a bit of research I eventually found a company that does called Hamiltons. Luckily the dimmer switches in their Sheer CFX look nice too!
But the story doesn’t end there. There are different types of trailing edge dimmers – and you need to ensure it is compatible with your light bulb. To stop this becoming an epic novel, I’ll just say that the Osram LED SUPERSTAR CLASSIC A 10W B22 bulb gets my vote.