I was contemplating my next project after completing the installation of the ceiling fan and smart switches in our master bedroom. My wife and I were sitting in her sunroom when she asked me the question? When can I control the sunroom ceiling fan with my iPhone? My next project was born.
When building our new home, both my wife and I had certain features we wanted that were negotiable, and some that were non-negotiable. For my wife, her one non-negotiable option was having an all-season sunroom on the back of the house.
We've never had one before, and it made a lot of sense with the property we were building on. Our 2.4-acre property was part of a sub-division of similarly sized properties. This group of homes bordered some additional 30 acres of forest that were left undeveloped.
Our home was one of the ones furthest from these undeveloped woods. When we built, we positioned our home further back on the property so that we could oversee the 15 plus acres of meadow area leading up to the woods. A farmer used to plant corn here in the summer months, but now it had become a grazing area for wild animals coming out of the woods.
It made for a beautiful view looking out from our new sunroom.
Installing the New Smart Switches
The Current Ceiling Fan
The sunroom had a vaulted ceiling to make it feel different than the rest of the home. We already had a ceiling fan that was installed by our builder and electrician. Even though the ceiling was higher, the ceiling fan was low-profile and stayed pretty high up. The electrician installed only a short down-rod.
The actual fan installed in our sunroom is the Kichler 330174NI with light, in brushed nickel, with the silver side of the blades showing.
It was quiet and moved enough air for the size of the room, which was 12 feet by 12 feet.
It did come with a light fixture installed. I don't think the light itself is that bright, and it would not be bright enough for me if installed in a bedroom. I've meant to check the wattage of the bulb currently installed. My wife, however, enjoys it being a little dimmer and has instructed me to leave it alone.
The Current Fan and Light Switches
The builder installed switches were standard toggle switches. Nothing special.
I did kind of like the fan switch they installed. You could set the speed of the fan with a smaller tab to the left of the toggle switch. Once set, you could turn the fan on and off at that same speed. You only needed to flip the toggle up or down.
Our last home had one of those round fan switches. I always found myself turning it to the full-on position, then back two clicks to where we normally liked it. This new one was much simpler.
The New Smart Light Switch
For the new light switch, I planned on using the Lutron Caseta PD-6ANS-WH White Smart Home 6A Switch, Works with Alexa, Apple HomeKit, and Google Assistant.
I'd used one of these before when I installed our outdoor driveway lights. It worked perfectly without giving me any problems whatsoever.
The Lutron Caset PD-6ANS-WH - Backside
The backside view of this switch shows the different wires coming out from it. These wires are simply connected to the cables in your home using wire nuts, which come supplied with the switch.
The switch is capable of being used in three-way applications. The blue and red wires would be the traveler wires in that scenario. I did not need this, so I put a wire nut on the blue wire and used the red wire for the load wire to the fanlight.
This switch does require a neutral connection. The neutral would be the white wire. The green wire, of course, is your ground wire.
The Lutron Caset PD-6ANS-WH - Frontside
The front side view has a square "on" button at the top, and an "off" button on the bottom. Pretty simple. Considering the fact that the light in this room was not very bright, I did not see a need for a dimmer. The Caseta dimmer I use would add another $40 to the cost of the switch. Not worth it, in my opinion.
The New Smart Fan Switch
For the fan replacement switch, I planned on using the Lutron PD-FSQN-WH Caseta Wireless Smart Fan Speed Control, White.
This switch I'd also used before when installing a new ceiling fan in our Master bedroom. It, too, worked perfectly and did not give me any problems.
The Lutron Caseta PD-FSQN-WH - Backside
The backside view of this switch shows the wires coming from the switch. These will connect to your house wires. It does also require a neutral connection to the white wire. The green wire connects to your ground wire, and the yellow wire connects to the load wire going to your ceiling fan.
The interesting part about this switch is there is a screw connection for the live power wire. It does have a hole in the back, which you can push the stripped end of your live wire to connect. It does not have to wrap around the screw. I'm not sure why one connection is via the screw, and rest are using wire nuts? It's an interesting design.
The Lutron Caseta PD-FSQN-WH - Frontside
The front side view of the switch shows two rectangular buttons. The top one turns the fan on at high speed while the bottom button turns the fan off. There are up and down arrow buttons that you can use to control the speed of the fan.
The round, favorite button in the middle, is set to your preferred speed, by holding the button in for 6 seconds until the LEDs blink twice on the in-wall fan control.
The New Switch Wall Plate
I've been using the Lutron Claro wall plates with the new Caseta replacement switches. For whatever reason, the Claro two-gang switch was not available on Amazon.
Instead, I purchased the EATON PJS262W Arrow Hart Pjs262 Decorative Screwless Wall Plate, 2 Gang. It was considerably less money and looked fine to me.
Besides the price difference, one of the things I liked about the Eaton brand screwless wall plate is that it did not have a seam on the sides. The seam happens on the Claro wall plate where the back and front portions of the wall plates meet together.
