How do I go about replacing old double/triple switches with new z-waves?


(Kyle Hayes) #1

I’ve got quite a few double and triple switches (separate veritcal switches like so: http://images.switchhits.com/polished-nickel-3-decora-rocker-cover-plates-b.jpg) in my house that I would like to switch out with z-wave alternatives (GE or otherwise). Are they sold as double or triples or do I have to place single switches into the existing housing?

Now that I think about, I suppose the housing could be filled in/drywalled and just put a smaller multi button panel in (http://www.amazon.com/GE-45631-Z-Wave-Wireless-Controller/dp/B003OUWABU/)


(Nicholas Wilde) #2

Regarding the GE 45631, see this post:

As far as having multiple switches next to each other, I haven’t tried it yet. They can be pretty bulky and a tight fit in the junction boxes. Just be sure you have a neutral (usually white) wire before ordering the GE switches.


(Michael) #3

I recently replaced 2 switches in the same box with GE zwave switches. While tight they fit fine beside each other. Just make sure you break off the tabs on both sides of the switch.


(tduffy) #4

Yep, I have several two- and three-gang boxes where I have replaced the switches with z-wave versions. It is a VERY tight fit, but they do fit.


(Chrisb) #5

It’s a tight fit, especially if you have an older home, but it’s doable.

I’ve got three spots with two switches, one spot with three, and even one spot with 4!

A couple of tips:

1.) If you have plastered walls, make sure you look for any extra plaster that may have been pushed into the box. Chip that out with a screwdriver and a hammer (while the breaker is turned off!!) to make sure there’s room for the larger z-wave swtich.

2.) Daisy chain! Most z-wave switches have two holes for each post. You can daisy chain the hot line coming from the breaker from each switch to the next. Ditto with the neutral. This means shorter wires and this can save some space.

3.) After wiring up your switches, test 'em before pushing them into the box. Verify that everything works, then turn off the breaker and get to work jamming them in place. By testing first you KNOW that you did the wiring right and if it doesn’t work after jamming them into the wall then you KNOW that something must have ‘broken’ loose in the install process.


(Beckwith) #6

My wife says it looks like a spaceship.


(Chrisb) #7


(Kyle Hayes) #8

Very helpful! Thank you. I’m going to be installing a couple of single switches this weekend. After, I’ll tackle the larger boxes.


(Brian Smith) #9

One thing to be careful about is load. If these are load bearing switches, the recommended amount of load each switch can handle goes down the more you put beside one another. Some switches note this on the tabs that have to be broken off or in the instructions with it. Also of note, I have never been able to “break” off the tabs. I have had to use metal snips to cut them off.

There is also the fun part when you have three and four way switch wiring! You’ll quickly get your lesson in electrical diagramming. Have a current tester handy (one of those wands that glow scream when they are near a live current) so you can determine which line is coming from the box.


(tduffy) #10

Oh yes, those tabs are annoying. I ended up having to take a pair of needle nose pliers to them and roll them up to get them off.


(Danny Jones) #11

Hi Beckwith, what kind of wall plate is this? Where did you purchase it?


#12

Looks like a Leviton five gang screwless faceplate, but there are several brands that make something similar. :sunglasses:


(Beckwith) #13

They were originally made by Cooper but Eaton bought them out. I haven’t checked lately, but when I bought them in 2014 they were by far the best screwless plates on the market. I tried all the others.