I have a WeMo wall switch that says I should not install if I do not have a neutral wire. What would be the result if I connected to ground?

  • Can you post photos of your situation? Feb 22, 2017 at 23:18

1 Answer 1


There are two main problems:

  1. Since building codes doesn't allow such usage, any inspector who sees it is going to flag it and likely want to inspect a lot of other wiring.

  2. If used in a circuit which is GFCI/RCD protected, any significant current the device would feed through its ground-connected neutral would likely cause the protection device to trip.

I don't think there's any technical reason why it shouldn't be possible for a manufacturer to create a class of switches which would be approved for use in such fashion [ensuring that such switches would never pass more than a fraction of a milliamp through the neutral lead even at startup would require extra circuitry, but that would not be an insurmountable problem.] I would expect, however, that manufacturers have no motive to build devices which regulators would not recognize, and regulators have no motive to recognize devices that don't exist.

  • There are devices (either Lutron or Cooper, IIRC) that have a chassis ground and a return "hybrid" lead that can be tied off to either ground or neutral depending on the application. Feb 23, 2017 at 0:10
  • @ThreePhaseEel: Interesting. I'm in the USA and had not heard of such devices though I've thought they could be helpful in many cases switches don't have neutrals run through them.
    – supercat
    Feb 23, 2017 at 0:44

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.