Confused about 3 way switch wires


I am confused as to what wires mean what in the configuration of my light switch. It is a 3 way switch and I took pics of the master and other switch. The master has a black, white, and red switch going into it. What confuses me, is there is twisted black and white capped off wires in the box. Is it possible the white one is a neutral? I think I may not have any neutral wires unfortanately. Also, the other switch seems to have a red, black, and white wires going into it, with nothing in the box.

MY main question is, do I have neutral wires in any of these? I am starting to think not but thought I would ask for help.

Link to album:

Anything is possible in the US— most wire color is not mandated by code. You really need to get one of the tools to measure current flow and learn how to use it and then you can be certain about what’s happening.

If you live near a Home Depot, many of these have a free class on how to install a three way switch. It won’t apply directly to your smart switches because the wiring is a little bit different, but you will learn all about the wiring and how to use the tools. And if you happen to have the GE Smart switches the teacher may be able to find out some answers for you since those are sold at Home Depot. But in any case, it’s a class well worth taking. You may find that the wiring is different at different switches in your house, for example. Again, anything is possible. :sunglasses:

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Based on that picture you have power going to the light fixture first and then to the switches. I know this because you only have 2 wires going to that left switch and the black/white bundle is basically cutting the line power to the fixture. Then the other switch has a single 14-3 Romex going to it.

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Thanks for the reply. That looks right. So does that I mean I can or can not use the ge zwave switches? I am confused on the installation as it seems like there is no “load” wire. All the instructions make it seem like i need to black wires, line and load. Is the white wire still considered neutral? If so, would I just follow the directions but not use a load wire?

Thanks for the help.

Unfortunately you cannot. All smart switches require a neutral. Lutron makes a dimmer that does not but that also requires their hub. Other option is to pull another wire to this switch box or you can use a micro switch in the light fixture box.

Please refer to this FAQ on your available options:

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Augmenting what @ritchierich posted.

No, the whites in your two switch boxes are not neutrals. In your configuration, or at least in the posted diagram, the hot and neutral are provisioned at the light. From there the two-wire from the light to the first switch is used to route the hot to and from the light, so neither of those are a neutral. The three-wire between the switches is also used to route the hot between them, depending on the switch(s)’ positions, so no neutral there either.