How to Install a Smart Home Light Switch | DIY Electrical

My name’s Aaron Massey
and welcome back to another episode of Home School’d. For today’s project, I’m gonna
show you how you can make your home just a little bit
smarter, by updating your switches to new smart
devices that you can control from your tablet or
smartphone from anywhere. I rate these projects by how
many f bombs you’re likely to drop while tackling the project. This one is pretty f’n easy,
but it can vary a little based on the type and age of
the wiring in your home. The good people over at
Leviton sent me some of their new smart home switches to
include in my latest remodel project, so I wanted to
show you guys how I went about doing that. But before we actually go
about replacing this switch, I just wanted to give a basic overview on how a switch works. Understanding how it works
helps you know how to fix and replace things if things go wrong. Now this is an example of
a typical basic switch. We’ve got a single light on
a circuit, with the switch installed to control the light. We’ve got three wires,
the black wire, which is the hot wire, the white wire,
which is our neutral wire, and the bare copper wire,
which is the ground. In this example, when the
switch is in the on position, current flows from the
panel to the switch, and out to the light through the hot wire. The current then passes through
the bulb, illuminating it, and then returns back to the panel through the neutral wire. If everything is going as
it should, the ground wire doesn’t do anything. When the switch is off, the
flow of current is interrupted on the hot wire, so that the
circuit can’t be completed, and the light doesn’t illuminate. So now that we’ve seen kind
of the basics of how a switch like this works, we can
replace it, and the first thing that I’m gonna do, is to
remove the cover plate and the existing switch. You wanna make sure that the
power is off at the breaker, and one way to test that is
to use a voltage tester like the one I have here. If the voltage tester beeps, that means there’s voltage present
and it’s not really safe to work on the wire. Once you verify that the
power is off, you can actually remove the switch itself. I understand that many of
you may have old wiring in your home that’s hard to identify. Much of my house is like that. Using a voltage tester can
help you figure out which wires are which, as well. With the switch out of the
way, we can look at our wiring. We have our load wire going
to the light, our hot line in from the panel, and our
neutral wire’s connected in the wire nut in the back. Our ground wires are also
connected with the wire nut with a small piece of extra
wire coming out of it, which was connected to the
ground screw on the switch. This technique is called pig
tailing, and it allows you to only use one wire on the
ground screw of the switch. A common electrical mistake
that DIY homeowners often make is connecting multiple
wires to a single terminal on a receptacle or a switch,
which is against the code and if an electrical
inspector looks at it, they’re gonna fail it. So now we’re ready for our new
switch, and as you can tell, it looks considerably
different than the previous. The new one has a lot more
terminal screws, it has a silver screw, a reddish screw,
a green ground screw, a black screw on the other side, and a screw underneath this piece of tape, which says only to
use this terminal if it’s a three way switch. So in this case, we’re not
gonna worry about that. Now the difference between this
switch and a typical switch, is that this switch actually
requires a neutral wire. Which is the silver terminal screw. It comes with an included
wiring diagram in case you get a little confused,
but first I’m gonna start by connecting our hot line
wire from the panel, to the black terminal screw on the switch. Next, I’m connecting the
hot load wire that runs to the light, to the red terminal screw. From there, I’m gonna take a
small piece of extra white wire and create a pig tail for
the neutral connection. I’ll strip off each end of
the wire just enough so that one end can be tied together
with the other neutral wires under the wire nut, and the other end can be secured to the terminal screw
on the switch itself. Lastly, I’ll reconnect the
pig tail ground wire to the ground screw terminal, and
then I like to take a piece of electrical tape and wrap it
around the switch, or the receptacle and cover the terminal heads. Because people have a tendency
to grab receptacles or switches from the sides
when they’re pulling them out of the box, which can
create a circuit, and get yourself shocked, so I
like to just eliminate that by putting some electrical tape around it. And encourage people to
when they’re pulling out the receptacle or a switch
out of a box, grab it from the top and the bottom,
rather than from the sides to eliminate the risk of shock. And then once that’s done,
I can push the switch back into the box. So that’s it as far as the
actual wiring of the switch, and it may seem a little
bit confusing, but trust me, as you do it a little bit, you’ll get more familiar with it, and as
long as you can keep track of which wires are which,
you’ll be totally fine. So now we can actually
focus on what makes these smart devices, and to get
started, we have to download the my Leviton app from the app store. Once you have the app
downloaded, just follow the set up prompts to set up an account. Find and name your device,
and once it’s done, you can control the switch from
your smartphone or tablet from anywhere in the house,
or from across the country if you want. And there are dimmer versions of these switches available as well. Another cool feature about
these devices, is they actually work with your Amazon echo,
or Google home as well. So to set that up, all you
need to do is set up your Amazon echo or Google home. – Hello, your Amazon echo
dot is ready for setup. – [Aaron] Link it to your my
Leviton app, so that they can communicate, and then you
can just ask Alexa to turn on or turn off your lights. Alexa, turn off the light. Now I understand that
replacing an electrical switch isn’t for everybody, and
maybe you’re a renter, but you still want to have a little
bit of a smarter home. Leviton also makes these
plugin versions of these smart devices, so you can plug
this in to any traditional outlet, plug in the device
that you want to control with it, maybe it’s a fan,
or a lamp, or a stereo. And then you can control
whatever device is plugged into this smart device as well. Well that’s it for this
episode of home school’d. I hope you guys enjoyed it. And I hope you learned something. Most of all, I hope it gave
you a little confidence that you can tackle some of
your own basic electrical tasks around the house,
without having to outsource it to somebody else. I wanna say a special
thank you to Leviton, for sending over these smart
devices, so that I can use them in my latest remodel,
and if you guys wanna get a hold of your own decor
or smart switch, make sure you go to the link in the
description down below. And use the promo code mrfixit at checkout for 30 percent off. And if you wanna check out
more of my videos, I’ll leave links to those right here. Or you can always visit my website at Thank you guys so much
for watching, and I’ll see you next time.

