If you’re one of those tech-savvies that want to install a smart lighting system in their house, but your house is built before the 80s, in most cases, we have some bad and good news for you if you are looking for a smart switch no neutral.
The bad one is that smart lighting switches require a neutral wire to work, and most of these older houses don’t have neutral wires installed.
However, the good one is that there are some smart light switches that don’t require a neutral wire at all. Make sure to check out our best smart light switch reviews.
Read on to find out how!
What Are Neutral Wires?
A light fixture electric circuit can be completed if you connected a power source and a light switch with the light fixtures themselves through a wire.
In this previous case, you won’t need what we call a neutral wire, and this is how old houses were installed back then. In this case, the light switch completely cuts the circuit off when there’s no power running through the switch.
However, in the newly wired switch boxes, there’s an additional wire that’s connected to the power source and its power status isn’t related to the electric switch.
This means that regardless of the light switch being on or off, the electric power will be flowing through the neutral wire anyway. The additional wire in such a connection is what we call a neutral wire.
Why Do Smart Switches Require a Neutral Wire?
The problem with smart switches is that they need to stay up and running all the time, and that’s for them to be able to communicate with the hub they’re receiving the instructions from.
That’s why they need a source of electric power flowing through the smart switches continuously. But in case of older light switches, once it’s turned off, it won’t deliver electric power to the smart switch too.
That’s what makes a neutral wire an essential and integral part for the smart switches to operate. Smart switches can rely on the electric power coming from the neutral wire even if the light switch cuts the circuit off.
How to Solve This Issue If Your house Is Old?
Back in the day, the only way to fix this problem was to get yourself a professional who can reset the whole house wiring and install neutral wires.
Recently new smart switches that require no neutral wires were introduced to the market solving this problem, saving you a lot of money.
How Do Some Smart Switches Work Without a Neutral Wire?
Now that you know why a smart light switch requires to stay up all the time, the missing piece in the puzzle here is to maintain an electric current all the time.
Some new switches have a dimmer feature in them. This feature is essential for the smart switch to work without a neutral wire.
The trick here is that by dimming the smart switch, the flow of power can go low enough to for the light bulb to be switched off, but stays sufficient for the smart switch to communicate with the hub. This makes the dimmers act as a neutral wire.
If you only have LED, halogen, or CFL light bulbs in your house then Lutron Caseta is your only choice, but if your light bulbs are incandescent,then you can choose anyone according to your preferences.