I spent a while working out quite how my house is wired. They’ve really gone to town on the two-way switching, which complicates matters slightly, but isn’t a major problem.
So the only room that doesn’t require me to mess around with the existing circuit too much or to cut larger holes for 2-gang back boxes where there is currently a 1-gang fitted, is the master bedroom. I figured this was the best place to start. I’d never seen a Lightwave dimmer in action before, so I wanted to buy one to test it out before committing to anything more involved (and therefore costly).
So I went down to B&Q and bought a single Lightwave dimmer (and of course, a hand-held remote – it’s not much fun on it’s own). They have a pretty big display of the Siemens branded Lightwave range (with a really annoying video playing on a loop).
It took about 3 minutes to get the old switch out and the new dimmer installed. I also had to remove the ceiling pendant and replace it with a standard bayonet fitting. Again, the demands of Part L meant that the developers had installed some low energy 4 pin nonsense that wouldn’t dim.
I have to say, I’m very impressed with the results. The action of the switches is nice and firm and has a feeling of quality about it. The dimming action itself is smooth and silent. And the remote works brilliantly with a very fast response to commands.
So the next stage is to start changing things in other areas of the house. Next up will be the kitchen/living area downstairs. Two low energy ceiling pendants to replace, 9x SGU10 CFL down lighters to put dimmable bulbs in and some weird under cabinet LEDs (I phoned the manufacturer, and they promised me they were dimmable). Oh, and the 3 way light switch at the moment is of the 1 gang variety. So I’ll need to remove it and cut a hole to fit a 2 gang back box to accommodate the 3 way Lightwave dimmer.
After that will be the hallways. These get complicated very quickly due to the amount of two way switching going on. The house is split over three floors, and the landing light switch plate also houses the switch for the three bathrooms, which are two way switched with a bedroom each! So I’ll need 1x 3way master dimmer, 1x 2 way master dimmer, 1x 1 way master dimmer, and 4x 1 way slave dimmers. Once I change one switch to a dimmer, I have to do them all, as it’ll break the 2 way switching system if I don’t.
But that’s for another day. I think I’ll start with the kitchen next week…