Wyze Switch: neutral wire question

I tried to install a Wyze Switch today but was surprised to see when I pulled the old switch out that it had no neutral wire. My house was built in 1994 in the U.S. so it strikes me as weird since apparently most houses in the ‘80s onward have neutral wires all throughout. I’m attaching photos of the old switch and hoping someone can tell me more. Is it possible I technical have a neutral wire but it’s behind the wall and not accessible from the box?

Thank you!

Unless there’s an outlet nearby, most likely no. Sorry!

There is one! It controls a pair of outlets about four feet away diagonally.

You may be able to use that then, but you would have to find the wire and fish it up. Good luck! Don’t blow something up :smiley:

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If it’s there it “should” be terminated in the box somewhere, not sitting in the wall. If you stare closely at the cable / conduit where it’s clamped can you make out anything? There aren’t supposed to be random splices hiding behind sheetrock.

From your bottom pic, it is dark, but it appears that the single feed into the box is a standard 14\3 insulated. Where the outer insulation sheath is cut back, do you see the stub of a 4th wire. If not, shortcuts were taken in the installation of that switch. Have you checked other switches and outlets nearby to see if there was a neutral installed in those?

I have a 1953 build. 2 wire only - line & load - no neutral, no ground. I can’t use standard smart switches without a total rewire and breaker box change. There are smart switches that will work with no neutral, so it is still possible without a neutral, just not with Wyze.

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I have a neutral wire in another switch that I upgraded but I had general contractors do two other switches, and I just opened up one and it was a bit hard to understand, involving a bunch of extra wires—there are a few wire nuts in there and I get the sense things were wired weirdly originally or over time it become a mish-mash of different work/repairs. It has a black wire going into Line, a white wire going into Neutral, and nothing going into Load (and the ground wire into Ground). I don’t know if this makes a difference but I don’t use that switch traditionally and just use it as as smart switch with other Wyze products. Photo attached:

When I increase the contrast in my earlier photo (the switch in my original post—the above text in this reply is about a switch my contractors installed) it’s a little more visible. It’s just line, load, and ground coming from what I suppose is the insulation sheath. I don’t see an additional wire hidden in there. Here’s an enhanced pic:

I called my contractor to ask about neutral wires and honestly our communication isn’t super clear so I didn’t walk away with any insights.

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The switch you described in the 2nd picture (existing smart switch WiFi only no load) appears to be wired correctly with a neutral.

Because you do not use that switch to control any electrical device downstream (load), there is no load wire connected to the switch. There is no load to power so it isn’t needed. But it looks like it is there if you want to do that in the future.

The black “line” wire is your hot power supply from the breaker. The white is the neutral returning to the panel. My guess is that the red wire seen there in the pic is the load wire leading to whatever fixture that switch controlled prior to the smart switch install.

The Wyze Smart Switch must have a constant circuit to operate. The line hot wire provides the power, but with nowhere for that power to go when the circuit is broken with the switch turned off, it would be useless because power won’t flow.

That is where the neutral comes in. It allows the switch to return that power back and completes the circuit to keep the switch’s tiny little brain powered at all times, even when the load circuit is broken by the switch being turned off.

Without that neutral, the switch will not function. I would say the first switch you posted was not wired properly when installed and they used 3 wire instead of 4 wire… Which is cheaper. Dumb switches can’t tell the difference, they only really need line and load to operate (note I didn’t say operate safely).

Two choices: 1: Fish a neutral to the box; 2: Install a no neutral smart switch.

I opted for the latter x9.


This is a switch, not an outlet. This is a very common situation. Typically with house wiring mostly in the attic, there will be a junction box in the attic that has a single piece of romex that has three wires (Black, White, and uninsulated or green) that goes down the wall to the switchbox. The green or uninsulated is ground. The black is hot, and the white is used as switched hot. In the junction box in the attic, the white from the switch will be connected to the hot lead supplying power to normally a light.
BTW, as is commonly done and seen here, the white wire is SUPPOSED to be marked with color - usually color marking tape.
For confirmation, I am talking about the two photos is the first post.

