Leviton 3-way switches

I am trying to figure out how to wire my hallway with leviton decora switches. I am no electrician so the wires are a little confusing. One box has 1 black wire, 1 white wire and 1 red wire. The other box has 2 white wires connected to each other but going from one bundle to the next for another room and the same with 2 black wires. The old switch itself has the same wire set up as the first switch with 1 black 1 white and 1 red connected to the switch. I am starting to wonder if it is even possible to install smart switches there. Any help would be greatly appreciated. I know this is probably a terrible explanation but like I said.. i am no electrician.

The tough thing with Leviton 3-way switches is that you need to have a neutral wire at both boxes for them to work. You need both boxes to have a neutral wire as you will need to install the master 3-way switch in one box and then the Leviton Remote switch in the other location and they both require neutral wires. This also may lead to too may wires in the box for electrical code requirements as well.

From my experience, it's not very common to have a neutral in both switch locations. For this reason, it's much simpler to use a Lutron Caseta switch. With these switches, neither box needs to have a neutral and you buy one switch and then a Pico Remote for the other location. Or you may find you don't even need the Pico remote to act as a second switch as you may just eliminate the second switch all together if the lighting circuit is going to be controlled by motion and you'll never touch the switch anyways.

In my home I used Leviton Z-Wave switches in varies places, that weren't 3-way circuits, to build out my mesh z-wave network and then I used Lutron Caseta switches for all of the 3-way switches. If you do go this route, I would try and install Leviton Dimmers over the regular non-dimmer switch as the non-dimmer switches have a really annoying click sound anytime they turn off or on.

I have been looking at the lutron switches but they require a separate hub. Would I be to add a neutral wire some how?

Hi @DLHenderson889. From your description it seems that you have a neutral at one of the boxes.
If you google "3 way switches" there are some good explanations and diagrams as to how they work.
Running a neutral wire to the other box (the one with just 3 wires) would probably be a lot of work unless there is another source of neutral nearby such as an outlet or another switch.
I am sure I have seen some smart switches that use a "less-smart" slave switch - maybe that wouldn't need a neutral wire.
(I am assuming that you are in North America)

@DLHenderson889 As much as I like to be helpful, I don't think getting or giving electrical direction in a community is necessarily appropriate. The person who did the wiring before you could have been less an electrician than you. You can't just use the color of the wires to determine anything. You need to test to make sure which wires are which and go where to where before you wire anything.
If you aren't willing to get an electrician, find a friend or relative who does understand house electricity and that owns test equipment.
I have rewired most of my home, replacing the old brittle wires and adding new circuits. It isn't impossible to add neutrals but it does take some understanding and work.

Most (all) Zooz switches and the new (only ones you can find anymore, but I think the old ones did too) Inovelli switches can be used with a "dumb" 3-way switch, meaning you don't need a neutral there. I know at least the Zooz ZEN27 doesn't require any rewiring for them; others may. Most "add-on"/"companion" switches that a lot of other brands require at the second location in a three-way setup do indeed need a neutral, and even in new houses I've rarely seen that.

But I'd second the above advice: you can't trust wire colors, so a multimeter or similar tester is required to know what you're dealing with (a neutral is almost always a bundle of white wires, not a single white, which in a three-wire plus ground situation is probably just part of the three-way switch and almost certainly is if it's connected to a terminal on a dumb switch). Consult an electrician or at least a knowledgeable friend if you're not sure. Some switches could be damaged with incorrect wiring, but more importantly, so you could you or your house. :slight_smile:

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