Bulbs, switches and dimmers guide

 

Discover all you need to know about the types of bulbs we offer, plus which switches and dimmers are available in our collection.


Light bulb and cap type

There are a variety of lightbulb technologies, styles and cap types. Where possible, we recommend using LED bulbs in our products as they are longer-lasting and more energy efficient. Our range of LED bulbs is now available in a variety of shapes and shades of white, from a classic warm glow to bright daylight.

For lights that require capsule bulbs, we recommend halogen, as it gives off a better quality of light and
functionality than LED bulbs.

Tungsten

The classic wire filament lightbulb, which has been phased out in favour of more energy-efficient types

Halogen

Known for good quality of light, and lasting life compared to tungsten bulbs

Energy saver/CFL

These brighten as they warm up, use up to a fifth of the energy of tungsten bulbs and last up to 15 times longer

LED

These offer instant bright light, save up to 90% on energy and last up to 5 times longer

Bulb types

Candle

Candle

Classic

Classic

Golf ball

Golf ball

Globe

Globe

Spiral

Spiral

Reflector

Reflector

Spotlight

Spotlight

Capsule

Capsule (G9/G4)

Decorative

Decorative

Linear

Linear (R7S)

Tube

Tube

cap types

Edison screw ES / E27

Edison screw
ES / E27

Small Edison screw SES / E14

Small Edison
screw SES / E14

Bayonette cap BC / B22

Bayonette cap
BC / B22

Specialist

Specialist
G9 / GU10 / G4


Light switches and dimmers
 

Dimmers

Dimmer switches offer a simple option for varying light intensity in a room.

They’re ideal  in  living and dining rooms, where dramatic changes of mood can be created, but are also suited to bedrooms – particularly those of younger children if they are afraid of the dark. They save energy too, as dimming a bulb’s light output normally reduces its energy consumption.

For your light to be dimmable, make sure your light has a dimmable bulb. Ensure you have an LED-compatible dimmer switch. All of the switches we sell are compatible with dimmable LED bulbs.

Dimming a light fitting:

  • Rotary dimmer: These are dimmed using a rotary control knob and turned on and off by a push-on/ push-off action
  • Touch dimmer: A single touch turns the light on or off. To dim the lights, keep contact with the button until the desired light level is reached: while contact with the button is maintained, the brightness will cycle up and down
  • Remote control handset: A remote handset can be used to control up to four remote dimmers; dimming the lights up and down, as well as on and off. The handset can be “trained” to remember the lighting level on each dimmer to create four different lighting scenes; one button turns all the trained lights on and off

Switches

Our switches are 2 and 3 way, and available in 1, 2, 3 and 4 gang models.

‘Gang’ refers to the number of switches on the switch plate, and ‘way’ refers to the number of switches in a circuit to control the light fitting.

Any light fitting only controlled by one switch in one location is 1 way, but any light fitting controlled by two switches at two separate locations, for example, one at the foot of the stairs and one at the top, requires a 2 way switch.

To create a 3 way switch, allowing for a light to be controlled from 3 separate locations, intermediate switches are available.

Domestic appliances

Domestic appliances such as fridges and ovens sometimes require higher-rated switches as they use more power. We offer a 20-amp double pole switch with a neon indicator, or for appliances that require a 13 amp fuse, switched fused spurs are included in the assortment.

We advise that you check with a qualified electrician to see if you need one.

Please note: We recommend that all switches and dimmers are fitted by a qualified electrician – consult your electrician for the correct type of dimmer required for your light fitting.

Toggle switch

Toggle switch

Rocker switch

Rocker switch
BC / B22



Frequently asked questions

 

Switches and dimmers

What wattage rating do I need?

Switches and dimmers have maximum wattage ratings, i.e. the total wattage to be used by the switch/dimmer (eg 1x 10 arm light rated at 20 watt each = total 200 watts) and should NOT exceed this. Some mains voltage Halogen lights require dimmers that run at double their total wattage. Please consult a qualified electrician for further advice.

Why does my dimmer buzz?

Some dimmer switches will emit a hum when turned to their lowest setting. This is quite normal for some types of dimmer and may vary in intensity depending on the type of lighting unit being dimmed. Changing to a V-Pro dimmer will usually alleviate the problem.

Can I use a dimmer with fluorescent lighting (energy saving bulbs CFL)?

Yes, but only dimmable CFLs can be dimmed using a Varilight V-Pro dimmer.

What types of lighting can I control using a dimmer?

Varilight V-Pro series dimmers are programmable with a choice of dimming modes and an adjustable minimum brightness setting for the widest compatibility. All V-Pro dimmers offer superior dimming technology to deliver the best possible dimming performance for a given load. V-Pro dimmers are suitable for mains lighting, most dimmable electronic transformers and are suitable for dimmable low energy lighting, including dimmable LEDs.

Always choose LEDs that are described as 'dimmable' and for the best performance choose dimmable LEDs from established brands.

V-Pro dimmers are not suitable for wire-wound "toroidal" transformers, non-dimmable fluorescent lighting, energy saving bulbs and fans. Mixed loads are not recommended.

How do I control dimmable electronic transformers?

To calculate the load of your lighting when using transformer in a circuit, add the VA ratings of the transformers (not the wattage of the bulbs). Follow the halogen rating guidelines above but with a maximum of 5 fully dimmable electronic transformers per dimmer circuit.

What is a programmable dimmer?

The V-Pro dimmer series have three different dimming modes which can be set by the user, as well as a programmable minimum brightness setting, to optimise performance and deliver the full dimming range potential of a particular lighting load. Follow the steps outlined under the heading 'Programming' on the instruction leaflet. You can also view a video explaining the programming procedure.

Why is my dimmer turning itself down?

Controlled by a micro-processor, V-Pro dimmers offer sophisticated overload protection. This means that if you mistakenly connect your dimmer to too many lights or transformers it will protect itself from failure by turning the lights down or off until the load is corrected.

 

Bulbs and bulb disposal

Do they contain mercury?

CFL bulbs contain a minute amount of mercury between 1.9 and 3.5mg, well within the safe, legal limit of 5mg. LED bulbs do not contain any mercury

What do I do if I break a CFL bulb?

Ventilate the room for 20—30 minutes. Always use gloves to remove debris and dispose of by recyling

How do I dispose of a CFL or LED bulb?

All CFL and LED bulbs should be recycled at your nearest recycling bank, which will be found at www.recycle-more.co.uk (opens in a new window)

Do CFL bulbs emit ultraviolet radiation?

Yes – this is minimal, but as a precaution bulbs should be at least 30cm away from exposed skin

 

Recommended dimmer ratings:

 

  V-Pro Rotary Dimmer V-Pro Touch/Remote Dimmer
Incandescent 1-10 bulbs, max. 400W  1-10 bulbs, max. 350W
Halogen 1-10 bulbs, max. 300W 1-10 bulbs, max. 200W
Dimmable CFL 1-8 bulbs in mode 3 1-8 bulbs in mode 3
Dimmable LED 1-10 bulbs, max. 100W 1-10 bulbs, max. 100W