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Kevin
Kevin, Licensed Electrician
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 3075
Experience:  30 years as a Licensed Electrical Contractor in Illinois, 6 year college Electrical Instructor, Former Electrical Inspector, Diploma in Digital Electronics, Former Illinois Licensed Home Inspector
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Im having trouble installing Z-Wave 3 way switches in my home.

This answer was rated:

I'm having trouble installing Z-Wave 3 way switches in my home. The Z-wave switch has spaces for 5 wires (including ground), but I only have 4 wires available in each box: ground, 2 black wires and a red wire (which I assume is the traveler).

Hello.....my name is XXXXX XXXXX I will be happy to assist you with your electrical question. My goal is to exceed your expectations on Just Answer!

 

1) Will your installation only be for (2) two 3-way switches or do you also have any 4-way switches in between the 3-ways?

 

2) Just to confirm, neither of the existing 3-way wall boxes has a white neutral wire originating from the branch circuit?

 

3) What is your wiring scheme for the existing 3-ways? Is this Romex cable or metal conduit spanning between the 3-ways and the lighting fixtures?

 

 

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Kevin.


 


Please see below:


 


1. There are no 4-way switches, only 3-ways.


 


2. Both switches have 2 black wires. I assume one of them has to be a neutral, but not sure.


 


3. Standard (Romex) cable.


 


Note: I examined the wires going to the light fixture itself and there is a black and a white wire going to the light.

1) Thanks for the replies Patrick.

 

2) A standard 3-way switch does not have a neutral wire connected to any of the 3 screw terminals. The 2 brass terminals on a 3-way are for the 2 traveler conductors. The black screw terminal is the common terminal. One of the 3-ways will be the hot circuit feed originating from the breaker and this conductor will terminate on to the black screw.

 

The 2nd 3-way will be the "switched loop" going to the lighting fixture. The "switched loop" connection will be the black screw terminal on this 3-way and connects directly to the lighting fixture hot wire.

 

3) If both of your existing wall boxes do not have a white neutral conductor which originates from the branch circuit, the Z-Wave 45614 will not work since these switches all require a neutral splice/termination.

1) In order to get the Jasco's to work, you would need to locate the white neutral wire from the branch circuit and extend the existing branch circuit neutral wire using either 14/2 (15 amp circuit breaker) or 12/2 (20 amp circuit breaker) Romex with ground to both of the existing 3-way wall boxes.

 

As an alternative, if you have metal wall boxes with available knockouts, you could also run 1/2" EMT metal conduit or 3/8" Flexible Metal Conduit (Greenfield) to extend the required neutral wire to the 3-way wall boxes. Accessibility is most likely a concern though.

 

 

 

Hope this helps.........If you have any additional questions, let me know and I'll be glad to answer them for you.

 

Otherwise, don't forget to rate me before you log Off.

The next time you have an electrical question, you can also request for me at: http://www.justanswer.com/home-improvement/expert-your-electrician
..........Thanks..............Kevin!



Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Kevin,


 


Based on your answer, at least one switch box needs a neutral wire in order for this product to work.


 


I have a black wire connected to the neutral terminal on both of the original switches. Does this take the place of the neutral wire?

1) Patrick, per the attached instructions located on page 6, showing a 3-way application, the wiring diagram shows both 3-way switches requiring a white neutral connection. My original answer was: If both of your existing wall boxes do not have a white neutral conductor which originates from the branch circuit, the Z-Wave 45614 will not work since these switches all require a neutral splice/termination.

 

Attachment: 2013-07-17_032944_45614-manual-eng.pdf

 

2) You mention that you have a black wire connected to the neutral terminal on both of the original switches. If your original switches are standard 3 way switches using 3 screw terminals (2 brass and 1 black), there is no neutral connection.

 

3) A neutral wire can only be color coded as either white or gray, no other colors are allowed for a branch circuit such as a 15 or 20 amp circuit. Obviously, white is the most common color for a neutral branch circuit. Black, red, green or bare copper cannot be used as a neutral wire as this is a violation of the National Electrical Code. The neutral must either be white or gray in color insulation.

 

 

Kevin and other Electrical Specialists are ready to help you

Patrick...... thank you for the good service rating.... much appreciated!

 

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but unfortunately these types of switches using this technology require a white neutral. It was very common and perfectly acceptable in the day when electricians did not install a white neutral in wall switch boxes. Since 2011, the code has changed and provisions must now be made to have a future neutral wire installed in all switch boxes. This is due to the technology that Jasco uses as well as for Occupancy Sensor types of switching.

 

Take care and have a great evening..........Thanks.............Kevin!

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