Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Choosing Switch Plates for Dimmers by Type

You may have updated one of your light switches to a dimmer switch.

Or, you may already have a dimmer switch, but you need to replace the cover plate.

Either way, finding the right switch plate for a dimmer can be tricky. Use this guide to get the right plate for your switches.

Guide to Dimmer Light Switch Covers:

First, determine which type of dimmer you have:

Here are 4 types of dimmers, and each is shown here.

Identify Which Plate Opening You Need:

Once you have identified your dimmer's shape, you'll see which type of switch plate opening fits your dimmer:

Both toggle and rotary dimmers fit toggle switch plates.

Find the Right Combination Switch Plate:

Often times, a dimmer (or series of dimmers) sits alongside other types of light switches.

If that's the case, you will need to find a combination switch plate (a plate with more than 1 type of switch opening).

Converting a Switch Plate for a Dimmer

Here is an example of a 4-rocker plate that has 1 light switch, 2 rocker dimmers and 1 rotary dimmer:

You can see that the rotary dimmer opening is incorrect. In this case, a new combination switch plate can be purchased (in this case, a 1-toggle 3-rocker plate).

To keep the current plate, another solution is to convert the rocker opening with an insert. The rotary dimmer stem will fit through the small round hole in the center of this insert for a rocker plate opening.

Inserts sit underneath a switchplate to convert the opening. This is often the cheapest solution to fixing a tricky switch plate situation.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Metal Key & Mail Holder Switch Plate Hooks

Whether you live in an apartment, have little wall space, or simply don't want to damage your walls - switch plate hooks are the ideal solution for keeping track of car keys, outgoing mail and work ID badges.

Add a switch plate hook or two to the light switch right by your front door and you'll easily be able find your keys and remember to put your bills in the mailbox.

You can even create a cell-phone charging station by adding your mobile's charger to an outlet and resting your phone on a couple of wall place hooks.

Removable, damage-free mail and key holder hooks.

No drilling, hammering or hardware required.

Hooks are simple to install - just unscrew a bottom screw on your light switch cover, then attach the hook using the switchplate's screw.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Stainless Steel vs Nickel Plates - The Difference

Choosing coordinating granite, tile and paint colors is tricky. In fact, much tricker than I thought when I recently updated my builder-grade kitchen. Costly mistakes were made. *Sigh*

Finding the right updated light switches & cover plates is an unexpected part of most remodel projects. And it's something most homeowners only think of as an afterthought.

Getting a perfect match to your marble, tile, wallpaper or paint isn't likely. But there are lots of finishes to choose from, so with a little bit of effort, you can find switches, outlets and covers that blend with your fresh new color palette.

One of the most popular finishes for kitchens is stainless steel. Many customers want to coordinate with stainless steel fridges, ovens and other kitchen appliances.

We always recommend our residential grade stainless steel faceplates for rooms in which you're trying to match appliances with a satin stainless finish.

Stainless switch & outlet covers are neutral, and don't pull toward any particular color like nickel plates do. Here you can see that nickel switchplates have a yellow tone in comparison to stainless steel:

Note that you can't get actual light switches in stainless, but you can use white, gray, black, red or ivory switches with stainless plates.

A customer emailed us this week to share a picture of her white electrical devices with an oversized stainless steel plate on white mosaic tile:

Pretty fabulous, huh?

Shop stainless steel switch plates in every size and get $6.95 flat-rate shipping. And please send us pictures when you have them installed! 

We'd love to see how our plates have improved your living space.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Mounting a Screwless Switch Plate - Your Step by Step Guide

My brother is a big of a freak about organization. In his kitchen, the cabinet doors and inlaid with glass, and as a result, all the china inside must be perfectly aligned at all times (this includes the patterns on the plates and bowls).

Another thing he's very particular about is the screws in the switch plates on his walls. All screws must match with the groove positioned horizontally.

Like this:

This, would drive him crazy:

Can you relate?

I have to admit, while I don't go around my house re-positioning my switchplate's screws, if I do remove and remount a plate (say, when painting a room), I also line up all the screws to match.

"Line Up the Switch Plate Screws" is a dangerous game to play, as you don't want to leave a screw too loose, but over tighten one and "snap!" - your plate cracks.

Alleviate all your switch plate woes with screwless covers. They're simple to mount, easy to clean and are a remarkable way to update the look of any room.

Screwless switch plates come with 2 plates - a mounting plate (or sub-plate) and the finishing screwless cover.

Here's How to Mount Your Screwless Lutron Switch Plate:

Step 1: Position the mounting plate on top of the devices in your electrical box.

Step 2: Screw mounting plate into the available screw holes in the devices using provided mounting screws.

Note that the screwless cover plate will snap into the slots in the mounting plate (highlighted in orange in the image below).

Step 3: Align cover plate over mounting plate and push until it fits securely into the mounting plate's slots/grooves.

That's it! Now enjoy your new, modern screwless wall plates.

Note: This guide shows a Lutron brand screwless rocker plate for 2 switches, but most screwless covers are mounted in a similar fashion.

