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Do dimmer switches actually use less energy? © Getty Images

Do dimmer switches actually use less energy?

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Asked by: Chris Andrews, Salisbury

As electricity is often portrayed as a stream of energy, it’s tempting to think of dimmer switches like dams that only let some of the electricity through, with the rest leaking out as heat elsewhere – and so not really saving energy at all.

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In fact, modern dimmer switches work by using circuitry that rapidly turns the electricity to the lights completely on or off, with the switching rate determining the brightness. As such, dimmer switches really do save energy.

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Authors

Robert is a science writer and visiting professor of science at Aston University.

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