The front portion of the Eaton wall plate simply covers the backplate for a smoother finish, in my opinion.
If your household has a cat who needs to be part of things, that is fine.
However, do keep a close eye on them as they've stolen parts and pieces you may need later on.
Fortunately, our feline just wanted another play toy. No, she did not unwrap the package and take one out - cats aren't that smart. After I took the package away from her, she knocked another one down on the floor from the tabletop.
I think she's mad at me - she stopped playing and turned away when I took her picture. Anyway.
Replacing the Light and Dimmer Switches
Remove the Existing 2-Gang Switch Wall Plate
After removing the existing wall plate, you can see the standard toggle switch for the light and the speed control switch for the ceiling fan.
Locate the Live and Neutral Wire Connections
The electrician installed the old fan control switch using wire nuts also. While it looks a bit like a rat's nest, you can see the live wire connection and the neutral wire connection in the back of the electrical box.
I like to do this before actually disconnecting the old switches. This way, you can see which wire goes to which switch and tape them if needed so that you can identify them later. I usually just move them to a corresponding side or corner of the box.
Disconnect the Old Switches
The old light switch had the wires pushed in from behind the switch. I know there is a way to release these, but I find it quicker and easier to cut them off.
The old fan control switch used wire nuts, so I just needed to remove them.
After that, I pulled out the neutral wire connections.
Connecting the Neutral Wires
With these two switches, it's easy enough to pull out the existing neutral connection. I'm just going to remove the wire nut and add to it the two new neutral wires coming from the new smart switches.
Connect the New Caseta Switches
Now that I know where everything needs to go, it's just a matter of making all the connections. It ends up looking like a bit of a mess, and one wonders at this point how everything will fit back into the box?
Fortunately, the wires coming out the back of the switches are 14-gauge stranded, so they're pretty easy to move around. Just make sure your wire nut connections are solid, or you'll lose the connection when pushing the wires back into the box.
Remove the Center Switch Tabs
Before you push the new switches completely into the box, you'll want to remove the three metal tabs on the center side of both switches. Removing these is the only way they will fit installed, side by side.
In my image below, I've only removed the top one on each switch. I'll remove the other four before installing it.
Attach the New Caseta Switches
After the switches are both pushed into the box, you'll need to attach them with the screws provided. I did not tighten the screws down at this point. You'll want to be able to move them around a little later when installing the backplate portion of the switch cover.
Attach the Switch Cover Back Plate
Installing the backplate requires aligning up the smaller screws with the new switches. Once you've done this and centered them, so they look ok you can tighten down the switch screws. You can access these through the rectangular holes in the backplate.
Attach the Switch Cover Front Plate
The final step is to install the front plate portion of the switch wall plate. The front half simply snaps into the backplate for a clean, finished look.
Configuring the Lutron Caseta Smartphone App
Install the Lutron Caseta App
If this is your first time adding smart devices to your Caseta home system, I wrote a separate article on just the steps required to Install the Lutron Caseta App.
Adding the Caseta On/Off Light Switch Device
Step 1 - Main App Screen
From the main Caseta app screen, click on the setting icons at the top left of the screen.
Step 2 - Settings Screen
Click the very first option on this screen to add the device. It displays the current count of devices added. With the Caseta residential system, you have a limit of 75 devices, including the Smart Bridge.
I still have a ways to go, but I assume PICO devices will also count against this limit when replacing 3-way switches. I've not started to do that yet.
Step 3 - Add Device Screen
Click the first option on this screen for Caseta In-Wall Dimmer, Switch and Fan Control.
Step 4 - Caseta In-Wall Pairing Screen
This screen gives you instructions to hold the bottom button on the switch for 10 seconds until the LED blinks quickly.
Step 5 - Room Screen - 1
Once you pair the switch with the Caseta app, the screen prompts you to select which room the switch is installed. The first screen does not have sunroom listed as an option, so I click in the "Other" option at the bottom to open a list of different choices.
Step 6 - Room Screen - 2
A sunroom is an option on this screen, so I select it.
Now, at this point, you see the option at the bottom to "Add Room," and another option at the top right of the screen is the "Next" button. The Next button is what I should have clicked. However, in my haste, I assumed that Add Room meant that I would be adding the sunroom to the app configuration for the new device. So I clicked it.
Add Room was the wrong button to click. Rather than going back and redoing this tutorial, I've included my mistake. The later, I have instructions on how to correct it. Since it's an easy mistake, most likely, someone else will make the same one.
Step 7 - Add Room Screen
This next screen is asking me for the name of the room, along with some details about the room.
I probably should have clued in on my mistake at this point, and clicked the Cancel button at the top left of the screen. I did not cancel but rather thought it was asking for details about the sunroom. I tried entering the sunroom first, but the app correctly told me that it already existed. Thinking that the app was asking me where the sunroom existed, I entered Back Yard.