Buy Lutron Screwless Wall Plates at Kyle Switch Plates.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Extend Your Switch Plate to Protect Your Wall or Cover Damage

The area around your switch plate may look a little worn - especially if you have wallpaper. Years of grappling in the dark for the switch can leave your wallpaper looking dirty and worn through.

Another issue that's very, very common is when a hole is cut in the drywall for a new electrical device, and the hole turns out too big. Whoops!

(I have this problem even in my own house - and no one is more aware of the need to avoid this issue than I!)

The good news is, there are 2 solutions, which I have detailed for you below, so keep reading!

How to Extend Your Outlet or Light Switch Plate to Cover More of Your Wall:

Option #1: Buy an Oversized Switch Plate

A standard cover plate (2.75" W x 4.5" H) is only slightly larger than your electrical box.

Bump up the size to cover more wall space. Larger plates still have the same size of opening for your switch or outlet, and the screw holes are spaced the same.

Larger plates can be found in these sizes:
3.5" W x 5.5" H
4.5" W x 6.375" H
5.5" W x 7.5" H

All three of the sizes listed here are very popular sellers for a single-gang plate (a plate covering only one device). You can also find oversized plates to cover up to 7 devices in a single electrical box.

Learn more about oversized plates & see all sizes & configurations at Kyle Switch Plates.

This is the simplest and best looking option to cover wall damage or a large cutout in the sheetrock:

Depending on the size of the plate and the shape of the opening (Decora rocker, toggle or duplex), oversized or "jumbo size" switchplates come in a variety of finishes, allowing you to cover more wall space without compromising aesthetics.

Option #2: Add a Switch Plate Expander

Another choice to cover wall damage surrounding a light switch is to simply add a flat expander plate underneath your current cover.

Expander plates are .03" thick, only available in white, and can be purchased in 4 sizes:
4" W x 6" H - for a 1-gang plate
6" W x 6" H - for a 1-gang plate
6" W x 6" H - for a 2-gang plate
6" W x 8" H - for a 3-gang plate

This flat plate could be painted, covered with wall paper or fabric, or left plain. If you have a specialized cover you don't want to replace, this is the only way to extend the coverage of your plate.

These are great for both residential and commercial use.

If you have a high-traffic area in your home, school, office, retail store, restaurant, museum, daycare center, gallery, studio, airport, hospital or hotel lobby, you can also prevent wall damage by installing a switch plate expander or oversized plate.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Identify & Replace Parts in a Low Voltage Lighting System

If your home's light switches look different from mainstream ones, and your house was built in the 1950's, '60s, '70s or early '80s, you probably have low voltage lighting in your home.

It can be difficult to replace your switches if they break. Or, if you repaint your walls and an old cover (or all of them!) gets thrown out, you might be finding it quite difficult to find a replacement.

The bad news is: low voltage lighting parts are rare.

The good news is: Kyle Switch Plates specializes in low voltage parts & has free wiring guides (with purchase) to help with replacing your old parts.

If you already know what brand your system is - Shop Low Voltage Lighting Parts at Kyle Switch Plates.

If you need relays, light switches or cover plates for your low voltage system, use this photo guide to identify your system's brand so we can direct you to the correct replacements (see links below).

Pay attention to the style of the switches themselves, as these are just examples of layouts - you might have only 1 or 2 switches in a plate where we show 3. But, as long as you can identify the brand of the switch, you'll know how to find the right replacement.

Once you identify your system from the image here, find the info below to get replacement parts.

#1. GE:
Model number: RFS-3, RFS-6 or RFS-9.
These old style of switches have been discontinued. New switches are available here. They will require new GE plates.
If your switches are working and you simply need new plates, get replacement GE plates here.

#2. GE:
Model number: RS2-32, RS2-37 or RS2-39
These are the current style of GE switches & plates. Get replacements here.

#3 GE:
Model number: RS2-32, RS2-37 or RS2-39
These are the currently manufactured GE switches in bracket mount plates. This style of switch and plate requires mounting straps (old ones cannot be used as the sizes are different).

#4 GE:
Model number: RTS-5
Replace this style of old GE switch with a new Pass & Seymour Despard Momentary Switch (model 1091) and despard cover plate.

#5 GE:
Model number: RTS-6
Options for replacements same as #4 above.

#6 GE:
Model number: RCS
Switches have been discontinued. Replacement RCS plates are available here.

#7 GE
Model Number: RFS Decorator
Kyle Switch Plates carries 1-gang and 2-gang replacement covers for this style of switch. Larger gang covers are not available at this time.

#8 Bryant:
Model number: Unknown
The direct replacement for Bryant systems - relays, plats & low volt switches - is GE. Replace Bryant parts with GE here.

#9 Sierra:
Model number: Unknown
Old Sierra switches can be replaced with Pass & Seymour 1091 Despard Light Switches. You'll find a variety of despard plate configurations are available as well.

