If you are building a new home or doing some extensive remodeling, one question you will be asked -- probably by your electrical service contractor -- is what type of light switch you want in each room or area. If you've only ever used a simple, single-pole light switch, you may not even know what your other options are. Here are four types of light switches that are commonly used in homes.
1. Three-Way Switches
Say you have a long hallway. You want to be able to turn the light on at one end, and then turn it off at the other end, so you do not have to walk through the dark hall to access the switch. A three-way light switch is perfect for this situation. It includes two actual switches -- the third "way" is the light itself. You can turn the light on and off from either switch in the system. It does not matter if you flip the switch up or down; moving it to the opposite arrangement will turn it on or off.
2. Dimmer Switches
There are rooms, such as the dining room, where you may sometimes want to create a warm, cozy ambiance, but will other times need to see clearly in bright light. Dimmer switches are perfect for these areas. Usually, one element of the switch turns the light on, and then there is a knob you turn to adjust the brightness of the light. Some people love dimmer switches so much that they put them in every room, but they are really most popular in dining rooms, bedrooms, and bathrooms.
3. Three-Way Dimmer Switches
This third type of switch is just what the name suggests. It's dimmable, but it also includes two separate switches that you can place on opposites sides of a room or hall. If you want to be able to dimly light your hall at night and still turn the light off from either end, this is the switch for you.
4. Four-Way Switches
A four-way switch is similar to a three-way switch, but instead of having two switches, you have three -- and a single light or set of lights. This is a popular choice for a big, expansive room like a great room or open, finished basement. You can place switches at multiple entrances to the room so you don't have to walk across the room to turn the lights on or off.
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