Wired switches, cold climates, and unheated sheds -- need suggestions


(Brian Warner) #1

I’m looking for suggestions for a wired switch that could survive a typical northeastern Ohio winter in an unheated enclosed shed. I know that very few (if any?) are rated below 32 F, but at the same time it should generate some minor amount of heat, and it will not be exposed to the elements. The outside temperature goes to -10F at times, though normally it’s between 0F and 20F.

Has anybody had any luck with wired switches that are rated for cold weather, or that have survived temperatures colder than their rating?

(Paul) #2

I have an aeon microswitch in my unheated garage in Chicago. Has survived 2 winters. Working great.

(Brian Warner) #3

That’s what I like to hear! Is the garage attached or detached? In other words, does it pick up heat from the house, or is it left out in the figurative and literal cold?


Micro switches go inside the wall, so they get additional environmental protection that way.

There are a number of switches rated for outdoor use, as for me I’d go with one of those. They are more expensive, but you’re protecting your investment in the switch. Unheated garages also tend to get huge swings in humidity, which is another factor which can reduce the life of the switch. Again, in the wall devices will be protected from this much more then on the wall switches. Devices rated for outdoor use generally don’t have a problem with humidity.

There are both plug-ins like the GE, and some designed for managing pool or HVAC equipment.

And this one is a dual relay, Using zigbee, so though it’s expensive you can control two separate devices.


The in wall micros are going to be much less expensive, so if you’re willing to risk losing one, most people would probably prefer those. I’d rather spend the extra money and get something that’s actually spec’d to the job, but that’s just me. :sunglasses:

(Brian Warner) #5

Thanks @JDRoberts. I plan to add a new work 2 gang box right on the studs. This wall is currently uninsulated, though I suppose I could tuck a few pieces around the box. Good call.

I’m running a new branch for a bunch of landscape lights, and probably will draw no more than an amp or so on each circuit (though I’d leave plenty of overhead in case I want to add a bug zapper or something). In this particular case, I think hardwired makes the most sense, since they’ll all be on their own branch circuit.

Thanks for posting the links, they came through as I was writing this. I think the 40 amp may be a little more than what I need… Have you encountered (or have experience with) any other hardwired switches that are rated a bit less?

Thanks again!

(Brian Warner) #6

You’re like some sort of post-editing ninja!

I’m looking to control multiple loads (two separate runs of lights, so this looks like a solid choice to me. I had considered the micros (since I could get about 4 for the same price) but also prefer to do things right. Nice find!


Yeah, sorry. Since I use voice recognition technology I frequently need to edit a post three or four times before I’m done with it. :roll_eyes:

Pretty much everything that’s rated for outdoors except that the GE plug-in pocket socket Is rated for at least 30 Amps people want them for outdoor equipment.

You should be able to find a good zwave micro for under $50. If you’re going that route, go ahead and get a zwave plus version as they have much better range then the older Z wave. The Aeotec are popular, work well, and on the official “works with SmartThings” list, so I’d definitely look at those. There are several different models depending on whether you want dimming, energy monitoring, etc.

The evolve LFM 20 is also popular.

Monoprice relays are probably the least expensive, but there’s a reason for that, and i’m not sure they’d hold up as well.


The smartenIT relays are on the official “works with SmartThings” list, which is always nice.

Just remember those are zigbee, so you also need to think about how your network is laid out to make sure you can get signal out to it. Zigbee does have a shorter range per hop then Z wave, but allows for more hops per message and transmits better through rain.

(Brian Warner) #9

The ninja work is all the more impressive. Much appreciated!

My house is long and narrow with a good mix of both types of wired devices, so I’m pretty flexible about the radio. I will definitely look into that SmartenIT. Thanks again!

(Paul Haskins) #10

I have a “regular” GE - Zwave from Lowe’s in the garage - lowest I saw last year was maybe 10 above. Worked 100%. Semi detached - but not heated (only about 6 foot of one wall are attached)

FWIW - also have a GE receptacle on a unheated shed - whatever the low was - it was there - maybe zero. Ohio was mild last year. It runs a heated dog bowl used as a bird bath. Never failed either.

Have one of the above mentioned outdoor ones with the pigtail for landscape lights also.