Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Fiat Lux!

All Photos: Filia Artis

A special gold star for the first reader to provide a translation of today's title via the comment function!

I recently posted about the television series Canada's Worst Handyman and some of the projects that they attempt to teach the nominees to do in Handyman Boot Camp. One such project was installing a dimmer switch. Seeing as folks who looked pretty un-handy were trying this one out, I thought I would give it a go as well.

Remember this pretty little set up?

Yep, I'm talking about just a half broken dimmer and an old toggle switch wired into the wall with no switch plate. (Sorry, I had ripped them out before getting a proper "before" shot.) 

Here is the "after" picture, ahem, I mean "Glamour Shot"

What I installed were two basic dimmer switches from a big box home store along with a new face plate that hides the screws that hold it in place. I won't get into details about how it all works seeing as I'm not really qualified - All I did was follow the instructions that came with the dimmers and it seemed that the one existing dimmer had been wired correctly, so I just followed along with what had been done and replicated the wiring again to transition the toggle switch to a second dimmer switch.

Should I mention that you turn off the appropriate breaker before you start working?

The only tools needed were a voltage detector, screwdriver, needle-nose pliers and some electrical tape to keep it all neat inside.

Tip: Test for voltage on each outlet/switch box even if you think the power is off!
I was almost surprised by an outlet that was not part of the same breaker as the others!

It was just as easy to do the rest of the light switches in the basement and it makes things look nice and fresh to have new rocker switches and white plates throughout. We have even been working on changing the old yellowed out and painted over electrical outlets to fresh white ones. I would recommend reading the instructions in the packet and double checking with someone who does have some knowledge about wiring (which we did).

Though we installed regular outlets, I found out today that you can get tamper resistant outlets at the Home Depot. Seeing as Baby already loves all things electrical, I would have picked those ones if they had been in stock the first time I was there getting supplies. Here are some handy outlet installation instructions from the store.

DIY Rating: 8 
Get the right tools ready, read your instructions and you should be done (one) in about 30 minutes!


  1. At the risk of scaring away other commenters, I'll answer the challenge: Fiat lux = 'Let there be light' (or 'make light').


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