GE Inwall Paddle switch in outdoor junction box

(Vincent Intenzo) #1

I have a question that may seem silly. I have an outdoor outlet wired with a photo electric switch so when it gets dark out my flower bed lights come on. I want to replace the photo electric switch with a GE in wall switch. Will that be a problem beings its outside?? The box is a weather tight and right next too my house my concern is not so much range but with whether or not it can take the elements. I live in FL so as you can image it can get a little steamy. I know I can but an outdoor switch but my current set up feeds two outlets one next to the photo electric switch the other on the other side of the house. with that set up it would require 2 switches to run the lights I have. Any input would be appreciated.


It may not be to code, that’s usually a local township issue on whether they require outdoor electrical switches to be rated for outdoor use. So that’s just something you have to check with your local jurisdiction.

Next question is what is the junction box made of? I’m assuming you’re talking about a smart switch, either Zigbee or Z wave. These are radio transmitters. The signal has to be able to get through the box. So if the box is plastic, it may work fine. If the box is wood, you’ll get some signal drop off. If the box is metal, the signal may not be able to get through.

Third question is how far is the box from the next device that transmits the same protocol. You probably need a repeater about every 50 feet indoors, and about every hundred feet through clear air. So where’s the next device on your network that it will talk to? I know you said it’s right next to your house, but it could still be more than 50 feet from the next device.

(Vincent Intenzo) #3

The junction box is plastic the next closest device is 20-30 ft away but inside the house. I will check with a licensed electrician to see if it is up to code. If it is not do you know if there is a compatible Z-Wave switch besides the “GE Outdoor Light Plug-and-Control Power Outlet”???


Is there a reason you don’t want to use the GE outdoor one?

Anyway, in most places, but not all, once you put the switch inside an enclosure, it’s the enclosure that has to be weatherproofed to meet code. A local electrician will know what you can put outside.

And again, once it’s inside an enclosure, then the manufacturer specs for the switch that you have to look at are for temperature extremes. If the box meets code requirements for waterproofing, you don’t usually have humidity problems inside the box.

I don’t know about the GE switch, a lot of equipment is not rated for use below freezing.

(Vincent Intenzo) #5

The reason I did not want to use the GE outdoor one was strictly savings and convenience. Like I mentioned earlier the photo electric switch basically turns on two outdoor outlets that run the landscape lights so I was trying to do something similar with the switch. If I used the GE outdoor outlets I would have to buy two and remove the photo electric switch and just make the two outlets hot all the time. Just seemed easier to replace one photo electric switch with a Z-wave and be done with it. As for the enclosure it is weatherproof from rain but certainly not from humidity given it just has a clear flap/door on the front and since I live in south FL I don’t have to worry about freezing. So is the GE Outdoor the only one you know of that is rated for “outdoor” use?


As far as I know, yes. There’s not that much call for them.

Do you want something you turn on from indoors or from the switch itself in its outdoor location?

I’m thinking of two possibilities that would meet different use cases.

If you want to be able to flip the switch from the outdoor location, you could substitute an outdoor rated motion sensor and use it as a touchless switch. If you put it inside the box, you could probably set it up so that it basically triggered when you open the box.

The second possibility is if you want to be able to control it, but not just from the outdoor position, you might be able to use the Aeotech micro relay, which fits inside the switchbox. The advantage of this is that if there’s too much humidity outdoors, you might be able to find a junction box or even the circuit box itself where you could put the relay. It would control everything that’s on that circuit, so it might not fit your exact situation. But it’s pretty common for outdoor wiring to have been added later and be on its own circuit breaker. The only problem with this approach, is that there’s no outdoor switch anymore. It’s always turned on and off from the app. Or you to have to add an additional indoor switch that was on that same circuit, and that would probably add a lot of money.

So anyway those are two possibilities that might let you add networking with only one device.

(Vincent Intenzo) #7

thanks for you suggestions what I’m looking for falls more in line with your second suggestion bad news is this is not on its own circuit. thanks again