New construction home - how to temporarily install Red Series switches "dumb"?

Hi all,
need some quick guidance please, as I am about to make a 30+ switch purchase this week for our new construction home. I also need someone from Inovelli to PM me on how to buy these “naked” with no faceplates or fancy boxes!

Scenario:
— we are in the final stages of a new construction home, and the electrician will (soon) install any switches I give them, as long as “there aren’t numerous steps per switch” to-dos that have to be done above and beyond typical switch installations.
— neutral wires throughout entire house

My issue is twofold:
— “I” cannot be part of this install or be lingering around onsite (liability and COVID), as the home is not officially ours until we close on it. I am just able to dictate what gets installed during the build.
— there will be no internet access there until after we close, so no smart hubs will be installed until well-after we close.

Where I need your help:
— So, what I need is for them to be able to install a ton of Red Series switches (which almost all are dimmers, and mostly in 3-way, 4-way, and 5-way configurations) to work right now as normal “dumb” switches, NOT tied to any hub. They need to be able to physically wire them all up and make them work as normal switches would.
— Then later in June I will eventually pair them all to a hub (I have SmartThings and Hubitat… leaning to Hubitat to keep ALL these running locally) and make them work smart… the key here is for me to do this WITHOUT having to pull them out and change any of the wiring (will void my home warranty and the electrician’s work).

Is this possible to do? Thanks so much everyone!
Brian

Hey @btomasie, I responded to the customer service ticket you sent in.

@btomasie - No hub required for initial install, although it would go much smoother if you installed Hubitat (local hub, cloud not required). If they’re install Inovelli, I would highly recommend them installing AUX switches at the same time. It’ll save you time after you close. No smart hubs required for aux switches either.

You or electrician can install it per the instructions and toggle the 3 way modes with neutral from the config button.

@btomasie - Also, no removing the switch is required (unless replacement needed) in order to connect to your future hub. Just press the config button 3x and include into your Z-Wave network.

@btomasie - Tips from someone who started to put in Inovelli switches a week after I moved into my new home:

  1. For any 3-way or 4-way circuits, I would not recommend more than 1 Inovelli switch in any given circuit. Setting up multiple Inovelli switches in a circuit will leave you and your electrician frustrated both from a wiring and functionality perspective (aka unsynchronized led dimmer indicators, complicated hub configuration, etc). An “aux” smart switch could do if you really needed scene control from both switch locations. IMO having Inovelli+Dumb in my 3-ways works great and nice on the pocketbook.

  2. Assuming you take my advice and only have 1 Inovelli switch per circuit, you need to pre-plan where you want the smart switch to be, which is very important because the Inovelli switch needs line (120V). I ran into several situations where the line was on the “opposite side” of the room of where I wanted the smart switch.

  3. Make sure the electrician has & understands the Inovelli instructions on how to wire the Smart + Dumb or Aux switches. It is straightforward and not difficult, BUT important because in a normal “dumb switch only” scenario, there are a few different ways an electrician could wire everything together inside the box and they will need to plan on where to tie everything together.

  4. For normal single switch circuits, an Out of the Box Inovelli switch will function as expected. But in a 3 or 4 way circuit, depending on how the dumb switch(es) are set, the light may not turn on, or the switch might start making clicking noises or acting strangely until you connect them to the hub and set the parameters correctly for a 3-way configuration. (Or follow the steps to manually configure the parameters via pressing the buttons in the right sequence.)

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Actually I have a similar situation, where I remodel a house that I bought, and will install new switches in the whole house.
@Nathan_Inovelli would you mind also send me the info regarding to:
1). how to buy these switches in bulk without many boxes?
2). what’s the recommended for wiring these switches without hub and pass inspections? single switch seems straightforward, but I am not sure about 3 way setup. What’s the difference between using dumb switch and AUX switch? which one should I use in my case to simplify the installation process for my electrician?

Thanks!

@tonni83 - You can configure the switches without a hub for 3 way and neutral (or Jon neutral dependent). Aux switches will give you similar feel to Inovelli switches. Otherwise dumb switches work just fine. I did have an issue where a dumb switch in a 3 way wasn’t working, but an aux switch fixed it.

If my choice I’d go aux switch and have electrician install. Nothing to configure on aux switches, just the smart switches.

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I personally wouldn’t have your electrician install any smart device they don’t sell. Let them install $2 switches and then swap them out after you take possession.

Things you can do at this point are ensure that every box has a neutral, make sure that 3 way switches are wired in a manner that is easy to adapt to smart switches. (Ask the electrician to avoid the scenario where the power comes into the fixture and the 3 way switches are all wired with 14-3 back to the fixture).

