The job of a light switch is simple and straightforward: to turn on/off the lighting fixture, fans, and similar electrical installations.
However, some light switches go further than simply turning your lights on and off.
Some switches, for instance, may incorporate motion detectors to boost the convenience and safety when moving around in your house.
This guide will give you a deep understanding of manufactured home light switches and dimmers, how to buy nothing but the best, and how to install them.
What’s the difference between light switches and dimmers, to begin with?
The difference has more to do with functionality than design although there is a striking difference in design between the two. Light switches simply turn off/on the lights whereas dimmers help you adjust the brightness of the lights.
The Six Types of Light Switches and Dimmers
All the switches and dimmers you will find in the store falls into these 6 styles:
1. Single-Pole Switches
These switches control one lighting fixture from one location.
It is the most commonly used type of light switches and also the easiest to install.
2. Three-way switches
These switches control one lighting fixture from two different locations.
They are the best switches to install in hallways, stairways, and anywhere else you need to control your lights from two places.
They are a bit complicated to install.
3. Four-way switches
These switches control one lighting fixture from three different locations.
If you have a large room in your home in which you don’t want to walk a long distance in the dark just to reach the switch, this is the perfect kind of switch for it.
Every four-way switch must be accompanied by 2 three-way switches in a four-way circuit.
4. Multi-location switches
These switches control one lighting fixture from three, four, or more locations.
I don’t think you will need this kind of switches in a manufactured home because they are perfect for very large spaces where multiple controls would add safety and convenience.
5. Double-pole switches
They control two lighting fixtures without the need for a separate box.
They also remove the need for installing two parallel switches with two boxes.
Most building codes will require your home to have plenty of room to install double-pole switches.
As we said, dimmers simply adjust the level of lighting in the room.
They are mainly available in single-pole, three-way, and multi-location configurations.
Not only do they save energy but also go a long way to extend the lifespan of the bulbs.
Ensure that the lights linked to dimmer switch are designed for dimming.
Best One-Pole Light Switches For A Manufactured Home
These are the best 20-amp switches for a mobile home
This 1-gang switch provides four functions and three rockers. If you are looking for a single-pole switch capable of controlling the lights, heater, and fan sensors, this is one of the best options. With a total of 20 amp, it can mean 15, 15, and 5 for every rocker.
This is one of the simplest single-pole switches you can ever install in your mobile home. It is compatible with most of the Decora wall plates. Use it to control one lighting fixture from one point.
Best Three-Way Switches For A Manufactured Home
These 15-amp three-way amps are perfect for your mobile home
Use this switch to control the lights in one specific room from three different locations in your home. It features a sleek contemporary design produced from durable thermoplastic nylon which is resistant to fire.
With about 20 finishes, this switch was designed to go with walls of any color. It is a 15-amp switch that will take you a maximum of 15 minutes to install. You can use it with any designer-styled opening for switch, jack, receptacle, or dimmer.
Best Double-Pole Switches For A Manufactured home
Double-pole switches can be three-way (control style), four-way (control style), specialty, or rocker.
Because we’ve already touched on three-way switches, and since four-way switches are unnecessary for a mobile home, we will look at the best rocker and the best specialty double-pole switches.
Best Specialty Double-Pole Switches
Philips Hue White Wireless Lighting Recipe Kit (1 A19 LED 60W Equivalent Dimmable Smart Light Bulb and Remote Dimmer Switch)
If you are a huge fan of the Phillips Hue family of smart bulbs, you might grab this switch with both hands. This double-pole specialty switch lets you control all the Hue smart lights in your home. It also supports smooth dimming, meaning you don’t require an additional dimmer for the job.
Also, it is compatible with Amazon Alexa, Google Nest, and Apple HomeKit to let you command your lights by voice. Sadly, you’ll need to buy the Hue Smart Bridge Separately.
If you are looking for a remote-controlled double-pole switch that will let you control your lights and appliances from long distances, this is one of the best switches for the job. The ergonomic design ensures that you have an easy time setting it up.
Best rockers (with double-pole switches)
Rocker switches are very much like traditional switches – they turn lights on/off. However, they require less hand pressure to operate.
They are the perfect option for children’s rooms and for those with disabilities.
Rocker switches are also a bit quiet compared to the traditional switches.
The best thing about this rocker switch is that it accepts both stranded and solid wire, making it easier to install. The thermoplastic material of construction is impact-resistant yet gentle on the finger. It comes with two ground connection options: a self-grounding clip and a green grounding screw.
Leviton 15 Amp Decora Plus Commercial Grade Double Pole Double-Throw Center-Off Maintained Contact Rocker Switch
You just love the versatility of flexibility that comes with this switch. It is offered in double-pole and single-pole, four-way and three-way switches, and the single pole. Additionally, you can select the maintained and momentary contact options as well as illuminated and pilot options. Choose between the 15 Amp and 20 Amp versions to suit your specific needs.
How To Change Light Switches In A Manufactured Home
The walls of the manufactured home are made from a material called drywall. Thus, the approach you’d take to replace the will be a little different compared to if you did on a concrete site-built home. Also, the amperage of the circuit may be a little different in some homes.
At some point, you might want to replace the switches by yourself without hiring a professional. It’s actually easier and cheap to go the DIY route.
Whether you are installing a new switch for aesthetical or functional reasons, you first need to understand how your switch is wired.
- When you turn the lights on, the current through the “hot” or black wire and then back via the “neutral” or white wire into the ground.
- The green wire is the “earth wire” and serves to direct the power away from the circuit in the event of an electrical fault.
- Virtually all switches come with two black cables to a pair of terminal screws.
- The white wires are linked to each other before being connected to the ground screw of your switch.
