Switch to control Outlet

(Bradley) #1

Hey guys!

I need some help with wiring and selection of a switch.

I have an outlet where the top plug is always hot, and the bottom is controlled by a wall switch below it (vaulted ceilings).

Do I need a regular on/off, or a 3-way switch with a traveler?

(Chrisb) #2

A regular on/off will do it.

Just as an FYI, many z-wave switches (both on/off and dimmer) can operate as normal switches as well as three-way when an AUX switch is added.

(Nicholas Wilde) #3

Be sure you have a neutral wire (usually white) before buying the switch.

(Chrisb) #4

Yes! Very good point. The majority of Z-wave switches require a neutral line. For those of us with older homes this can be a challenge at times.

(Viren Patel) #5

Below is a link to a NO NEUTRAL requiring z-wave switch for those with older homes.

(Chrisb) #6

Important to note, though, that in the OP intended usage, s/he should NOT use a dimmer. You don’t want a dimmer controlling an outlet. While it would probably be okay if it was a standard table lamp plugged in to the outlet, anythings else like a radio or laptop or other small appliance could be VERY adversely effected by variable current levels caused by a dimmer switch.

(Matt) #7

@patelvtp Can I use this switch to just control on/off of the load? I do not want them to be dimmable, in fact they are CFL so it wouldn’t work right anyway. I have two switches so far with no neutral and no easy way to get one. I was thinking of using micro switches at the lights they control but I would rather a real on/off switch, that is controllable from the switch and phone my phone.

(Chrisb) #8

There is no way to make that switch JUST do on and off. Even if you never attempt to dim it, it still ramps up/down when turned on or off. When you tap it on, it “scrolls” from 0% to 99% over about 1 to 1.5 seconds. Likewise when tapping off it does the reverse… from 99% to 0% over a second or so.

Software wise there are some ways to force 0->99% (near) instantly, but this will only work inside an app, not when physically pressing the button.

(Viren Patel) #9

here is a link I think you might find useful. It contains a comparison chart of all the on/off switches and also list some options for no neutral line homes. hope it helps.


(Bradley) #10

Thanks for all the help guys!

I’ve got the neutral-less dimmers in a few of my switches for lights around the house and love them. (But I’d be very hesitant to use them for an outlet.)

I’ve got an electrician coming to fix a few other things in this house this weekend, I’ll ask and find out his thoughts.

Thanks for all the help again, this really is a great community!



(Matt) #11

I bought one of these from Lowes today to do some testing. It works great on an outside light, I just swapped out one of the CFL flood light bulbs to an incandescent. The ramp up and down is fine.

I tried it in another location that has 3 CFL’s it wasn’t so great there. I may do some research on LED’s that are dimmable and may work w/out a neutral on the dimmer for that location.

I don’t know why I never thought of this before, but am so glad I read this thread!

I’ll never use the dimming feature but at least I was able to easily add a smart switch where I wasn’t able to before.