We have a two device switch box with a light switch (large switch style) and a dimmer switch. The dimmer switch stopped working, and so I plan to install a new Lutron dimmer switch instead. I haven't taken off the front cover plate yet, but I have a general question.

It says in the instructions that in a two-gang setup to remove the metal tabs on the side of the dimmer switch that will be next to the other switch so that it will fit. But I know that some switches are narrower than others. If there is room for me to install the new dimmer switch without removing the metal tabs, should I remove the tabs anyway or keep them on?

1 Answer 1


If the dimmer will fit without touching any part of the other switch it's OK and advisable to leave the tabs in place since removing them will decrease the capacity of the dimmer @Harper thanks. Personally, I'd remove them if you're installing a few low wattage bulbs now just in case you add a larger switch in the future and maybe forget about the removable tabs on the dimmer. Then you'd have to come back here and ask how to make the switch fit in the box. :-)

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    Except there's a consequence to removing them: it reduces the capacity of the dimmer and makes it run hotter. Oct 26, 2020 at 22:30
  • @Harper-ReinstateMonica Good point . I forgot about that since I've always over sized dimmers and broke up the light circuits.
    – JACK
    Oct 26, 2020 at 23:20
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    To follow up though, you said if it can fit without touching then it's okay to leave the tabs in place. Is it a matter of touching even if it would fit? Because the illustration in the instructions made it look like when removing the tabs in a ganged box, the switches would fit snugly side by side. Would it be okay for them to touch side by side in that situation?
    – A L
    Oct 26, 2020 at 23:37
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    @AL Yes, they can touch side by side. You just don't want them overlapping because then the cover plate won't fit right.
    – JACK
    Oct 27, 2020 at 0:12
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    @AL The tabs are part of the heat sinks needed dissipate the heat from the dimmer. In a single gang box, they work great and can operate at full load. With the more up to date electronics in dimmers they need to dissipate more heat, so they're made wider. Once you start adding dimmers in every room and doubling them up in boxes, the tabs need to be removed to make room for the switches. This cuts down on the heat dissipation. This isn't too bad if using fluorescent or LED bulbs because the wattage is low but could cause overheating with incandescent bulbs because they generate more heat.
    – JACK
    Oct 27, 2020 at 11:55

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