Older homes will not usually have neutral wiring because building codes before the mid-1980s didn’t require it. If that’s your case, you may wonder if you can use smart switches without a neutral wire in your home.
You can set your fears aside because the answer to that question is an emphatic “Yes!” There are three ways to circumvent the problem of not having a neutral wire in your home:
- Rewire your home
- Purchase smart bulbs
- Install a smart switch that doesn't require a neutral wire
Rewiring your home is the least desirable option because it’s painfully expensive and may not be physically possible without practically tearing apart the major of the wall in your hours.
Purchasing smart bulbs is far less expensive than rewiring, but when the wall switch is turned off, you lose the intelligence of the bulb because it can no longer receive commands. It’s a significant imposition for an entire family to remember to always keep the light switches in the “on” position at all times.
The most effective solution is to install no-neutral smart devices that don’t require a light switch neutral wire, and it’s the solution we recommend.
- Neutral vs. No-neutral: What’s the Difference?
- How To Identify a Neutral Wire
- The Evvr In-Wall Relay Switch
- Installing a Smart Switch Without a Neutral Wire
What is the role of the neutral wire in your home? The answer lies in how electricity flows through your wiring system. The electrical current must travel in a continuous loop to be used safely. Does that mean that it’s constantly moving? No, only a loop must be present for things to work properly. Turning off a light switch breaks the circuit, stopping electricity in its tracks.
When you turn on a light switch, power flow from its source (either a battery or transformer) to the device being powered, but then the power flows back to the source through the light switch neutral wire to complete the loop.
What is a Neutral Wire in a Light Switch? A neutral wire is crucial for most smart lighting devices because that’s how the light receives commands. Without the light switch neutral wire, your light is no better than a traditional bulb when the wall switch is in the “off” position. A smart light loses its intelligence when the wall switch is off because the circuit is broken, and there’s no wire to transmit orders to the device.
The neutral wire is always “on,” even when the light switch is “off.” That’s how you can tell the lights to turn themselves on when they’re off because the light is always “listening” for commands through the neutral wire.
Although neutral wires aren’t typically carrying a current when a device is off, they should still be handled cautiously to avoid an unpleasant shock that can potentially cause extreme pain or worse. Is The White Wire Hot Or Neutral? How To Determine Which Wire Is Hot And Neutral
There are several ways to establish if your home contains neutral wiring and can easily accommodate intelligent devices, such as:
- If your home was built after the mid-80s, you’re almost guaranteed to have neutral wiring throughout your home.
- You most likely have neutral wiring if your light switch is located near an electrical outlet.
- You probably have a neutral wire if you have multiple light switches in the same switch box.
The final and most reliable technique for determining if there’s a neutral wire in your light switch box is to remove the wall plate and look. So long as you take the appropriate precautions to ensure the power is off before removing the plate (as discussed below), it’s your best bet for an accurate assessment.
To install the Evvr In-Wall Relay Switch without using a light switch neutral wire, you need the Evvr Smart Relay and a Smart Switch Sub-Assembly. The benefits of this two-device pair are phenomenal:
- Unit Split Design for Expanded Functionality—When it’s not paired with a Smart Switch, the Smart Relay operates independently as a wireless Zigbee/Z-Wave connected device to your lights. It transforms regular light bulbs into intelligent lights that you can control in several ways.
You can also wire in the optional Smart Switch to connect the Smart Relay with your wall switches to gain expanded functionality for “always on” capability.
- No Neutral? No Problem!—The In-Wall Relay Switch is a no-neutral wire smart device, bypassing the need to have a neutral wire in your home. This advanced device makes smart technology available to millions of homeowners living in older houses without neutral wiring. Now anyone can reap the benefits of smart lighting cost-effectively by installing smart switches that don't require a neutral wire.
- Compact Design—The miniaturized product design allows up to two devices to fit into any standard electrical box, allowing you to support up to 4-gang panel switches.
- Universal Wall Switch Compatibility—The In-Wall Relay Switch is compatible with every type of wall switch, including toggle switches, momentary push buttons, and intelligent remote buttons.
- Any Bulb Can Be Smart—This switch can turn any incandescent, halogen, fluorescent, or LED bulb into a smart one without converting your entire wiring setup into an intelligent system.
- Easy-to-Use Voice Control—Control the lights in your home hands-free with simple voice commands through Apple Siri, Amazon Alexa, SmartThings, or Google Assistant.
- Hardwired 3-Way or 4-Way—There’s no need to change wiring when using the Evvr In-Wall Relay Switch. It supports hardwired 3-Way or 4-Way systems and controls the same light fixture from multiple conventional switch panels. In addition, you can control different light fixtures from a single location.
- Internal Power Failure Memory—The Evvr In-Wall Relay Switch memorizes the state of the lighting in your home and restores it to that same state after a power outage. For example, if a light was on before the power failure, it will come back on after power returns without you having to do anything.
The Evvr In-Wall Relay Switch is the ideal smart switch for your home to upgrade lighting to smart devices because it doesn’t require a neutral wire to work properly. It’s an easy-to-install, reliable device suitable for homes of any age.
Installing the Evvr In-Wall Relay Switch is quick and easy because it’s a smart switch that doesn't need a neutral wire. The only tools required are a screwdriver, wire strippers, and needle nose pliers.
Again, ensure that the power to the electrical box where you’re installing the smart switch is off before proceeding. Go to your main circuit breaker box and locate the switches where you’re working using the legend inside the box. If the legend is missing, turn off the main breaker to kill the power to your entire house.
Once the power is off, go back to your work site and try to turn on the lights. If they come on, then you’ve flipped the wrong breaker switch. If you flipped the main breaker and your lights still come on, you’ve got big problems, and you should call a professional electrician!
With the power safely off, remove the face plate for your light switch box. Next, remove the screws that attach your existing switch to the wall. Disconnect the wires to the switch. You should have three wires in your wall, a hot wire, a load wire, and the neutral wire. You won’t need the light switch neutral wire, so leave it curled up inside your wall if it’s there.
Attach the hot wire to the hot wire on the switch. Connect the load wire to the load wire on the switch, giving each a slight twist, and capping both with yellow wire caps, twisting them on securely for a tight fit.
That’s it—you’re done! You now have a smart light switch without a neutral wire.
After transforming your home lighting system into a smart lighting system with the Evvr In-Wall Relay Switch, you will love controlling your lights with your voice or remotely from anywhere in the world where you have internet access.
It doesn’t matter if you have a light switch neutral wire in your home. If you do, it’s no problem, and your Evvr In-Wall Relay Switch will work. If you don’t, that’s also no problem because the Evvr In-Wall Relay Switch will still work!
The possibilities are endless, and the added convenience and safety of upgrading your home lighting to smart lighting are immeasurable. Evvr can offer you a comprehensive smart home solution whether you are an integrator, professional installer, distributor, or DIYer. Get in touch with us and book a sample product today!