Some z wave switches require a neutral to be present in the box, some don’t. On every house circuit breaker panel I have seen, neutral and ground wires go to the same bus bar. So if that’s the case, and the only thing in the wall box are switched wires (hot, load) and of course ground, can I just steal a ground in the box to power the z wave switch since thats all the neutral would do in THIS case?
I am sure its a code violation, but is it safe? In my twisted view of things, they terminate back at the panel in the same place, so whats the problem?
Electricians… feel free to jump in with both feet if this is a very bad thing to do. Thats why I am asking up front.
It is a code violation and it is unsafe.
Yes your switch would work and yes a neutral and ground are basically the same thing at the panel but thats where the similararites end and therefore they are different conductors.
The purpose of the neutral is to maintain the voltage potential balance. There is always an eb and flow of electrons on the neutral wire and it is possible to get shocked between neutral and ground.
When you intentionally introduce voltage onto the ground wire you change the voltage potential on all ground wires in the house. The ground wire could then become part of the current carrying circuit creating all sorts of nasty possible scenarios.
Thanks for the reality check… I thought it was too easy.
The problem is that by connecting your switch to a ground you end up coupling your common and ground at another point besides the main panel, which introduces a ground loop: [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ground_loop_%28electricity%29]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ground_loop_(electricity)[/url]
Not to mention if you are installing in a scenario where there’s a sub panel (detached garage for instance) the ground and neutral are isolated from each other by code.