Wiring a GE Zwave light switch

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  #1  
Old 12-07-17, 07:01 AM
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Wiring a GE Zwave light switch

Hi - I have installed 2 new Smart dimmers in my home, and I want to make sure I did a safe job (in general, but also in particular as these are in my childrens' rooms). I am a novice with zero background in electrical, but I've done a decent amount of internet research and youtubing

4 questions..

1) My home was built in 2013 in the Chicago suburbs. I'm assuming light switches use 14 gauge wires as a standard?

2) I used the existing wire twist nut in the electrical box to add the necessary neutral wire to the bunch and connect it to my new switch (my old switch did not need a neutral). There were 4 neutral wires in it already, and this additional (I believe it's called pigtailing) made 5. It is an Ideal Tan twister wire nut, which is apparently rated for a max of three 10 gauge wires. Would five 14 gauge wires be ok in there (assuming I was correct to think I have 14 gauge wires)? Or do I need to step up to the Red twister wire nut? Note that the light appears to be working just fine, but I'm asking to prevent any potential for electrical danger in the future. Wire nut in my box: https://www.homedepot.com/p/Ideal-Tw...FUp9AQodVS8Dow

3) The switch is working fine, and I used my Yellow wire as the Load and Black as the Line. The instructions on the light switch say both Load and Line are Black. I'm fairly certain I have it correct since it's working, BUT in case it would work even if those are switched incorrectly, I'm curious if it sounds like I did it correctly. I do not have a voltage tester to confirm, but based on wire color guides I found online, the Load can be a few different colors, but Line is typically black. Does that sound right?

4) I was told my house has a mechanical ground, and none of my switches have the Ground connected, and I also have metal electrical boxes and metal conduit coming out of the main panel. Also like I mentioned my switch is now working... is it ok that I did not connect the ground on this new switch?

Thanks so much - apologies in advance if these are simplistic questions... just trying to be safe for my family while also not spending a ton of money bringing someone to do what seems relatively straightforward.
 
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Old 12-07-17, 08:40 AM
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Can't assume anything.

Usually #14 wiring is used for lighting. Check the circuit breaker that controls that circuit. If it's a 15A breaker the wiring is #14.

That beige twister is equivalent to a red wire nut and is fine for 5) #14 wires.

You said yellow and black.... that tells us that you have EMT (conduit) in the house. Usually the black is the hot and the color is the switched load. If you had the switch connected backwards.... it wouldn't work.

Since you have a metallic conduit.... that is your ground. Your device is grounded to the box thru the mounting screws.

Depending on what type of electrical box was used.... some have a threaded hole in the back for a ground screw and ground wire.
 
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Old 12-07-17, 09:27 AM
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Originally Posted by PJmax View Post
Can't assume anything.

Usually #14 wiring is used for lighting. Check the circuit breaker that controls that circuit. If it's a 15A breaker the wiring is #14.

That beige twister is equivalent to a red wire nut and is fine for 5) #14 wires.

You said yellow and black.... that tells us that you have EMT (conduit) in the house. Usually the black is the hot and the color is the switched load. If you had the switch connected backwards.... it wouldn't work.

Since you have a metallic conduit.... that is your ground. Your device is grounded to the box thru the mounting screws.

Depending on what type of electrical box was used.... some have a threaded hole in the back for a ground screw and ground wire.
Thank you for the fast reply! So I should be ok with 5 #14... For my own education - the (Ideal) beige twister is equivalent to a red nut.. but a red twister would be bigger? I'm just paranoid, just want to make sure I'm understanding you correctly. I had looked at this image, which shows the tan twister with a max of three #10 as opposed to the red wing-nut with a max of four #10. https://goo.gl/images/umYEEg

15A is correct - so this appears to be 14 gauge wire.

Again, thank you so much for your help! Seems small but I'm paranoid by nature so I'm trying to ensure I didn't inadvertently cause any unsafe conditions!
 
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Old 12-07-17, 09:48 AM
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There are two things that dictate how many wires will fit in a wire nut. The metal insert inside and the size of the plastic protector. It can be hard to tell the size of some of those beige type wire nuts.

I only use ones that adhere to the well known color standard. I find the 3M series of wire nuts to be good performers and their combination pieces offer extra wire protection with a longer insulator.

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Old 12-14-17, 06:53 AM
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Thanks PJ! I was finally able to find the right documentation about the wire nut... looks like five 14 gauge wires in a tan ideal twister is the max so I'm ok there. http://idealind.com/content/pdfs/ref...mbinations.pdf bottom of page 5, under 341 shows 1 to 5 #14 wires.

My final question - and this is mainly because I'd rather not go back into the tight space now that it's all nice and secure... am I ok to have reused the same wire nut? I've read some people say you should replace them with a new one, but it's working just fine and my house is only 4 years old so presumably the original electrician used a new one then.

I know there's no right answer, but curious what you'd recommend.

Thanks again!
 
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Old 12-14-17, 11:00 AM
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I find that some of the old wire nuts I come across are of the style I don't like or look corroded. Those get tossed. Sometimes the insulator comes off and the spiral is left behind.

As long as the wirenut doesn't show corrosion... it should be fine.
A 4 year old wire nut is like brand new.
 
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Old 12-14-17, 11:09 AM
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Thank you so much! Peace of mind
 
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Old 12-26-17, 03:07 PM
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Another question on this thread - first off thanks for your input! It's been super helpful and all seems to be working correctly, mostly.

The scenario is below:
- kitchen lights are on a dimmer - original dimmer from builder four years ago (presumably a cheaper, toggle one). These lights were originally incandescent. I've changed out the 5 flood (BR30) bulbs to LED recently. This is on a separate switch in my main power panel from my childrens' rooms where I installed the GE smart dimmer switch I've been referring to in this thread

- I notice that when I turn on my kids' room lights, the kitchen lights flicker momentarily, almost like when the A/C goes on.

Questions:
- Could this mean I wired the switches wrong? Ie, switched load and line? Or would they not even work had I done that?
- Could this be totally benign and just a byproduct of the fact that the original dimmer for the kitchen was meant for incandescents and there isn't as much power running through to power the new LED floods in the kitchen, so the flicker is occurring?

Again, thanks so much for your input and help!
 
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Old 12-26-17, 03:12 PM
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Many LED's don't like running on dimmers. If those are on an incandescent dimmer then I would expect slight blinks. It doesn't sound like a wiring problem.
 
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