#10 Remcon:
Model number: Any
Regardless of the style or part number of your Remcon light switch, the best replacement is Touch Plate.
The only tricky part is that every 1 Remcon switch will be replaced with 2 Touch Plate buttons (a separate "on" and "off", rather than a single switch with 2 ends to press "on" and "off).
Remcon relays are still manufactured and available here. The Remcon brand relays are the correct ones to operate your current Remcon and new Touch Plate low voltage switches.

#11 Pyramid:
Model number: Any
All Pyramid parts have been discontinued. Update broken relays with Remcon relays and non-functioning Pyramid switches with Touch Plate units.
The tricky things to remember: every Pyramid switch will be replaced with 2 individual Touch Plate buttons (a separate "on" and "off", rather than a single switch).
To replace the 5 Pyramid switches & cover shown, you'd need a 10 button Touch Plate unit.

#12 Touch Plate:
Model number: 5000 Series; 500S1, 500S2, 500S3
The Low Voltage 5000 Series from Touch Plate is currently manufactured in white, almond and ivory. Get parts with 1, 2 or 3 buttons.

#13 Touch Plate:
Model number: MTL Frame Series
Replace with any switches in Touch Plate's low voltage line.

#14 Touch Plate:
Model number: Genesis, GEN-1B, GEN-2B, GEN-3B
Get units with 1-3 buttons when you buy new Touch Plate Genesis parts.

#15 Touch Plate:
Model number: Classic, CLA-4B-0L, CLA-6B-0L, CLA-8B-0L, CLA-12B-0L, CLA-4B-4L, CLA-6B-6L, CLA-8B-8L, CLA-12B-12L
Get regular and LED lit Touch Plate Classic control stations in white, black, almond and ivory at Kyle Switch Plates.

#16 Touch Plate:
Model number: Ultra, ULTS1
Get new Ultra Line Units (with or without screwless Ultra covers). Ultra series switches fit standard rocker plates as well.

#17 Touch Plate:
Model number: Mystique, MYS-1B-0L, MYS-1B-1L, MYS-2B-2L, MYS-2B-0L, MYS-3B-3L, MYS-3B-0L, MYS-4B-4L, MYS-4B-0L, MYS-8B-8L, MYS-8B-0L
Touch Plate Mystique switches can be purchased here (just scroll beyond the Classic Series units).

#18 LiteTouch:
Model number: Any
There are no current replacements for the discontinued line of low voltage lighting.

#19 GE:
Model number: RMS-2A
This control dial from General Electric is no longer available. To get the same functionality you can update to an 8-button control station which can be labeled and filled with new General Electric low voltage switches.
For up to 12 switches, your new control unit can be created with new GE switches and a 12-switch cover plate.

#20 GE:
Model number: RMS-4A
This is another version of the control dial shown in image #19. Follow the same replacement parts to update the RMS-4A from General Electric, which is discontinued.

For even more detailed descriptions of each of these low voltage systems from GE, Bryant, Pyramid, Touch Plate, Remcon & Sierra, see Kyle Switch Plates' Complete Guide to Identifying Old Low Voltage Parts here.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Find Dimmers for LED Bulbs | Kyle Switch Plates

Dimmers are a great way to set a nice ambiance and save money on your electrical bill.

Replace a regular light switch with a dimmer switch and enjoy the benefits right away.

However, if you've tried to replace a lightbulb anytime recently, you may have entered the bulb aisle and been confronted with a tough decision - there are so many bulb choices these days! It's downright overwhelming!

And, not all dimmer switches will dim all types of bulbs.

You must purchase the right dimmer for your bulb type.

Until recently, dimmers were made to dim incandescent and halogen bulbs. Replacing those types of bulbs with LED's or CFL bulbs, and your old dimmer may not function.

On top of that, keep in mind that the LED bulb itself must be a dimmable bulb.

So, if you have a dimmable LED or CFL bulb, keep reading for the styles of dimmers available.

Dimmers for LED Bulbs:

Universal Rocker Dimmer:
  • Brand: Leviton
  • Dims incandescent, LED or CFL bulbs
  • Single pole & 3-way functionality
  • Colors: White, Light Almond, Ivory, Brown, Black
  • Finish: Gloss

Universal CFL & LED Toggle Dimmer:
  • Brand: Lutron
  • Dimmable CFL & LED bulbs
  • Single pole & 3 way functionality
  • Colors: White, Light Almond, Ivory, Brown, Black
  • Finish: Satin

LED Rocker Dimmer with Side Lever:
  • Brand: Lutron
  • Dimmable LED & CFL bulbs
  • Single pole & 3-way functionality
  • Colors: White, Light Almond, Ivory, Gray Brown, Black
  • Finish: Gloss

Slide Dimmer  with On/Off Switch:
  • Brand: Lutron
  • Dimmable LED & CFL lights
  • Single pole & 3-way functionality
  • Colors: White, Light Almond, Ivory, Gray Brown, Black
  • Finish: Gloss

Large dimmers come in a variety of colors & they all fit rocker switch plate openings. The small toggler dimmers are for toggle plates.