Outdoor switch


I need to seek your guidance and advice on a solution for my application; I am installing about 8 Post lights in my back yard and I am trying to have these lights as part of my Z-Wave network. As far as I can see, no one makes an outdoor rated switch or dimmer which I can install outdoors. These outdoor post lights are hard wired so they don’t use a plug; this means that I can’t use an outdoor plug module. These post lights are fed using an outdoor electrical panel so I will not be able to place the switches inside the house.

The only solution I can think of so far is to use the ACT ZRF113 relay module and place that in a weather proof box outdoors but the downside with this solution is that I won’t be able to easily switch the lights from a location close to these outdoor post lights. I will have a relay module for each pair of lights.

Any suggestions or ideas?



Good question Sam. I don’t believe an outdoor rated Z-wave switch device exists on the market today. I think your only other option will be to combine an outdoor box with a regular z-wave switch and an outdoor hinged switch/outlet cover.

It obviously isn’t ideal, it likely isn’t up to code, and it could be potentially unsafe… but it’d work. Resident electricians, can you slap an indoor rated switch in an outdoor housing w/ cover and call it good? Is this the worst idea ever?

This might seem a little overboard but can’t you just put an outlet in the junction box where it’s hardwired and put a plug on the end of the wire that was hooked up then put this http://www.amazon.com/45604-Technology-Outdoor-Lighting-Control/dp/B0013V8K3O in between them. I’ve done a bit of wiring and have experience doing it though so it might not be an easy solution for you.

P.S. Don’t buy it from Amazon though. There are cheaper places to get it. I just needed a picture to put on here

I used to do exactly that for my Low-Voltage garden lights (there was a Plug on the end for the transformer)

I just removed that solution (the Appliance Module), and hard-wired an external socket to an separate internal [Leviton] switch. Not sure if that’s “code-worthy” when you have separate indoor and outdoor circuits involved (I don’t, but Sam does)

In my case, as the Outdoor/App module wasn’t scene aware, Vera was controlling the co-ordination of an internal Leviton switch (for one light) and the outdoor module to control the garden lights.

Over time, this would degrade, with slower and slower delays until it stopped working. It would only recover when you did a “Configure right Now” on the Leviton…

Thank you very much for your feedback and input.

I have about 8 of these outdoor plug modules which I am currently using to control low voltage transformers, an outdoor fountain and simply use as range extenders for the z-wave network but I was hoping that I don’t have to use these outdoor modules since I will now have to add GFI outlets close to where the post lights are and they wouldn’t look as good with an exposed tail cable.

I wish that I can route all the wiring to a location inside the house so I can install the switches indoors but I can’t.

Will I experience significant corrosion issues if I use a Leviton indoor rated switch/dimmer and I install that in an outdoor rated switch box? Will the outdoor switch box impact the ability of the switch to receive the wireless z-wave signal and impact the communications with the rest of the network?



I would get any standard z-wave switch (leviton, cooper, intermatic, etc) and put it under a bubble (in-use) cover. They usually come with a variety of plate types (switch, recep, decora, etc.), and are now required by code for any outdoor device, where exposed to water. You can use an fs box… also sold at any hardware store… to install the switch. I’d pipe over to the box in pvc from the panel.

bubble cover:

fs box:

Couldn’t you use something like this:
with an Intermatic HA20C toggle switch underneath it?

Standard Switches and Outlets aren’t rated for outdoor use anyway, as long as you use weather-proof boxes and covers (in-use style or otherwise) you’ll be fine with safety and code compliance.

In my days as a sparky this was standard practice. The code is written about the box and cover.

There may be some concerns with radio signal in some of the cast-metal boxes, so you might want to use PVC.

Corrosion shouldn’t be a concern unless you live close to the ocean and if so it is difficult to stop corrosion in any case. You could use outdoor wire nuts that contain a corrosion inhibitor for the connections and make sure you use a clear silicon on any gaps between the cover and box, and even on the threads of the knock-out plugs of the box. Just seal it up and you’ll be as good as it gets. The cover ideas that have been suggested are good, just use common sense and choose the best for your conditions to keep direct water spray from rain or sprinklers out.

Fantastic. I appreciate all of your feedback and help. I will use a bubble box with standard Leviton z-wave switches for this application.