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Old 09-11-2007, 12:29 PM   #1
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uniformity of light/power switches through house


I know this is a trivial question, but I've been swapping light switches out and have a question. Some that I'm putting in are sliders/dimmers, others are the bigger on/off switches (not the little switch, the big rectangular ones - will post pics if requested), and a lot of the house still has the regular, small, standard on/off switches.

So, what's the 'norm' or whatever on this kind of thing? If I start putting in the big rectangular on/off switches in multiple spots, should I swap them all to that?

<I'm only posting this because as said I've already put in some of the big rectangular on/off's, and just a second ago I was banging my hand at a light switch and realized it was the small kind which is why it wasn't turning on lol!>

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Old 09-11-2007, 05:57 PM   #2
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uniformity of light/power switches through house


A switch is a switch. There are many differnt kinds but they all do the same thing. The big rectangular ones are called deocra style and the smaller ones are called toggle switches. They all switch the hot side of the circuit to turn things off and on.

You can mix them up all you want. I would prefer to have them all the same either toggle or decora but it doesn't matter what you use.

If you find a switch with 3 wires on it that it is a 3 way switch and controls your lights from two locations. Make sure the wires go on the new switch the same way they came off the old one.

If you find one with 4 wires that is a 4 way and it goes in between 3 way switches and lets you switch from as many locations as your heart desires.

Hope this helps.

Darren

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Old 09-11-2007, 10:14 PM   #3
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uniformity of light/power switches through house


Functionally, a switch is a switch... but aesthetically, the rule of thumb is to keep to the same style, it just looks nicer..

I'm sure you probably know, but it's worth mentioning that if you have any low voltage halogen lighting, you need to have the matching dimmers to the transformer. eg; "Magentic" or "Electronic" dimmers...
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Old 09-12-2007, 09:24 AM   #4
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uniformity of light/power switches through house


Quote:
Originally Posted by darren View Post
You can mix them up all you want. I would prefer to have them all the same either toggle or decora but it doesn't matter what you use.

If you find a switch with 3 wires on it that it is a 3 way switch and controls your lights from two locations. Make sure the wires go on the new switch the same way they came off the old one.
Oh I know they're the same thing, it's more of a functional/aesthetic question... I'm very young and highly doubt I'll be living here for more than a short amount of years - so I don't want to do a ton of things that are not liked in general. I prolly should've asked if the decora style was generally seen as 'better' than a straight toggle. I'm thinking to make all on/off's either decoras or slider/dimmers, at least in main areas (maybe leave bedrooms with toggles).


Quote:
Originally Posted by slakker View Post
Functionally, a switch is a switch... but aesthetically, the rule of thumb is to keep to the same style, it just looks nicer..
Yeah that's why I got my first decora switch instead of a toggle. I had a double switch unit in the kitchen, which wired 1 of the kitchen lights, and (on a separate fuse....) wired 1 of the garage lights. I wanted the kitchen on a dimmer, but when looking at new faceplates, really didn't like a big rectangular dimmer beside a small toggle, so I just got the rectangular dimmer, rectangular decora, and they look real good. But now I'm slapping toggle switches w/o looking like they're decoras lol!

Quote:
Originally Posted by slakker View Post
I'm sure you probably know, but it's worth mentioning that if you have any low voltage halogen lighting, you need to have the matching dimmers to the transformer. eg; "Magentic" or "Electronic" dimmers...
Didn't know that - there's actually only 1 halogen light in the house, it's small but it's extremely bright, and is on a dimmer. That's good to know because if I don't get rid of it (which I'm almost certainly going to..) I would be replacing the knob dimmer with a slide dimmer.

Also to add to the general knowledge, you can't put a dimmer on standard flourescent lighting. I have seen some compact flourescent bulbs that can dim, but generally with flourescents you can't dim.
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