Question about Leviton Decora Light Dimmer Switch

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I want to replace my levitron dimmer switch with a new one, the wires are pushed in not turned around a screw. How do I release the wires from the old switch? Thanks Tom

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  • tjames48 Jan 16, 2009

    thank you, this switch had pigtails solder on and no slot.



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There should be a small hole on the back of the switch, place a brad all or a pointy tool in the hole and pull out the wire at the same time.

Posted on Jan 25, 2009

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Tom the most important step is to shut off the breaker which controls this dimmer switch. Dimmer switches are sensitive and should never be worked on with out killing the power.

that being said, simply take a tiny flat blade screwdriver which will slide into the hole next to the wire and put some pressure on it. You can then easily remove the wires. good luck

Posted on Jan 19, 2009

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Some switches have a small area where you can insert a pin, or small screw driver that prsees down on the metal holding the wires and releasing them. Others do not have that and the wire must be cut and stripped.

Posted on Jan 16, 2009

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There should be a slot over or under where the wire is pushed in. try taking a toothpick or something of that sorts and insert it into that slot. the wire should then release.

Posted on Jan 16, 2009

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Your switch has 2 wires, and 2 brass screws, and new switch will have same.
Connect either wire to new switch.
Connect bare ground wire to green screw.
Turn power off, remove screws that hold switch into box, pull out switch, take photo of wiring, install new switch.
If wires are pushed into back of switch, then use small screwdriver and push into slot to release wire.

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Several questions here.

1) Lights should not flicker and switch should not make sound (or get unusually warm)
2) You should not have to 'press hard' to get switch to turn off.
3) Are the switches defective. YES. Remove and replace with ordinary toggle switch and see if flickering and sound-making continue. If problems continue, maybe local electrician should assess problem on-site.
4) Press to Release. You are speaking about wires connected on back of switch using 'quick-connects.'
Wire is pushed into a hole where wire is wedged against brass spring and held tight.
To release wire there is usually a hole or slot next to wire. Push small screwdriver into opening. Usually you have to push screwdriver very hard using one hand while other hand holds switch. Then use your additional hand to pull out wire. Or you can clip wire off and then strip back insulation and start fresh on new switch.
5) Builder electricians sometimes buy super cheap brand knock-offs that are not UL rated. Do not think all Leviton products lack quality. Buy new switches at local home center, and new switches will work fine.
6) When replacing switches, pay attention to screw-color that sits next to quick connect. Take a photo before removing all wires.
Screw colors tell electrician how to wire a device, and you can post new question at fixya, or add a comment for specific help.

7) Resources:

8) Take a moment and rate answer:
And take advantage of fixya expert assistance live.
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There are 2 holes in the back of the old switch,either take a piece of #14 gauge solid copper wire and press it into the hole to release the wires or just clip them close to the switch and then restrip the wire to the length indicated in the moulding on the back of the new switch.This tells you how long to strip the wire.After doing this loop halfway the solid copper wire with a pair of needle nose pliers and insert it around the screw clockwise,so that it turns with the screw and tightens the loop.MAKE SURE the copper on the black(hot) wire is not exposed beyond the loop,it has to only be around the screw.It's always a good practice whether your pushing the switch into a plastic or metal box,single lead or multiple incoming wires.For metal boxes I always wrap black tape on the brass(hot) screws.

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There is no schematic shown online for that specific product.
Leviton shows a spec sheet on their website but no wiring schematic.

However the spec sheet does show the screw terminals on one side of device that indicate this is ordinary combo switch-outlet.

Open following link for illustration of combo switch-outlet:
The problem that usually confronts people when they replace light switch with combo is that the combo requires additional neutral wire to power the outlet.
Neutral wires are the white wires twisted together and covered with wire nut that are pushed to back of electric box. Connect a short piece of white wire to the neutrals, and connect that wire to screw on combo device. If your electrical box does not have these neutral wires, you can get the outlet to work by using bare ground wire instead of white neutral, but I would never recommend this action as it violates national electric code and would not pass home inspection and would cause risk to electrician working on that same circuit who was unaware of a code violation.

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See product to make sure we are talking about same thing:

If this is not your device, add a comment any time or fixya offers phone support for a fee.

This ordinary switch-outlet combo.
One side of device: there are dark screws on one side of device: Black hot wire from circuit breaker connects to either dark screw. The dark screws are connected by a brass plate, so both screws are identical.
Other side of device: there are silver and brass screws.
Wire going to Load (light fan motor) connects to brass screw.
White neutral wire connects to silver screw.

Here's how to test for Hot and Neutral wires.
Separate all wires for testing.
Turn on power.
Test each wire to bare ground wire.
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If I understand correctly new dimmer is in different box than outdoor switch.
And outdoor switch controls different light than new dimmer.
Both new dimmer and outdoor light are on same circuit breaker, and that breaker is not tripped.

Outdoor problem could be related if loose wire inside dimmer box also feeds over to outdoor switch. More below.
Here's how I would troubleshoot problem.
1) Check outdoor bulb(s). This step can be big time saver.

2) Pull outdoor switch out of box a bit so you can see and test wires.

3) If wires are pushed into quick connects located on back of switch, these connects get loose. Moving switch usually causes loose wire to connect again, so turn switch ON-OFF and see if outdoor lights work. Sometimes switch works fine after quick connects reconnect. If quick connects are bad, use tiny screwdriver in slot next to connect-hole to release wire. And then connect wire to screw terminals on switch. Or replace switch.

4) Turn switch to OFF, use tester and test both screws on switch to bare ground wire. Tester should light up on one screw. If tester does not light up, then switch is not getting power, and that wire has to be tracked back to see where short is.

a) Look if one of the black switch wires is connected to other switch, or connected to other black wires inside same box. This wire might have come loose.
b) Look at white wire inside same box and make sure they are twisted together and covered with wire nut.

c) Now here is where dimmer could be related ... if white wires are joined together in dimmer box, they could have come loose if they were not properly twisted together and covered with wire nut.

5) Turn switch to ON and test again. Tester should light up on both screws. If switch does not light up on both screws, then switch is bad. Replace switch.

Add a comment if you need more help.

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Make sure the power is off.
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Remove a hot wiring device immediately.

This is not safe.

I just found your post, and am going to send the response now without discussing the dimmer.

You can add a comment and get in touch with me.

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