the code in the US IIRC is 2 cubic inches per #14 conductor. it’s a smidge more complex what’s a conductor. NOT A LICENSED ELECTRICIAN but i think basically a the white, black, and ground conductors each count as one. The switch counts as 2. So you have 5 conductors at 2 inches each- total of 10 inches is all that is needed. End game is in concrete walls there’s some screwy shallow boxes in play that are legal, and are NEVER going to eacily fit a zwave switch.
I’m not at all positive how these work as I dont have any myself- but looks like you can put this in the light fixture’s box in stead of the switches box and then use a standard skinny switch to remotely control the z wave device that is in the (HOPEFULLY) larger box where the outlet, light, etc is mounted.
Thanks for trying to help- the micro dimmer wouldn’t fit in the box- there’s only room to pull the standard one out and put the same size smart switch in. I’m enclosing a picture of a standard Lutron switch I have, as well as a smart one-which doesn’t fit. I measured the standard one and it’s 1.5 inches in depth from the front of the metal plate. I want a z-wave on/off the same depth as the standard- no dimmer needed.
the micro dimmer would NOT go in the switch’s box.
Rather, my understanding is, you put the micro dimmer in the box downstream of the switch that the light is mounted to/in (which hopefully has more room). NOT AN ELECTRICIAN and dont have a micro gizmo to try- so confirm on your own… but…
Based on my understanding of how the micro gadget works, and it all depends on how the wiring is but in a perfect world, currently (ignoring grounds as they should be everywhere and all connected together) your power, and neutral currently enter the box that the light is mounted to. The neutral is connected to the light but the power is connected to a two conductor which goes to the switch and then from the switch comes back and powers the light. With a shallow box that’s pretty typical as it allows the least amount of conductors in the shallow box. If it were to be wired differently you would have more conductors in the box, which would then require more cubic inches, and you would have more room and wouldn’t be jumping through these crazy hoops as it is.
Assuming that describes your current wiring- then, you could hypothetically go to the light fixtures box and put the micro dimmer in there. You would connect the hot and neutral from the incoming line to the microdimmer. from the micro dimmer you run a new hot and neutral to the light. Then on the side of the microdimmer you connect the two wires that run to the switch.
You would make no change to the existing switch. The skinny existing switch just sits there as it does today.
If i’m not clear- and i’m probably not- lol- look up the instructions for that gizmo and hopefully it has wiring diagrams to help you.
again not a licensed electrician- if you aren’t 100% sure and understanding would probably be best not to guess based on my post but rather hire someone.
PS- there’s different versions of the gizmo- i think there’s a dimmer, a on/off switch, and then versions of each that include energy monitoring too.
Any pictures? How does this look? What kind of faceplate would you use? One that fits exactly, or an oversized faceplate?
Would this look okay in a family room or dining room?
Lastly, this is plastic, the boxes that are shallow in my house or the older metal boxes, since they are metal no need for ground wire, with these I would need to make sure to use a ground wire to the smart switch. I think?
i believe regardless if the box is metal or plastic that current code requires a ground to wire connected to every device (switch, outlet, whatever)…
Is there a ground wire in the box that goes to a screw in the back of the box? IF not can you see if the wire is non-metallic sheathed or some sort of metal clad? If there’s no-ground to the box you might have bigger issues…
I am not an electrician, this is what I found googling. The bolding was added by me to highlight the comment about the metal box. The metal screw between the device and the metal box is the ground.
Also, I did buy grounding wires that have the correct screw and the metal box has places inside to place the screw. But since these boxes were already EXTREMELY tight, placing more wires into the box was a problem.
New info, Better answer
If you are replacing a switch a ground is not required, as per the above exception. However, if you’re installing a switch; replacement or otherwise,into a metal box that is grounded. The switch will be ground via the devices yoke and mounting screws. So if the metal box is grounded, the switch is also grounded.
Well if you notice in the forums here people asking about smart switches that do NOT require neutrals because there are no neutral wires in the boxes. Well, if they do not have neutral wires there is a good chance they do not have ground wires either.
actually I’ve seen plenty of switches without a neutral and every last one has a ground.
A regularly used wiring method was/is to run the power to the device(outlet, light, whatever) along with neutral and ground- but rather than connect the hot (typically black) to the device you run a 2 conductor (which in modern days is really 2 + a ground) from that box to the switch box. You connect one of those conductors (say black) to the hot at the device’s box then to one end of the switch, you connect the white to the other end of the switch (and many will wrap the white with tape to indicate it is NOT a neutral) then run that back to actually power the device.
There was never a need to put the neutral in the switch box until smart switches came along, so it was cheaper to leave it out since 2 conductor (2 plus ground) is cheaper than 3 conductor (3 plus ground). In a subdivision all those pennies add up.
Also If the switch is farther from the power source than the load then you would waste wire running the neutral to the switch and back. Or if they ran a 3 conductor the neutral would just be capped in the box anyway until smart switches came along.
3 way switches runs also can get wired without a neutral depending on the topography of the house.
JD, I am considering a Decora deep switchplate from Kyle, paired with a plastic 3-gang extender. But, the Decora plate is metal. Won’t that restrict my performance? I have the new GE Z-Wave plus all over the house.
It might, it might not. Zwave transmits 360°, so the signal might come out through the plastic, it might come out through the back of the switch, it might go down through the wall and reach an outlet or even a device one floor down that way.
Even if your backbox is all metal, which is somewhat unusual these days, just the plastic extender itself might let the signal out.
Sometimes you just have to try it and see, being aware that the metal may be an issue.