Our kitchen lights are playing up, they're halogen spotlights controlled by a dimmer switch, and one by one they're either refusing to switch on, coming on if the dimmer is halfway on but off when it's fully on, or (weirdest) slowly moving between on and off and on again without touching the switch.

I feel like the first step here is to change to a normal switch - does anyone who knows more than me think not? But the dimmer switch is 18cm wide and it looks like triple conventional switches are much smaller. When I take the switch off the wall, will I be able to take the metal box out, put a smaller one in and use filler or something to fill the gaps? Or is there another way?

  • If you're in North America, you should be able to get cover plates with blanks. See here: diy.stackexchange.com/q/2356/22 – Niall C. Dec 23 '12 at 16:30
  • A photo of your current switch would help. See the faq for the steps to get your photo added if you don't have enough rep. – BMitch Dec 23 '12 at 17:51

Well, this is a really old question but it sounds like your dimmer is a decora style switch. You can switch this decora dimmer to a regular style switch and buy a new cover plate. Alternatively, you could install a standard decora switch in place of the dimmer switch.

However, if by 'triple' switch, you mean three way switch, you should be warned that diagnosing an incorrectly wired 3-way switch can be confusing to the electrical neophyte. Additionally, because a traveler can be electrified when you expect the wire to be off behind a switch, it can be much more dangerous to work on for someone who is a novice with 3-way switches. I would strongly recommend using an electrician to solve this problem. If not, I'd strongly recommend turning off all the power while working on this problem, labeling everything as/before you disconnect the switches, and using a continuity tester (while the power is off) to determine which wire is the traveler to which switch.

Of course, another possibility is that you have a 3-way configuration but the dimmer is a single pole dimmer. Switching to a 3-way dimmer switch could solve this problem but you'll still to know or figure out the correct traveler configuration for your situation, which will require a decent understanding of 3-way switches.

If in doubt, be safe and use an electrician.

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