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How to Install a Wireless Light Switch

Add a wireless light switch to an existing circuit by following the steps in this how-to video.

Ask This Old House master electrician Scott Caron uses wireless technology to install a light and new wireless switch.

In houses in the 1800s, it was typical to have a lamp just run on whale oil. You would just put the oil in the fixture and you would turn the valve up or down to control it. Then, gas came along and you’d have a similar process and use a valve to turn it up or down. Now, with electricity, we’d usually have to using wiring to connect the fixture and the switch. However, due to the structure of the house, it’ll be too complicated and costly to add wiring. So instead, we installed a wireless light switch.

How Does a Wireless Light Switch Work?

A wireless light switch, also known as a remote light switch, works with a device that has a wireless antenna and a switch. The device is installed into the canopy of the light fixture. Then, the wireless switch is attached to the wall. With just a simple push of a button, the switch sends the wireless signal up to this antenna to turn on or off the light. The best part? There are no batteries needed.

Steps for Installing a Wireless Light Switch

  1. Before doing any electrical work, always turn off the power at the circuit breaker.
  2. Disconnect and remove the current light fixture.
  3. Attach the the ground wire of the new fixture to the incoming ground wire, and if using a metal box, to the ground screw on the electrical box.
  4. Splice all the neutral wires together — from the power supply, the white from the fixture, and the white wire from the wireless module — and cover with a wire nut.
  5. Then, splice the black wire from the module to the black wire from the power supply and cover with a wire nut.
  6. Finally, splice the black wire from the fixture with the red wire from the wireless module and cover with a wire nut.
  7. Attach the light fixture to the electrical box following the manufacturer’s instructions.
  8. The light switch mounts to the wall at 48” to center, preferably inside a doorway. It does not require any wiring or batteries.
  9. Restore power at the circuit panel and test.

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