How do I know if I have a neutral wire?

Check the year your house was built.

  • If your house was built in the mid-1980s or later, you should have neutrals everywhere in your house. Houses built before that may or may not have a neutral wiring.

  • If there is an outlet (wall receptacle) near the switch, most likely that switch has a neutral.

  • Switches that are ganged together have a much higher likelihood of having neutrals, no matter what year.

Check the Switch Electrical Box:

If you are unsure whether or not you have neutral wiring, look at your switch box, the metal box on the back of your light switch. Please observe all safety precautions before handling the electrical wiring in your switch boxes. If you are not comfortable or familiar with electrical wiring, we recommend consulting a licensed electrician.

Tools you will need: Flat-head screwdriver

  1. Turn off power at the circuit breaker for the switch you are going to replace.

  2. Confirm there is no power to the circuit by turning the switch on/off (there should be no power at all).

  3. Remove the wall plate of the existing switch by either snapping it off or unscrewing it.

  4. Unscrew the existing switch from the electrical box and slowly pull it out just enough to reveal the wires connected to it.
    If you see a white wire, or a group of them, then you have neutral wiring.
    wyze-switch-wire-labels.png

  5. Do not remove any of the wires from the existing switch. Take a photo of your existing wiring for reference.

  6. If you see a white wire (or group of them) then you have neutral wiring in your house. There should be four wires connected to your existing switch.

    1. Black/Red Wire (Load) - This is usually black/red in color. It goes from one terminal on your existing switch to your light fixture.

    2. Black wire (Line) - This wire comes out of your junction box and goes into a terminal on your existing switch.

    3. White wire (Neutral) - This wire is usually white in color and connects the neutral wires from your light fixture, junction box and existing switch.

    4. Green or Copper wire (Ground) - This wire is usually green in color or bare copper. It comes out of your junction box and connects to a terminal on the switch. This may not be present in older houses.

  7. If there are no white wires connected to your existing switch, it might be bundled towards the back of the electrical box. Try pulling the wires from the back out and see if you find a bundle of white wires. Those are your neutral wires.

    wyze-switch-neutral-wires.png
  8. Place the switch back into the junction box and mount all screws just the way it was. Make sure all wires fit will into the switch box. After mounting the switch to the wall box place the wall plate back on it and secure it with the screws.

  9. Turn on power at your circuit breaker and check if power at the switch is back.

If you are still unsure whether or not your house has neutral wiring, please consult a licensed electrician for assistance.

Have more questions? Submit a request