I also suggest having each ceiling fixture box in bedrooms upgraded to a fan box, and requesting an “always on hot” and a neutral in each ceiling fixture box. That way you have the option to wire the fan and lights separately if you ever hang a ceiling fan, or put in a smart fan controller.

@Chrisml thanks. I can tell where you are coming from - I can swap maybe 10 switches, but doing it for the whole house isn’t an option as I don’t have that much time :slightly_smiling_face:

I can be onsite and working with the electrician while they install the switches - I was hoping that will work out better.

Hey @tonni83! To get the Red Series Dimmers in bulk you can get them here. (http://inovelli.com/unboxed-red-series-dimmer-switch-z-wave/) BTW, they are on sale today only. Offer expires at 12am Pacific Time.

As far as the recommended wiring, there have been some other great answers so I won’t spend too much time here. The major case for the aux switch over the dumb switch is the ability to dim the bulbs from the Aux switch. If you are only looking for on/off control, the dumb switch will be great.

First off, thank you everyone for all your comments and feedback!!

Second, in for 16 units!!! :slight_smile: Nathan, Order number 1462 I actually needed a bunch of Red Series On/Off too, and didn’t see any option for unboxed. Are there? If so, can we chat (my phone number is in the order) on how to adjust this (or throw a few free ones in to offset?) Looking to support my USA small businesses during this time! Hoping these can ship out ASAP to Chicago, as our electrician will be there this week to install them.

Thanks all,
Brian

It’s been confirmed the open box dimmers (and rgbw bulbs) are from the holiday bundle. I don’t expect to see open box switches anytime soon (granted I could use a few right now).

My first post here…

An invaluable thread. I too am about to have a new home constructed and this is very helpful. After I have a plan worked out I’ll determine a switch count and might do precisely as Chrisml suggests. I can spend all the time it takes swapping out switches. The tips on what to tell the electrical contractor are very helpful. Thank you.

Some clarification on the points above:

  • ensure that every box has a neutral - If you’re in the US, this has been required since the 2011 NEC. So you can mention it but you’ll be stating the obvious to a competent electrician.

  • Ask the electrician to avoid the scenario where the power comes into the fixture and the 3 way switches are all wired with 14-3 back to the fixture - If the electrician did that he’d have to run an additional conductor to send the neutral, so he’s probably not going to do that.

  • having each ceiling fixture box in bedrooms upgraded to a fan box - This shouldn’t be an upgrade. The NEC requires that fans be hung from a box rated for a fan. You can’t legally hang a ceiling fan from a regular box.

  • requesting an “always on hot” and a neutral in each ceiling fixture box. - The code requires fan box connectors to have a disconnect i.e. a switch within sight of the box. You can’t legally have a constant hot in a fan box. The neutral is required since the 2011 code.

14/3 to the fan with 2 full size switches is fine.

What I would discuss with your electrician is in which box a 3 or 4 way switch leg starts. These legs will start with power in a particular box. That is the box where the Inovelli will go. (I know you can use multiple Inovellis, but most applications mate Auxs or dumb switches.) In some cases this may not matter, but in others you will want to specify exactly where the Inovelli will go. The power to that leg has to start in that box.

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Thanks for the Clarifications. I’m not familiar with the NEC, The Canadian Electrical code is more my thing. (And I’m admittedly not as well versed as I probably should be) but I just had these issues with the electricians who rewired my parents house as part of an insurance rebuild. I’m not sure I would consider them “Competent”. You’d think with the amount they charge for change requests they would be willing to work with you on eliminating 2 wire switch loops or switch legs… At least in the 90s it was very common to pull power into a light fixture and then do a 14-2 loop down to the switch where the white was marked and both wires were used as a hot, one from the supply to the switch and the other from the switch to the fixture. Conveniently there is hot in the box which can be used for the fan so you can control the fan by it’s pull chain and leave the fan on when you turn the switch off at the wall.

Sounds like my American friends don’t have to worry about this in homes built since 2011. I just looked up CEC and it looks like it was allowed in the 2015 version, but as of 2018 a switch loop needs an additional “identified conductor”. (it looks like they avoid calling this a neutral because not every smart device uses it as such.

This is the 3 way wiring that I suggest avoiding. You can’t use a normal 3 way switch for the second location, it has to be a smart aux switch.

But can you legally put put a regular octagon box with the intention of putting a light fixture in, and then change your mind down the road and get stuck without the fan box?