Light Switch Replacement

Do you install smart switches?

We do if the necessary wiring is already in place. As a handyman service, we cannot run new electrical.

My light is connected to a dimmer and flickers when it is turned on. Why is that?

Most LED bulbs are not compatible with dimmers, thus they will flicker when turned on. To use an LED bulb with a dimmer, you must purchase LED bulbs that are compatiable with dimmers. Otherwise the LED bulbs will fail prematurely and you will have to replace the bulbs more often.

CFL (compact fluorescent light) bulbs do not work with dimmers, nor do they make dimmer compatible bulbs for CFLs. Dimmers that are connected to lights with CFLs will either need to replace the bulbs with dimmer compatible bulbs or replace the dimmer with a switch.

There's a black, white, and ground wire in the switch box. Should there be two blacks?

According to the current revision of the National Electrical Code (NEC), yes there should be two black wires in the switch box.

Previous versions of the NEC allowed for power to leave the breaker panel to go to every ceiling junction box. Then from the ceiling junction box, a single 14-2 or 14-3 Romex wire would go to the switch box. This set up is known as a "switch leg". Romex wire contains 3 individual conductors - black, white, and bare copper or aluminum. In a switch leg configuration, white wire would be the supply to the switch box, the black wire would be the return to the fixture box, and the bare wire would be the ground. Thus the white wire actually functions as a black or hot wire in this configuration.

The current version of the NEC, power that comes from the breaker must go to the switch box first. Then a single 14-2 or 14-3 Romex wire goes from the switch box to the ceiling junction box. Thus each wire serves its intended purpose and smart switches, can be used as most of them wire a neutral wire to be present in the switch box. There are smart switch options that do work without a neutral wire, but these are usually more costly.