Install & Configuration of GE In-Wall Smart Switches
Before you go out and purchase a bunch of In-Wall smart switches it’s a good idea to go around your house and perform a checklist of areas in your home you would like to make smart and automate. It’s also a good idea to jot down if a switch is 3-way or not (lights that can be controlled by more than one switch). One area that I wanted to make smart was my kitchen pantry. Why? Well my kids and yes, including me – always leave this light on. The switch is inside the door of the pantry and can’t be seen unless you walk in and we routinely shut the pantry door, leaving the light on but also wasting tons of electricity at the same time. Luckily, it’s already a long florescent bulb, so we are saving a bit of money by having that but it’s still annoying and we’re going to fix this problem today!
Here’s the original switch installed, just your normal wall switch that controls a single florescent light. Obviously, you need to ensure the breaker is off for the electrical that you will be working with. I shut the breaker off and then attempted to turn the light on to ensure it would not come on and this was enough for me to know its safe to open the switch now.
I pulled the wall switch out, which gave me two wires to work with but I needed more. The way someone wires a home will vary slightly from home to home and even from switch to switch or outlet to outlet. This one actually had wiring in it that went to an outlet on the other side of the wall as well.
The instructions included were good, but it still took a bit of trail and error to get my switch working with my wiring. Once you have it all wired up, you can flip the breaker on to see if the blue light comes on, which indicates its wired up properly and the light should also come on with a flip of the switch.
Lastly, install your wall plate on and you are all done! I also used a 3rd party door switch that I installed on my pantry door so that I could detect when its open or closed. I then programmed my SmartThings hub to turn the light on when the door opens and back off again when it closes or if its been left open for more than 10 minutes. This solves my issues of leaving the light on! The GE In-Wall switch works VERY quickly and does the job wonderfully!
The next area that I wanted to tackle was my living room lights. I have four can lights in my living room and each one has bright LED lights installed in them. We wanted to have the ability to both control and automate these lights but also have the option to dim the lights when it gets into the evening. So for this, we’ll be installing the GE In-Wall Z-Wave Dimmer Switch.
First things first, we need to ensure the breaker is off and then we can remove the old switch.
This 3-way switch was more conventionally wired, so it was a lot easier to install and the manual was spot on. Here’s a picture with the new GE In-Wall Dimmer Switch installed.
Here’s a picture with the cover plate installed. The switch sticks straight out, instead of being in the down or up position like traditional switches. This may or may not bother some people, It doesn’t bother me but I could see how it might be less cosmetically appealing. If you are the type that likes consistency, you may want to go with a paddle dimmer and then replace your other regular switches with paddles too if they are in the same box.
Since I have a 3-way switch, I must also install the GE Add-on switch to replace my other switch in the circuit. Here’s the Add-on switch which happens to be a paddle switch, installed. There is no blue LED light on the addon switch, like found on the previous on/off switch we showed.
One final place that I installed another dimmer switch was our master bath. My wife loves to soak in the bath but our existing lighting in there is too bright and definitely not dimmable. So I replaced the original light with a GE dimmer switch and we can now adjust the brightness using most standard bulbs, we have LED ones installed and they work great! This is one of the reasons I love the in-wall dimmer switches, I can use my existing bulbs in most cases. You can also sometimes save money by going with in-wall switches since the switch makes the light smart, instead of having to replace multiple bulbs with smart bulbs, which can get pricey and gives you less control. With the GE In-Wall dimmer switches, you have both physical control over the dimming but also can both dim and automate the lighting via smart home hubs like SmartThings or Wink.
Read on to the next page to learn my final thoughts and overall impression of these GE In-Wall switches!