What is a neutral wire?

Let's hear from an expert

If you're just starting into building your smart home, especially smart lighting, you probably find yourself wondering what a neutral wire is and what if your house doesn't have one. We had expert Steve Lee back with us to answer the most common questions you may have about the neutral wire.


What Is a Neutral Wire?

Since most DigitalHome wall switches and dimmers require a neutral wire connection to operate, you need to know if you have one of these in place. A neutral wire is a type of wire in which carries currents back to the source of power and or regular voltage. Essentially, it allows power to return to its original source. We will discuss the purpose of the neutral wire a bit later.

Why is this so important, though?

It’s not just DigitalHome switches and dimmers but most smart lighting in general that calls for this neutral wire.

There are a few hardwired automated switches that don't need a neutral wire, but these are in the minority. Also, you'll be limited to incandescent lights.

DigitalHome is one of the few companies that have the solution to your problem.

Think do you want to use LEDs or other energy-efficient lighting? If you don't want to be stuck into a small segment of the smart lighting market, you'll need to resolve the neutral wire issue.





What To Do If You Don’t Have a Neutral Wire

What do you do, then, if you want more energy-efficient lighting?

You've got three main choices:

1) Run a Neutral Wire

Call in an electrician and get him to run a neutral wire running from the light fixture to the switch.

You could also ask the electrician to rewire both the switch and light fixture, but this is more complex and therefore costlier.

Regardless of the option you choose, running a new wire inside your walls and ceilings might prove too much trouble so you could always opt for smart lighting that doesn’t demand a neutral wire. As we mentioned, though, your options will be more limited.

2) Use Smart Switches That Don’t Need a Neutral Wire

Use the Digitalhome SW400 Zigbee switch. This switch does not require a neutral line. Just simply replace your existing switch with SW400 switches. This switch needs a GZ100 Zigbee hub to work. 

3) Use Dimmable Smart Bulbs

If the idea of replacing switches or rewiring doesn’t appeal or falls outside your budget, you could consider using dimmable smart bulbs instead like SLC100 Smart bulb or BH100 Smart Bulb Holder.

Smart bulbs and smart bulb holders might not prove the most cost-effective whole-house solution but, depending on your intended use, this is a viable workaround.


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