Worthington Distribution Knowledge Base

Z-Wave common practices and FAQ’s

Z-wave Best Practices

For this article, we will just cover a few do’s and don’ts of Z-Wave installations. There are certain things that we can avoid to better our Z-Wave network just as there are things we should really avoid.



For this we will need, of course, a Z-Wave controller as well as some Z-Wave products tied into the system.



  1. One thing we want to recommend is to stay away from any outdoor mounted Z-Wave devices. The reason being, mainly, the exterior walls of a home typically cut down severely on the RF of Z-Wave and makes things very unreliable. To add to that, temperature changes can sometimes affect RF as well.
  2. Do not exceed more than 5,000 square feet. This is pushing the limits of Z-Wave and if you have a larger job then we would look elsewhere for a solution.
  3. Please do not assume that a product is compatible with any given controller. Please check the manufacturers list of compatible devices.
  4. Do not place devices more than 25-35 feet apart. This will vary depending on building construction.
  5. Do not gang-together multiple Z-Wave devices into the same ox. Z-Wave is meant to communicate at a distance.
  6. Do not install Z-Wave dimmers or switches in metal boxes.



  1. Always have at least one hardwired device near battery operated devices to help with range and communication. This can help with battery life as well as it reduces the need for the battery device to re-send signals.
  2. Be mindful of large metallic objects, life filing cabinets or ductwork, which can severely restrict RF range.
  3. If issues occur when learning in a device, go through an exclusion process and then try again.
  4. When learning in a secure-class device (door lock, garage door controller) wait at least one full minute after learning it in before you move the controller/lock.
  5. Keep in mind that Z-Wave is similar to Wi-Fi. There is limited amount of bandwidth. The more communication you have going on, the greater the chance there is of getting a slow response or losing communications. This is especially true with sending an All On/Off command or locking/unlocking Z-Wave locks simultaneously.
  6. If you move a device without excluding it and re-adding it, you should perform a network heal/rediscovery.



  • What is the difference between Z-Wave and Z-Wave Plus?

Z-Wave Plus is the latest technology certification standard offered and gives you a high level of security and compatibility between products. All Z-Wave and Z-Wave Plus certified products are fully interoperable. Z-Wave Plus has been optimized for easy set-up and installation.

  • What is the difference between a “hub”, “gateway” and “controller”?

All of the terms above refer to the piece of hardware that becomes the heart of your smart home. This product type can come in many forms, but it will always have Z-Wave built inside. These devices can be in the form of: alarm panels, thermostats, stand alone devices and more.

  • Will Z-Wave interfere with my Wi-Fi?

Z-Wave works on a different frequency, so there will be no interfering with Wi-Fi or other common household device signals.



This article written by Joel DeYoung

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