Tuesday, February 3, 2009


The Lutron Maestro dimmer with IR remote that we installed in our bedroom has worked so well, we decided to install a similar dimmer with remote for our front porch light. We had planned to simply install a second switch near the porch door, but running the extra wire was looking expensive (and it kept dropping off the electrician’s to-do list). Because of the location, it also would have required mounting a surface box instead of the usual flush installation where the electrical box is inside the wall. Fortunately, Lutron makes an RF remote that can be mounted on the wall.

The RF remote works the same way as a wireless doorbell, which we’ve had terrible luck with. We always seemed to be at the very edge of the doorbell’s range, even when it was just 20 feet from the chime. I replaced the doorbell and chime any number of times, and never found a set that worked reliably. Part of the issue may have been that the receiver in the chime was always battery-powered rather than line-powered. The receiver in the Lutron dimmer is line-powered, so that won’t be an issue. In any case, the actual range of the Lutron remote is great: it worked from 90 feet away (on the street in front of our neighbor’s driveway). It’s now mounted just inside our porch door, so we can turn the porch light on and off without going inside the house. A small victory, but I like these improvements that we can make ourselves. Adding the second overhead light on our porch will have to wait for the electrician, though. Once there are two overhead lights, the dimming capability should become more useful.

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