Dimmer outlet, lights on at zero

I am trying to use a dimmer outlet to control my Christmas lights. I am finding when I turn the switch off or set to zero, the lights are still on so very faintly. Last year I did the same thing and it worked fine. I was able to dim the lights as well as turn off, but this year it doesn’t work. We switch between white and colored lights each year and this year is a new set of led lights using 3 strings. Last year it was white and 4 strings. My assumption is there is just enough power to keep the lights on. I have tried 2 Centralite dimmers (same model, just 2 devices) and a Leviton dimmer. I think I am just stuck but thought I would ask for ideas. Any suggestions?

Try Adding more lights?


First, are the lights dimmable? If not, don’t use them with a dimmer.

If they are dimmable than as @TonyFleisher suggested, the LEDs are probably too low a load for the dimmer to recognize and it won’t control them properly.

The usual solution is to plug a dimmable night light into one of the taps and your LED lights into the other. That will usually add enough load that the on and off will work.


I doubt they are dimmable, they are just Home Depot specials. . . .but that’s the same thing I used last year only in white. Sadly I can’t add more lights this year as we got a significantly smaller tree. I may try the night light idea just to see if it works, but I doubt my wife will go for keeping it there. I stole one of my on/off switches and am using it and its fine, but I liked to be able to dim them because it makes them much less intense. The led xmas lights are just so bright. These will dim just fine. . . just won’t turn off.

Had the same issue with my Christmas tree, using a dimmer outlet usually meant for a lamp. I added a button extension cord and more lights, which caused the always “on” problem to go away.

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What’s a button extension cord?

I am using the £$9 Tradfri control outlets with all my different Xmas lights & tree. Not a solution to your problem, but a cheap alternative. I bought 4 of them just for Xmas and they are working pretty good.


I knew some one would ask lol https://express.google.com/u/0/product/4545992383207307803_0_10046?utm_source=google_shopping&utm_medium=tu_cu&utm_content=eid-lsjeuxoeqt&gtim=CMyL6b3OrcfVvQEQkMSJyPn---deGPDM7QIiA1VTRCig18HgBTC-Tg&utm_campaign=10046&gclid=Cj0KCQiAi57gBRDqARIsABhDSMpNrfFNubaICFxuYoSu3gs22xheHWQ42gYnPO1i1BND-cLUdYWCUgAaAkvuEALw_wcB

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Just had a thought, maybe I need to find some small low power device that doesn’t light up to plug in. I’m guessing dimming a non light up device could damage it?

Yes. This is why you shouldn’t be using non-dimmable Christmas lights with the dimmer anyway.

“Lamp” in the following text means “bulb”— it’s a UK site. But while the words are different, the physics are the same. :wink:


Dimming LED lamps can save energy and changes the visual appearance and mood of your space. You can use a dimmable LED lamp in a non-dimmable circuit. You should NOT use a non-dimmable lamp in a dimmable circuit as it may cause damage to the lamp and or circuit.

And if you use a device with a motor, much worse things could happen.

So, seriously: just go back to using the binary on/off switch. I understand that aesthetically you like the LED bulbs at lower lumens, but then you should get dimmable bulbs.

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Oh well, will just stick with the binary. Maybe I’ll dig out the box and check they aren’t dimmable, but I doubt it given the low cost.

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