81 thoughts on “How to Install a Smart Home Light Switch | DIY Electrical

  1. I so want to jump into the smart home life but there are too many damn "standards" – Z-Wave, ZigBee, Thread, WeMo, etc…and they dont all play nice with each other. Your thoughts on this?

  2. great video and neat product.  I was on Leviton website and there are several switches to choose from.  Can you tell me which model switch you used in this video?

  3. I have over 20 light switches in this 1982 house. All of them still work perfectly after a 6 person family grew here, one owner home. The light switches do NOT have gang boxes as they grab the dry wall themselves. I have already located Gang boxes to convert these to normal types of switches, so that is out of the way. However, I do not know what Smart switches to replace them with yet. NONE of the switches have more than 3 wires, they all have one White, One Black and one bare copper as pictured below. How do I wire a smart switch to these please? I assume this is called a non-neutral wiring setup?

  4. That's a great demonstration graphic at 0:55. Maybe I missed it but it would also be good to shwo how to use a DMM to tell which conductor is the switch leg and which one is from the panel in order to install the new swtich.

  5. Mr Fix it, you sir are very knowledgeable! I think i am going to attempt this but i must say i'm nervous. I have a 3 gang box in which 1 of the switches controls the power of the ceiling fan…..i want to make that one the smart one and keep the other 2 as standard switches, i already purchased the face plate for this setup and i hope that the wires i see in the back of the box in the wire nuts are indeed neutral wires.

  6. I know how to install car audio system, but come to home electric stuff I have no idea what I am doing because I've never install one before. Now I know how to identify the lines coming out from the box that helps a lot. Thanks for the video.

  7. Ok I like the video, but my home has a red wire in addition to the two black and ground and white wires. I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong?

  8. When you gave Alexa a "turn off the light" command, mine responded with, "sorry, i didn't hear that" – chuckle….

  9. Can you look at my photos of my switch boxes? I can't tell if the White bundled cables are neutral? I think they might just be connected to 3 way switch.