First and foremost, do the following for your safety:
- Switch off the main power at the fuse box or consumer unit
- Isolate your lighting circuit by removing the fuse (put the fuse in the pocket to prevent accidental replacement). Alternatively, you can shut down the breaker.
- Use a voltage or socket tester to check whether your lighting circuit is dead
How To Install A One-Way Switch
One-way switches are the simplest type of switches and also the easiest to replace. Start by drawing down the wiring formation of the switch before disconnecting. That way, you will rewire your new switch using the same directions. Keep the original screws, you might need them.
Most switches combine a plastic faceplate and a metallic mounting box. In such a setup, you will simply connect the earthing core to the earth terminal in the mounting box. In situations where the faceplate is made from metal, the earth core will run to it first.
In such a setup, you need to run a length of the earthing core between the mounting box faceplate and the earthing terminals in the mounting box. Remember to insulate the bare parts of wires used in earthing connecting with a yellow or green sleeving.
If both the mounting box and the faceplate are plastic, run a length of the earthing core between the faceplate and the mounting box.
Switch off the power and isolate the circuit. Test the circuit and check whether it is dead.
Unscrew the faceplate of the old switch and pull it out.
Draw the diagram of the wires connected to all of the terminals complete with their color and numbering codes.
Release the terminal screws and pull out the cores from their terminals.
If the earthing core is already well insulated with a green or yellow coating and connected appropriately to the mounting box, leave it as is.
Connect all the cores to their respective terminals on the new switch.
Tighten the screws to hold them tightly in position.
Give them a slight tug to check if they are clamped firmly.
If the black or blue sleeving on the live wire is old and worn out, fit some brown or similarly colored PVC.
Confirm that the connection is secure. Push the cables back into the compartment and secure the faceplate.
How To Install Two-Way Switches
Multi-way switches deserve extra caution because all the lights they control draws power from one circuit.
If you wire them inappropriately, they may end up drawing power from more than one circuit. In such a situation a live cable will remain active even if you isolate one of the circuits.
Start by isolating the circuit and removing the faceplate.
Proceed to disconnect the cables.
The two-way fittings found in a two-way switch almost always comes with three terminals.
The terminals you find in the compartment will be labeled L1, L2, and L3 or sometimes as L1 and L2.
At the switch, add some brown PVC coating on the blue core.
Likewise, you can brown PVC coating on the grew, black, and the drop cable. This is to show that they are live.
Now connect the blue and the brown cores of your current switch’s drop cable and the black and grew cores of your new cable – this is to pair the terminals.
Connect the linking cable’s brown cable to one terminal.
Fit some yellow or green sleeving on your bare earthing cables then link them to your mounting box’s earthing terminal.
How To Install Dimmer Switches
Most dimmers can easily fit in the standard wall box openings.
Thus, installing them with the usual halogen or incandescent dimmer lights can be as easy as winking. In this guide, we will show you the process of installing a dimmer switch all by yourself.
Safety Tip: Cut the power supply to the box opening at the fuse box or circuit breaker box before embarking on installation.
- Voltage tester
- Needle nose
- Phillips-Head screwdriver
- Dimmer light
- Electrical tape
- Outlet wall plates
- Wire connectors
1. Remove the old switch
Having ascertained that the power supply to the box opening is cut off, use the screwdriver to unmount on the existing wall plate.
Gently pull the old switch from the wall.
Watch out of a bundle of white whiles behind the switch – leave the intact.
If you are replacing a 3-way switch, remember to connect one wire to the screw labeled “COMMON” – the screw may be colored differently if not labeled as “common.”
Note that this wire is different from the one that will connect to the greed-coded screw (the ground wire).
Tag the common core with a piece of the electrical tape to separate it with other wires. Disconnect all the wires of the old switch from the opening.
2. Connect your dimmer switch
Straighten the wires and cut off the crooked or twisted tips.
Remove 3/4” of the sleeving from the tips of the wires if necessary.
Connect the earth wire to the green wire in the wall box.
Twist the two wires and cap them with a connector wire.
Connect each house wire to the dimmer wire gripping their ends with pliers and twisting them.
The dimmer wires are typically black whereas house wires will be red, white, or black.
The house wire cores may be red, white, or black. Tighten wire nuts around the ends of the wire cores.
3. Replace the wall plate
4. Tuck the wire cores back into the outlet box
5. Tighten all the screws holding the dimmer with a removable knob.
6. Tighten the screws that bind the dimmer to the electrical box.
7. If the dimmer came with a removable knob, remove the knob before attaching the switch to the wall box.
8. Turn the power on
9. Return to the fuse box or circuit breaker and switch on the lights. Adjust the dimmer to see lights are responding.
Three Things To Consider When Choosing Dimmer Switches
1. Type of light
Just any dimmer won’t work with just any kind of bulb.
That’s where the type of light comes into the mix.
If you have LED lights in your home, you must select a LED dimmer for them.
Although LED dimmers would still work with CFL lights, it is prudent you install CFL dimmer switches.
Halogen and incandescent bulbs work perfectly with all kinds of dimmer switches.
2. Number of switches
Dimmers come in two wiring configurations:
- three-way dimmers and
- single-pole wires.
The working principle is the same as that of regular switches.
3. Amount of bulbs
It is important to consider the number of bulbs you intend to control with the dimmer switch.
Add up the wattage of the bulbs and decide the correct dimmer switch for them.
Just like regular switches, dimmer switches come with wattage printed on them.
Light switches give you absolute control over the lighting.
Dimmers switches will let you adjust the brightness of the lights while the regular light switches will let you switch on/off your lights from one or several locations.
Your choices will be limited to 6 types of light and dimmer switches when shopping for the best switch for your manufactured home.
When choosing a dimmer switch, consider the number of bulbs in your room, the type of light produced by the bulbs, and the number of switches.