I recently bought some smart recessed lights (with smart dimmer) for the kitchen. The smart lighting system requires the power supply to the lights always remain on. Rather than placing the smart dimmer somewhere beside the existing light switch, my preferred solution would be to place the smart dimmer directly over the existing switch location. In order to do this, I was wondering if there exists an "inside box" switch. That is, a type of switch that can be tucked completely inside an electrical box (which I could easily access and still turn off, if needed, by removing the overlying dimmer).

Edit: I had thought of just "hardwiring," (foregoing a switch completely) but felt that might have been unsafe. The answers indicate this is not a concern.

The smart system I purchased is Philips Hue (GU10 bulbs and Hue dimmer switch).

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    Why do you need a switch in addition to the dimmer? I'd think the typical solution would be to just hardwire it and use the breaker when you need to turn it completely off for maintenance. – Nate S. Jan 6 at 23:33
  • @NateS. I actually thought of that option (and should have mentioned it in my question), but it somehow didn't necessarily seem safe (or in compliance with electrical code), e.g., lack of resistance from absence of a switch??. Anyway, I guess based on your comment it's fine to do. Thank you. – yroc Jan 7 at 2:41
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    "lack of resistance from absence of a switch" is not a thing. For all practical purposes, a switch that's on has no resistance and a switch that's off has infinite resistance. – brhans Jan 7 at 3:51

First, if you're not familiar with how to do electrical, hire in a handyman. Most jurisdictions consider swapping a light switch or fixture to not require pulling of a permit/electrician.

Second, make sure that your lighting product is actually safe and certified for use. That means it will have a listing from UL, ETL, or CSA. Be extremely skeptical of items shipped from either China or an Amazon fulfillment center, or bought on eBay, Amazon Marketplace, DealExtreme, Wish, Banggood, AliExpress etc. Chinese knockoffs have been flooding the market, and they are not safe (and are not legal because they are not safe).

With that resolved, all the competent US products I'm aware of which have smart lights and also a remote switch, have designed the switches to allow mounting in a standard junction box. It mounts up like a normal switch even though it takes no wires and runs on battery.

So the intended installation is to remove the original switch, tie its two hot wires together (so effectively it's "always on"), and now there is an empty hole where the switch used to be. As I say, the products I've seen are designed to physically fit in that hole and mount up like a standard switch. The ground wire need not be attached to the battery powered switch, however, if it is a metal box the ground wire must go to the metal box.

The cosmetic cover plate may also need to be changed, ordinary switches take a 1" x 1/2" slot opening, and these smart switches tend to take a 1-1/2" x 3" (-ish) "Decora" plate opening. These cover plates are readily available at home stores in a variety of colors.

  • The lighting product is Philips Hue. The Hue dimmer switch is basically flat and made of plastic. If I take your meaning correctly, it is not designed to be mounted inside the box itself, but it could cover the box opening. So I guess no cover plate is needed, and no ground wire attachment necessary (correct me if I'm wrong). Thank you. – yroc Jan 7 at 16:30
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    Based on your provided picture, @yroc, you are correct. The switch will mount directly to the box, then the cover will click on. No additional pieces should be necessary. Check the instructions that came with it to be 100% sure. – FreeMan Jan 7 at 16:44

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