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Could really use some help. I'm putting in some GE Z-Wave plus switches in my new house and have come across my first 3-way switch.

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I think the far left Romex in box #1 is the cable that goes between both boxes. The Internet seems to suggest that the black wire there is no longer needed and can be capped at both ends. That leaves me with the traveler and the neutral wires at box #2, which is exactly what the GE add-on switch takes.

At box #1, far left Romex, I capped the black, put the red on the traveler of the new switch, and put a jumper from the neutral of the switch to the bundle of neutrals.

This leaves me with only the red wire going up into the center Romex. Since the top black wire from the fan switch also goes into the center, I want to say the red is the load for the light, but originally it was connected to the common terminal of the old switch. I'm not sure how this switch gets power.

I'm very confused and not an electrician. Please help me.

  • What model is the z-wave switch you're putting in? – ThreePhaseEel Jul 29 '17 at 3:17
  • @ThreePhaseEel GE 14294 (dimmer) and GE 12723 (add-on) – akiddisaster Jul 29 '17 at 3:38
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What you have here is a line-side traveller loop. The white wire in the leftmost 14/3 cable takes power out to the switch in Box #2, while the red and black wires in that cable are the travellers going back to the switch in Box #1, which then feeds the load.

The fortunate thing about this configuration is that it's relatively easy to hook your smart switches up to it. You'll just need a couple of pigtails for the line and neutral on your new dimmer, and a couple of wirenuts to cap off the unused black wire in the cable between the two switch boxes.

  1. Make sure the power's off at the breaker.
  2. Remove the old switches.

In the first box:

  1. Remove the white wire that's bundled in with the black wires from that junction and join it and the white pigtail to the existing bundle of white wires. (These are your neutrals.) Remove any tape or paint flags or markings on the white wire in the leftmost cable. It will become a neutral once again, as it was a hot previously.
  2. Nut the black pigtail into the existing bundle of black wires. (This is your hot feed coming into the box.)
  3. Connect the existing ground pigtail that grounded the old switch to the ground terminal on the smart switch if the old switch was grounded. If it was not grounded, post a comment here and I'll update the instructions.
  4. Connect the black pigtail to the line terminal on the smart switch.
  5. Connect the white pigtail to the neutral terminal on the smart switch.
  6. Connect the red wire from the leftmost cable to the traveller terminal on the smart switch.
  7. Cap off the black wire from the leftmost cable with a wirenut.
  8. Connect the red wire from the center cable to the load terminal on the smart switch.

In the second box:

  1. Remove any tape flags or paint markings present from the white wire.
  2. Cap off the black wire with a wirenut.
  3. Connect the ground wire (if present) to the remote's ground terminal. If no ground wire is present, post a comment here.
  4. Connect the red wire to the remote's traveller terminal.
  5. Connect the white wire to the remote's neutral terminal.

  6. Put everything back together in both boxes.

  7. Turn the power back on and configure the smart dimmer.

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