What do I do with existing switches?

I am converting a few rooms to smart bulbs and am wondering what I should do with existing dumb switches.

Is the best practice to wire bulbs to always have power and put a zwave switch (not connected to any lights) in the old box? Any other ideas on what to do with old dumb switch boxes?

Yes you could do that. There are also battery powered switches that install over the dumb light switch and can be set to control your smart bulbs; the osram lightify switch is one of those. It kinda depends what you prefer, I don’t think one is clearly better than the other for all people.

Is there a particular reason you decided to go with smart bulbs instead of smart switches (connected to the load wires, I mean)?

I would not wire fixtures housing smart bulbs to always have power. If your network connnection goes down, how do you turn your lights on/off?

I would also check your local codes before doing that, if you were to go through with it.

Yeah, the reason is that I’m wiring our dining/living room with RGBW lights, so I don’t think a smart switch would work in this case.

The lights should still turn on/off without network connection, no? The zigbee mesh is still in place even without Internet.

Osram Lightify switch is (IMO) extremely ugly which is why I’m not a fan, do you know of any other options?

I wired my under cabinet lights with RGBWW but still used a smart switch to turn them on/off. Luckily, my LED Controller, remembers it’s last state before loosing power. Works great! When I want to change the color, I use the app even though I recently saw someone made a DTH and a bridge of sorts to work with ST.

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There are several different options. :sunglasses: They’re covered in the following FAQ:

At our house we put a childproof lock on the existing switches to remind people not to use them but so they are still available in an emergency. In some places we add a battery powered switch. We also use echo for voice control, which everybody likes, and has become our primary method of controlling the lights.

only if the devices are locally executable (check here: https://graph.api.smartthings.com/localDevice/list) and you are using smart lighting to control them as it is the only locally executable smartapp.

From my standpoint, I installed Zwave switches in combination with the Philips Hue lights.
Not perfect but I handle it with scenes and it does the job well. I created some virtual buttons that are associated with Hue Scenes and use the Smart Lighting app to ensure switches are kept on most of the time (to try and preserve the life of the hue lights).

For the few places I have that use smart bulbs/fixtures, I leave the old switch in place but install one of these over it to remind myself and guests that this switch isn’t intended to be used: https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B000NCV1SK/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o06_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Like many electronic devices, some smart bulbs occasionally stop working and need to be turned off and on again to reboot. It’s nice to have an easy way to do that. This also means that if for some reason you change out the smart bulbs (e.g. when you move) it’s easy.


Hi @Cheburashka,

I don’t know if you explored this option. I use it in conjunction with Cree bulbs so I don’t have to replace my 3-way switch setup. Take a look.


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Yeah, this is what I use in my house for dumb switches that don’t need to be used. Though, you can buy them at Home Depot or Lowes for about half of the Amazon price.

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I just put simple covers over the switches. You can get several types on Amazon,I use the ones that cover the switch but are open on the side so you can flip the switch if you need.


The GoControl switches can easely pop off and you get access to the dumb switch under it. I don’t even screw it on. And just use these:

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I have considered, and still m considering, a cheap android tablet in every room that has a smart bulb. Cheap tablets and phones can be had for $25. Use Velcro or something to have it cover a flat rocker switch. It controls the lights at all times unless the network is down while AC power is up (rare in my area unless you have solar power) - at which point you’d take the tablet off the wall, uncovering the hardwired rocker switch.

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Another way to make your dumb switch smart.

Ecolink Z-Wave Plus Automated Light Switch Plug-In Lighting Module, White (TLS-ZWAVE5) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0716YVRCV/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_YFn-zb2EANP7K

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That particular model is good for people who don’t want to do wiring, but is not good for people who have smart bulbs on the Circuit controlled by the switch, because it’s a mechanical actuator that just turns off the existing switch. This then exposes the radio in the smart bulb to inrush current whenever the switch is turned on again. So it’s the exact same problem as having just a dumb switch there.:disappointed_relieved:

It’s a good choice if you want to use dumb bulbs and need a no wiring solution, though. :sunglasses::bulb:

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