Replacing All Zwave In Wall Switches - Best Practice?

Okay, as the title says, I am going to replace all my current in wall Z Wave switches. Going from the GE/Jasco (All were supposed to have been Zwave plus. But, looking at the cluster information, several of them are not) Regardless, the replacements are all going to be the Inovelli Red Switches and Dimmers.

ALL have neutrals, so no issues there. What I am looking for guidance on it the best practice as far as inclusion/exclusion/etc, since I will not have power to exclude the old switches once the new ones are in place. This is for a total of ten switches/dimmers. I have only ever had to replace one switch, and it was a failed one, so the choice had already been made for me.

It may also be important to point out that two or three of these switches are currently repeating for others according to the Zwave details page. I have Ring extenders (V2) that none of the devices are using currently. So, it will likely break the mesh a bit when I do this.

I think I may have several options:
1- Create a virtual switch and virtual dimmer, replace a switch (or a dimmer) one at a time in the automations for a single switch in the system. Exclude that switch/dimmer. Remove from power, install the new switch/dimmer, include then associate with automations, move to the next switch and start over.

2- Create multiple virtual Switches and Virtual Dimmers, add those to the current automations in place of the old switches, Exclude all of the old ones (one at a time till all are excluded), then install one switch at a time, add and include the new swtich, and put it back in the automations. Then move to the next new switch. Once done, delete all of the Virtual switches.

3- (Not sure this one is possible) Remove the old switch from power, hook the new switch up to power, refresh the old switch in HE till it fails then do a replace with the new switch (I think this one is sketchy at best, but I thought I would ask for concurrence)

4- The same as two, but instead of forcing a fail, just include the new switch, move it into the automations, and then force remove the old switch when it inevitably fails (again, I think this is sketchy)

5- Any better option that someone else may know

So, I am leaning towards option one or two being the safest. Not sure which of the two is most efficient. Anyone else done a replacement of multiple switches like this?

You didn't mention how many devices were staying or if you had zigbee devices. A full factory reset might be the cleanest and fastest.

I have 164 total items on the hub (Including virtual devices for automations).

For Zwave, nine of those are other Zwave devices (3 Locks (S0 & plus), a garage door controller (S0 and non plus), 3 Ring V2 Extenders (S2), and two power meters (Both Aeotec, one S0 and plus, the other "none" and non plus). Then there is the ten switches I am replacing. All were supposed to be plus, but clusters tell me that only 6 of them actually are (Although they ALL have that stamped on the fixture itself). All are mains powered.

For Zigbee:
Battery: 2 Hue 4 button Remotes, 2 Sengled 4 button Remotes, 5 Osram two button remotes, 6 Iris V2 motion, 1 ST V1 motion (It just still works where it is :man_shrugging:, I have a backup Iris if it fails),4 Paired Tradfri 5 button remotes that just take up space on the hub but will directly control the lights when paired this way), 5 ST V4. Multi Sensors (for doors)

Mains Powered: 42 CT bulbs (a mix of Tradfri and Ecosmart), 4 Iris repeaters (Only using the zigbee).

The rest are virtual devices (Weather, Watchdog, Combined Presence, Phone Presence, and virtual presence and several I use for automations - I like to have a switch that I can cancel/block an automation with as a somewhat failsafe or manual over ride)

Took me two weeks to set up methodically bringing them over from ST. If you are suggesting a factory reset on the hub, I may politely decline.

That said, my biggest concern was creating ghost nodes by not being able to exclude. I will probably go with the most conservative option 1 up there and do a few a day and let the Zwave dust settle overnight before moving on. I was just wondering if anyone else had replaced a group of Mains powered Zwave devices like this and if there were any particular issues.

Edited to add..... If you were meaning resetting the GE/Jasco Switches to factory before removing, that was actually my intent on option one as part of the exclusion process. Realize that might not have been obvious......

Make some dummy Zwave devices and add them to all your existing rules that target the dimmers / switches your going to replace.
Easiest by looking at each device to see what apps are using it.
Then exclude the old, include the new and go through the apps again swapping out the dummy Zwave device for your new one.

Alternatively, a Zwave reset would only wipe those Zwave devices and leave the Zigbee and other things. But still quite a nuclear option compared to other methods.

A virtual device as a substitute would be the least disruptive, but would take the longest. You could do the VD substitution for all rules or wherever the device was used, exclude the old switch while it was still on power, include the new switch, and then go back to the correct device from the VD.

The other option but not as safe would be to make a "cheater cord" out of an extension cord, temporarily wire the switch to the cord, and do the exclude of the old switches "on the bench". You have live 120V terminals, but it would be the fastest way to exclude old devices after the inclusion of the new ones.

Was only suggestion the reset if he only had a few devices but his setup wouldn't be a good option.


Appreciate the thought though. Once again, was just wondering if anyone else had done it and specific issues or tips for minimizing total install time.

Yep, the virtual device, option 1 is what I am going with as least disruptive as well. Was hoping that someone might have had experience with a better option. (Tried the replace on switch #1, it worked, but only joined with no security. So, going to use Virtual, factory reset and exclude old, install and include new, and then re-associate from the virtual to the new) Seems the only "safe" option.

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Thanks, yep, that is option 2. I think I am going with option 1 (which is the same, just one at a time vs all 10 at once) as least likely to get messed up one at a time.

Oh yeah, I'd definitely just do 1 at a time.
Heck I'd even set a daily limit of maybe changing only 4-6 units and then let the "mesh settle".
I find whenever I try to make a lot of changes at once, more things tend to go wrong.
Whether it's my task loading or the Hubs, I dunno, but I now make changes slowly. :slight_smile:

Yep, I went with three per day. So far so good.

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So, all installed and working well.

Silly follow up question. All of the switches are using the Inovelli drivers from their github. They installed the child devices with the same generic name for all of them. Is there anything wrong with renaming them after the fact? Or is there something in the driver code that fixes their names? (I see they have unique DNI's. Just thought I would ask before I break something)

Would be nice to know WHICH child device I am looking at when trying to select in a rule.

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