I'm trying to replace a light switch with a new light switch (zwave lightswitch) that requires a 3 wire set up. When I took the old light switch off it was connected with two wires, a black wire and a red wire. There were also two white wires that were just connected to each-other (is that the 3rd wire I need?). This light switch junction seems to be powering an electrical outlet in my room because it is no longer working after I disconnected the light switch. (Could those white wires be what was connecting the outlet?) Does anyone have any ideas as to what I did wrong?
Oh, dear. Who did that?
First off, the last person who worked in this box left you a mess to straighten out. You're going to need some 12AWG THHN for pigtailing and a couple of wire nuts to fix this.
- Turn the power off to this abomination at the electrical panel.
- Use a pair of wire cutters to cut off the splice between the two hot (black) wires and strip the wires back enough for a good junction.
- Strip both ends of the pigtail -- one black and one white is best here.
- Put one pigtail with the two black wires and wire-nut them together, leaving the other end of this hot pigtail free.
- Undo the tape on the white wires and free them up (this may require cutting off the existing junction if it's soldered together)
- Put the other pigtail with the two white wires and wire-nut those together.
- Wire the black pigtail to the AC Power L terminal, the white pigtail to the AC Power N terminal, and the red wire to the Load L terminal on your switch.
- Button things back up and turn the power back on
P.S. this switch doesn't need to be grounded as it has a fixed, nonmetallic faceplate. See NEC 404.9(B) Exception 2 for details.