Disconnected smart switch relay -- Is it safe?

I started a previous thread where I was asking about using smart switches with smart lights, and @JDRoberts pointed me to the FAQ of all FAQs on this topic. I did see some mention of what I believe I’ve attempted/accomplished in the photo below. So here’s a DWH6HD dimmmer. The line is hardwired to the lights. Then I jumper off that to power the dimmer. Neutral and ground are connected per instructions. So, the question is: is this truly safe? From my own understanding, it would seem to be. All I’ve done is to avoid directing power through a relay. So, is there a realistic concern that this will explode during the night and burn down my house and wipe out my family?

If anything is not safe, as the FAQ says, is that you have to turn off the power at the breaker to service the fixture. I won’t call up DBI if you don’t.

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I have a couple GE switches installed without a load and have had no problems at all. Unless the switch says a load must be connected, I cannot see any reason why this would burn down the house.

DISCLAIMER: I am not an electrician or engineer but have worked on industrial machinery in a previous career so take my thoughts with that in mind.


I won’t hold you responsible if my house burns down :wink: I’ve done a lot of the wiring in my home, with much success. Never has an inspector thought it was done by anyone other than a licensed electrician. I just want to make sure I haven’t missed anything while thinking this through. Thanks oldcomputerwiz.


Safe? No less safe than duct-taping the switch in the on position.

Wise? Not so sure. Are you in the US? Bypassing the switch violates nec 210.70. If there is an accident or fire, regardless of the actual cause, your insurance could (and probably would) use that to deny any claims.

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That section applies to specific areas of the home like attics and basements where there may be exposed equipment which could be a hazard in the dark.

It does not apply to regular living rooms, bedrooms, etc. NEC does allow for automated control of lighting in those areas, you are not required to have a manual wall switch in the US. (You are in the UK.) You have to look at the sections on automatic control because they carve out the exception.

But of course you should always check with your local township as well in case they have adopted other rules requiring a wall switch.


Look at 210.70(A)(1) Habitable Rooms. At least one wall switch–controlled lighting outlet shall be installed in every habitable room, kitchen, and bathroom.

My concern isn’t with the kind of control being installed, whether it be a dumb snap switch, smart switch, automatic switch, or even a remote controlled relay. My concern is that this switch has been BYPASSED with a wirenut. The switch in the picture isn’t controlling the lighting outlet; it’s controlling the bulb.

Is this convenience worth setting yourself up for the possibility of having to sue your insurer after a fire, or defend yourself after someone puts a dumb bulb in the socket and shocks themselves trying to figure out why it won’t shut off?

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It would definitely be something to look into. I honestly don’t know whether that requirement is so that there is a switch on the wall (even if it’s a battery operated switch as part of a home automation system) or whether it requires that the load to the light be controlled by that switch. They’ve changed the wording a couple of times in the last 10 years.

I am pretty sure that even if it does require a load controlling switch, it only requires one of them – – if there’s more than one switch in the room you might be able to tie off the others and still meet code.

I’m not an electrician, so I would certainly defer to anybody who is on this topic. With the understanding that different jurisdictions have adopted different rules, not every place uses the most current NEC. (I don’t use this particular method in my own home so I haven’t had to check it out in detail.)

Since Inovelli and The Smartest House now both offer wall switches which can be configured to bypass the load, I wonder if they have looked into the code issue.

@Eric_Inovelli @TheSmartestHouse

It’s a little different with electronic smart switches. Because what we offer here is to disable manual control on demand which leaves the existing wiring as is (you won’t connect load to line directly as shown in the installation above). As opposed to mechanical switches which physically control the relay with the toggle or paddles, Z-Wave switches use buttons to activate it (buttons are pressed when you press the paddle or toggle up the toggle) and these buttons can be used in many different ways including remote control. So it’s not like you’re actually disabling the relay and if you need to cut the power off to the bulbs, you’ll need to make changes to the wiring again or open the box up.
Additionally, you have an air gap switch by the dimmers that can cut power to load even if manual control on the paddles is disabled. That would typically be enough to comply with most regulations but as @JDRoberts said, it’s always good to check your local requirements and maybe consult an electrician before bypassing wall switches.


@TheSmartestHouse, which specific models do you offer that have the on-demand disabling of the manual switching?

My intent in posting this was saving money by not buying a new switch. But it seems the safety/liability issue is unclear. Anything less than a sure answer is enough for me to spend the extra dough.

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Pretty sure all of the newer Zooz switches have firmware that allows the physical relay to be disabled. The Inovelli red series switches also have this feature.

Here’s a quote from a Zooz rep from last summer about getting the firmware that allows for this feature on older models. I would think any being sold now would have this firmware.

We’re applying the firmware across all models but not all of the old versions are updateable. ZEN21 and ZEN23 can be updated over the air if they’re VERSION 3.0 or higher, ZEN22 and ZEN24 VER. 2.0 with a production date sticker of 0418 or higher are updateable, and all ZEN26 and ZEN27 versions can be updated over the air.

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All of the models have this feature. Feel free to reach out to us regarding possible firmware updates once you decide which models you’d like to get.

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Are you asking about disabling the use of the physical switch? Or disabling energizing the load terminal when switched on?

Those are two different features.

Tagging @TheSmartestHouse again

Just to clarify: when you disable the physical switch, the Load terminal will be energized at all times if the last state of the switch was on (which is what you want for smart bulb control). You could still cut power off to it through SmartThings unless you disable Z-Wave control as well, which leaves you with just the air-gap switch to cut power off to load at this point.

If you’d like to prevent the load terminal from getting energized (this is better if no load / bulb is connected to the switch at all and you’re using it as a remote control), it’s the same feature, you just need to make sure the switch is set to off before you disable physical and/or Z-Wave control.

So same setting, 2 different applications :slight_smile:


@HalD thanks for asking and @TheSmartestHouse thanks for clarifying.

As these are smart downlights, I need the load energized at all times. Z-wave active as a remote.

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