How do I upgrade a 3-way dimmer to be z-wave ready?

A 3-way circuit describes a scenario where you have two dimmers controlling a single load (i.e. light bulbs). One of the dimmers is called a 'Master' and is wired with line voltage (110VAC with neutral and ground) from the electrical panel and the load (wiring to the light fixture). The other dimmer is called a 'Slave' and also is connected to line voltage. Instead of directly connecting to the load, the slave is wired to the master switch using a wire called a 'Traveler.' The traveler wire is generally red and allows the slave to toggle and 'dim' power to the load.

There are two types of master dimmers. Selecting the proper dimmer will require a quick power calculation of the total wattage of the load. Total wattage is the sum of the watts of each bulb. If you have 3 lights bulbs each drawing 100 watts, your load is 300 watts. The bulb should be labeled with the wattage. The Leviton VRl06-1LZ z-wave dimmer supports up to 600 watts of load. So if your load is under 600 watts then we recommend this dimmer. The Leviton VRl10-1LZ is a 1000 watt z-wave dimmer. So if your load is between 600 and 1000 watts you will want this one.

After selecting a master dimmer you will need to choose a dimmer for the slave unit. The is much more clean cut and requires no math. The Leviton VP00R-1LZ is 3-way dimmer with a blue LED on it. This can help at night to locate the switch but in some cases can be a nuisance in a bedroom. The Leviton VP00R-10Z is the more affordable option and does not have any LED.

** Please note: Dimmers do not support compact flourescent (CFL) light bulbs. If you are looking to setup a Z-wave light switch with a CFL load please review our 3-way switch FAQ. It is required to swap out both the master and slave in order to control the load via any z-wave controller. Each of these leviton options come with a white, ivory and light almond decora face plate so they can match your existing switch plates. **

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