GE Smart Switch install


Any assistance would be greatly appreciated. Just bought the GE Smart switch however the location where I want to install is not a typical switch wiring. I have a single pole switch that controls and outlet and a ceiling fan. I have install the GE smart switch. I have a white wire, black wire and a green ground wire. I am missing the line wire I believe. Does anyone know if the switch can work on this electrical wiring setup? I am able to use the Smart Things app to turn the switch on/off, however, it doesn’t send power to anything.


“I have these wires” isn’t really enough of a description. So, we need more info or a picture. Plus, the switch controls an outlet and a ceiling fan? I don’t understand that at all. Or is the fan plugged into the outlet that you’re talking about instead of being hard wired into the house?

If you have 2 wires connected to the switch, (plus the ground, which we won’t count) then your switch is likely to be wired like this:

And in this case, your smart switch will not work. You have to have a neutral run to the switch. The switch needs a neutral, line and load at the switch, otherwise, it won’t work.

Also, you don’t state whether you have the smart fan controller or the smart switch or the smart dimmer switch. If you are going to use on a fan, you have to use the fan control. Can’t use anything else.

(Bryan) #3

It sounds to me like your original switch was wired as an “end of the line” switch, based on your statement that you only have one black, one white and one ground wire.

Basically this means that the power to the fan comes from the other side of the circuit. So a hot and a neutral are present at the fan. To switch the fan a romex cable was wired from the fan to the switch to switch the hot. This means that the hot arrives at the switch on the black wire and then when the switch is thrown, the hot travels back to the fan on the white wire. You may see, although I don’t think it’s required, a piece of black electrical tape wrapped around the white wire indicating it is really used to conduct the hot, not the neutral.

Your problem, If I’m correct in your configuration, is that you don’t have a neutral in your switch box. The white wire isn’t a neutral, it’s really a hot. Most smart switches require a neutral at the box to work correctly. The may be some smart switches that don’t require a neutral but I’m not familiar with those. Others may know better.

So imo, you don’t have sufficient wiring in your switch box to support a smart switch.

EDIT: Look at Ryan’s pic, above.


Bryan, You are correct the white wire is coming in as the HOT wire. So basically there’s no way to use this switch in this type of wiring setup. Thank you Sir!


Do you have the option of running a Romex from the fixture to the switch box? In one of the switches I had, I lucked out that there was a switch box on the other side of the wall on the same circuit that had a neutral I could tap into. Otherwise, you might have to use the Lutron Caseta switch which can work in this scenario.

(Edward Niedziejko) #6

The Lutron Caseta switch requires the neutral for motor loads though. Neutral connection required from

The short answer is no. You will need to rewire in order to make this work. Either you’ll need to bring a new wire to the switch box from another source, and use the existing line to the ceiling box as your switched wire, or you’ll need to replace the wire from the ceiling box to the switch with a 3 wire romex (red/black/white + bare ground)


Right. It was unclear that smart switching the fan was part of the objective. My assumption was that the fan was switched with a pull chain. If the fan and light load are both switched through the existing single switch, what I’d do is move the fan load to line in the fixture, and use a Caseta switch to smart switch the light.

(DawgOnKing) #8

Sooo, @scubajoey - how much you want for that switch?:slightly_smiling_face:


I just reread the entire thread and found that I was assuming too much. I didn’t catch the “outlet” and fan part, so I was thinking there was a fan with a light on it. So there’s even more reasons why you can’t use the smart switch, and I would say it would be ill-advised to smart-switch any outlet. Better to put the smarts closer to and specific to the load you intend to control.