A Beginner’s Guide to Lighting Controls and Switches

lighting switchThe advent of new lighting technology has made it easier for you to control your Scottsdale home’s lighting systems with all kinds of knobs, integrated switches, and even apps on mobile devices. With these controllers and switches, you can do more than just switch on your lights on and off. Here’s a look at some of these controllers.


The common light switch toggle, which was invented in 1916, is slowly being replaced by an assortment of high-tech solutions. New switches like rockers function as toggles but have a broader surface area for the on and off control. Rockers and toggles both work have levers and springs that interrupt or complete the follow of electricity into the light fixture.

Today, timers and sensors are also often installed alongside switch systems, which can be especially useful in outdoor spaces and areas where light is needed when there are people around, such as hallways, stairwells, and walkways.


If you really want to make the most out of your light fixtures and extend their lifespan, a dimmer is the best controller for the job. A dimmer works by controlling the flow of electricity being sent to a light bulb—increasing the flow of electricity brightens the bulb while reducing the flow dims it. By dimming your lights, you can lengthen their lifespan and save energy to boot. Being able to dim your lights also lets you add drama to your living spaces, which makes a dimmer great for accent, task, and ambient lights.

Hooking up a dimmer to your lighting system is as easy as popping in a new regular switch, but if you’re not sure how it works, consult an electrician.

Keypad Systems

A keypad system works using wireless technology, with various lighting features programmed into the system.

Areas that have more than three light switches are perfect for a keypad system. For example, a keypad system for the living room, dining room, and kitchen might have keypad controls for the following:

  • Reading: This switches on a task lamp in the living room next to a chair or couch.
  • Cooking: This switches on task lights over the kitchen’s prep area.
  • Movie: This dims the light around the TV area and turns off all other lights.
  • Romantic Dinner: This dims the lights in the dining area to create a relaxed mood.
  • All Off: This switches off all the lights in your home

Along with the convenience of having all your lighting controls in one hub, some keypad systems let you control your lights on any mobile device. Some of these systems come with proprietary compatible apps that let you access all controls and functions from one screen. Most keypad systems are also scalable, which means they can work with other home automation systems.

Aside from upgrading your home lighting with energy-efficient LEDs, you should also consider upgrading your lighting controls to maximize your lighting system’s efficiency and usability.