  10. How do I connect a smart switch that turns a plug. The switch has only 2 wires. There is no neutral wire

  11. hello,I am from MoesHouse which produce smart product for many years.(in Amazon and AliExpress)We are interested in your video.Do you want to try our goods and make the review to us? We can send sample and pay for you.Looking forward to your early reply.

  12. I have almost the same wire setup in the wall box, but my smart switch has a red, black, white and green wire coming from it. With this video I was able to figure it out. This is the most coolest thing I've ever bought

  13. clicked into this video because the title implies just generic smart switch… most smart switches have N in, L in and, L out and then ground… in your tutorial you matched wires to colors, and you give us their names? which one is N in? is that the neutral white wire? is load in the black wire coming from the base of the wall box? is L out the load wire going "out" to the light?

  14. Hello, electricity is reaching the light when connecting the wires it gos on. but I can not control it from the switch. where would the problem?. I have bought a new switch and did the wiring still not working

  15. I dont care for i can control it by my dam phone. That nice but i want to use a existing switch to control the existing light. Then control lamps plugged into outlets in the room to turn on different lights from the smart switch that have smart outlets.

  16. My house was built in the mid 50's and I have no extra wires, like a neutral. Do you have any recommendations for a switch without a required neutral or can you tell me how to place a neutral.

  17. I have a question, how can you install a WiFi switch, when your switch only has 2 wires, two black, & that’s all. The WiFi switch requires a neutral, I do not have a neutral, what can I do?

  18. My current switch doesn’t have a neutral wire in the box in the wall but my new smart switch requires one… what do I do?

  19. In my hall way I have a 3 way I believe ..The light is controlled from two different switches ..My question is do i have to change both switches or just the one ?

  20. I looked for an hour for an answer to how to hook up to my situation. I also had the neutral wire nut (actually 4 wires nutted together). Now I know to pigtail the neutral wires. Thanks:)

  21. Why in the world would I buy a switch that I have to log into an account? Trying to be like Facebook and track when I am at home or not?

    No, keno your switch, I will keep my privacy.

  22. I only have 3 wires black white and green
    Where do I get the 4th wire from
    Black is hot white is neutral and green is ground

  23. Lots of Aussie Houses only have active wire and return on lights as Neutral and earth go directly to the light in the ceiling . Not the switch.

  24. I have an old house with the light switch located on the frame of the doors. These products have plates that are too wide to substitute the existing switches in the same location. Are there miniature smart switches that cater for smaller (door frame located) old switches?

  25. Hi Aaron, if I turned off the lights via the smart switch, would I still be able to turn the lights on via the mobile app or would it tell me the lights are "offline"?

  26. I don’t have a neutral wire. Without one, could I still use the switch with just the white, black and green?

  27. This video was extremely helpful especially for a beginner who needed to add the neutral wire, many others skipped over showing this part! Thank you!

  28. Buy Smart Home Automation Systems From GetVera(Dot)Com. Get Latest Technology Features for Your Smart Home

  29. My whole house was setup on smart WiFi. Lighting, thermostat, Alexa. I came home one night and Comcast shut down my internet for work. Even though I had power all my lights, Alexa and smart devices no longer worked. When you have power and you are sitting in the dark is a problem. All my ceiling fans were not on WiFi so they worked fine off of remotes.

  30. A quick question, can i use the switch to turn on and off a bulb without voice command and without app , like a traditional switch?

  31. this was extremely helpful!!!!

    House was built in 97' and did have 4 neutrals twisted together hiding in the back! BUT I made the mistake of yanking one out of the 4 twisted neutrals and trying to hook it up to the smart switch. It would blink on for a second and then immediately turn off!

    I re-watched and realized I had to include that "pig tail" TO ALL 4 neutrals together then BAM it worked!!

  32. omg ty for making an instructional video. serisouly so many out there spend more time explaining whats screws are used than helping understand the various ways the wiring works.

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