Step 8 - Room Type Screen
The app then asked me what type of lights controlled in this room. This option was easy, and I selected the Ceiling Fan Light option.
Step 9 - Adding Device Processing Screen
The screen below displayed that the new switch device was being configured and added to the home system.
Step 10 - Devices Confirmation Screen
The final confirmation screen displayed for this switch device, and I instantly knew what I had done wrong. I had added a Back Yard Ceiling Fan Light instead of a Sunroom Ceiling Fan Light.
It needed to be corrected, but I wanted first to add another device to configure the new fan control switch.
At this point, I clicked the big blue button to add another device.
Adding the Caseta Fan Speed Control Switch Device
Step 1 - Add Device Screen
We're now at a familiar screen when adding new devices to the Caseta home system. I click on the first option to add another Caseta In-Wall Dimmer, Switch and Fan Control.
Step 2 - Caseta In-Wall Screen
The next step is to pair the new fan switch to the Caseta app. Pairing happens by holding the bottom button for 10 seconds until the LED blinks quickly.
Step 3 - Room Screen - 1
We're still in the sunroom for this second device, so I scroll to the bottom of this screen and select the Other option.
Step 4 - Room Screen - 2
From the second screen of selections, I again select the sunroom option. This time, however, I click on the Next button at the top right of the screen.
Step 5 - Device Added Confirmation Screen
The app configures and adds the new fan control device and displays the following, the correct device confirmation screen.
Correcting the Caseta On/Off Light Switch Device
If you remember earlier, I incorrectly added the On/Off switch device to the Back Yard room when it should have been the sunroom. The process of correcting this kind of mistake is easy.
Step 1 - Main App Screen
When making changes to existing devices, you do not want to use the settings icon we used for adding new devices. To change a device, simply click on it from the main app screen.
Step 2 - Device Control Screen
This screen popup is what you would normally use to turn the device on or off. If the device were a dimmer switch, then you would see a slider on this screen instead, with which you could control the brightness of the lights.
For our purposes right now, we want to click on the Edit Device button at the bottom of the popup.
Step 3 - Edit Device Screen
This screen presents all of the options you can change on this system device. I want to change the name of the room, so I click on the Back Yard button.
Step 4 - Room Screen
The Room screen displays a familiar looking screen of room names we can select. Back Yard is selected by default, as that is what I earlier added.
I scroll down a little bit further and select the Sunroom name instead. This time, I click on the Next button at the top right of the screen.
Step 5 - Light Type Screen
The screen displays the Ceiling Fan Light as the type of light. I don't need to change this, but I could if I had chosen the wrong value earlier.
Step 6 - Edit Device Screen After
After clicking the Save button on the previous screen, the Edit Device screen displays again. The name of the room has my new value, which is now correctly called the sunroom.
I click the Save button again.
Step 7 - App Home Screen
I can now see from the Home screen of the app the correct room names for both the new devices I added.
The top of this screen displays the two devices which are currently on. Underneath these lines is a Details button. I was curious about what this was for, so I clicked on it.
Step 8 - Status Details Screen
There was not much to the status details screen. Maybe once I have more devices added, it will become more useful? I kind of see why already as this screen would have only the devices currently in the On state. A filtered view of the on devices would make it easier to turn off the ones that are no longer needed.
The High Tech Wireless Sunroom
Despite my wife's objections, this corner of her sunroom has become pretty high-tech.
When we built the house, I had to decide where to put outlets for electric and network connections at TV height. The sunroom did not have a basement underneath it, and the outside walls had spray-foam insulation, so I knew it would be nearly impossible to get any special wiring out there in the future.
My wife strongly objected to having a TV out in the sunroom. Thinking she might change her mind someday, I had the networking, and electrical outlets added anyway.
As it turns out, she does enjoy listening to music from Spotify, so a Sonos One SL - Microphone-Free Smart Speaker – White was an easy sell. Along with the Sanus Wireless Speaker Wall Mount for the new Sonos speaker, it covered the electrical outlet entirely. I kind of wished I had installed more electrical outlets in other parts of the house for Sonos speakers.
The only thing left was to cover the networking outlet. In fairness, my wife did suggest a picture. However, with our 2.4-acre property, the WiFi reception was not the greatest in the back yard.
The solution to this problem was the Ubiquiti Networks Unifi 802.11ac Dual-Radio PRO Access Point (UAP-AC-PRO-US). I already had Unifi gear in the house, with a networking switch in the basement to provide the POE to this device. What I didn't realize is that it needed a special bracket to mount it on the wall with - Ubiquiti Mounting Bracket for Wireless Access Point. That was an easy problem to solve.
My wife is happy with her music in her sunroom, and I'm happy with fast downloads on my iPhone sitting in the backyard by the firepit. The two new smart switches complete this corner of the home.