Yeah I was confused at first but @SlabSlayer seems to have been talking entirely about the second set of photos, for a very different box.

You are correct. Second box pic was wired by a contractor and pulled from wall just to confirm if house had neutral wiring. OP confirmed it does. That smart switch has been operational since OP had it installed and appears from the photo to be wired appropriately without any load to control because it is only used as a WiFi switch and does not power any other fixture.

The first box may well have been an outlet box in the past with only 3 wires, but it currently has a rocker switch installed and no neutral. So, a Wyze smart switch will not work.

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You are correct. In the first switch pic, the one the OP wants to install a new Wyze Smart Switch to replace the rocker switch, the white wire IS the load wire and marked appropriately with the red marking tape “Load”. There is no neutral, which is the problem with not being able to install the Wyze Smart Switch there.

In the second switch box pic, however, the one I was discussing from your quotes and the one where there is already a smart switch installed and operating as a WiFi only switch (no Load), there is no load wire attached to the switch and the white wire seen is attached to the neutral.

Am I missing something?

We were referring to different photos.


I hope you don’t mind me tagging onto this post since I have similar switch issue as OP. My switch is in a 4 gang box with other switches and there is a group of neutrals tied together, can I use that as my neutral?
So essentially I will have a white (load) and a white (neutral) and black (line), correct?

Welcome to the User Community Forum @Run4Bourbon!

So long as you can confirm that is a neutral bundle, yes it can be used. You might need a larger wire nut to get it to fit safely and securely. It is quite common in a multi-switch box to see neutrals nutted together into a main neutral from the panel.

You have the colors correct… If they followed wire color convention. The load will sometimes have a grey or similar stripe. Safest way is to test and label the line\load wire with a no-contact tester to verify hot before you turn the breaker off and wire it up. The load side will only test hot when the old switch is “ON” while the line wire should be hot while the breaker is on. You will also have a green or non-insulated ground wire for safety.

Thank you for your reply.

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I have the same situation. Hot, load (which is white for some reason) and ground. I notice that if I attach line to line, load to load, and pigtail the ground wire to the neutral terminal on the Wyze single pole switch, that the switch functions perfectly. is this unsafe?

Welcome to the Wyze User Community Forum @rllewis!

Simple answer, BLUF: Yes. It is unsafe.

Complicated answer… Only your specific wiring topology will determine what will actually happen if you continue to use it this way depending on how, when, and what materials were used during installation.

Neutral wires carry the electric current back to the service panel thus completing the closed loop circuit. Neutral wires carry a live current after the load appliance has used what it needs. In the case of a smart switch, which is powered 24\7 and is never switched off, the circuit is always live, always closed, always powered. The neutral carries a current 24\7 unlike a dumb switch that physically opens the circuit and stops the flow at the switch when it is flipped off.

If your ground goes to the buss bar in the box, this is possibly why the switch worked. Older homes, before recent regulation, can be found to be direct grounded to pipes and conduits or multiple grounding stakes. If there have been upgrades, add ons, renovations, and do it yourself work done, there is no telling what you might find.

Ground wires are commonly uninsulated naked copper wires, especially in light fixtures, and tied together through the ground network in the house. Using this ground wire at the smart switch for your neutral would be sending electricity 24\7 thru that ground network to potentially every ground receptacle (that third hole on the plug), appliance, light fixture, and switch in the house. Not what they are intended to do. Additionally, since there is a good possibility that there are uninsulated ground wires, you would be creating a significant safety risk by permanently charging these in the ground network.

Lastly, if you have ever heard an appliance, cam, radio, stereo, or TV with static when it is plugged in, it is likely due to a ground interference because current is being leaked back thru the ground network into that ground post on the three prong plug. This is a dead giveaway that the ground network has been compromised with live current.


Appreciate your guidance on this.
Instead of using the pigtail off of the connected neutrals in my box and attaching it to the switch, I just disconnected the two neutrals that were together, which were nutted in the box, and put them into the neutral holes on the back of the witch, thus completing the circuit is this OK or should I pigtail off of the neutral instead of putting them into the two holes?

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