help with buying wall switches

I’m new to home automation. I got my vera and a few modules setup but now i’d like to buy wall switches that control most of my lights. I’ve read info about different kinds but i’m confused on what exactly i need. I’m looking for only on/off type switches. Most of the switches are just a single switch to control the light in a room. However in my basement i have a switch at the top and bottom of the stairs that control the same light. Near my stairs i have a panel that has 3 switches that control 3 different lights. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks

Walk around your house and take off the wall plates. Take note of all the switch boxes that don’t have a neutral wire in them (Minimum 3 wires: 2 blacks,1 white). Also note what type of bulb is in the fixture, incandescent or CFL? Also take note of the wattage of the bulbs your controlling. Once you have everything noted, think about how you want to control the lights. Imagine your habits during the course of a day.

Search through the forums and shoot some emails off to the engineers at Leviton and Cooper Lighting if you have any technical questions you can’t find by searching in the forums.
Good Luck :slight_smile:

Please note that if your wall switch does not have a neutral wire in it, you cannot control the Light if it is a CFL bulb.

If your using incandescent lights you need a regular 2-way Zwave switch such as a an ACT ZDW120($43.00) For your 3-way and 4-way circuits you need an ACT ZDW103($58.00) and a couple companion switches ACT AS101($13.00). The guys Mark-HC mentioned provide a great quality product just a lot more expensive than ACT.

For CFL’s you will need a relay switch such as a ZRW113 from ACT.

I was taking a look at some of the switches and i noticed they have one or two black wires coming out of them, along with a copper wire that screwed to it. I assume that is the neutral. I noticed on the sides of the switches are screws and some of them have a black wire attached to them. I’m currently switching out most of my lights with CFL ones. When your talking about 2-way, 3-way, etc… what does that mean exactly?

Some info about different kinds of switches: 8 Types of Electrical Wall Switches and How to Choose

You may want to spend a little time at a bookstore or home store to read a little about electrical work before you begin. Also, make sure you turn your circuits off when working on the switches. I would advise that you invest in something that can test for current to be on the safe side. I recently worked on a pair of side-by-side switches that were on separate circuits, which I did not expect at all.


If it is a bare copper wire your looking at or has a green covering, that is not the neutral. Do not connect that up as the neutral. You’ll be sorry…

You really need to carefull !
Those seprerate circuits Dr spoke of could be 240volts when put together. The’ll make quite a spark and even melt wires if you have older breakers.

Three way switching can be a big problem also. There are many ways to make it work and some are not code complient.

Never put white or Nuetral wire attched to a gound or bare wire. This is a big no no. Can cause real problems down the line.

Thanks for the info. I’ll do some more reading for now.