Home>Discussions>ELECTRICAL & LIGHTING>light switches missing ground wire
6 posts / 0 new
Last post
vastator
light switches missing ground wire

I have a 30 year old house and I am in the process of replacing some light switches. I have replaced several before in the past (different house) fine but this time I discovered that the ground wire is not attached to the switch in all of the ones I have looked at so far. The ground wire is there and connected to other ground wires from other wire runs but just not to the switch. Is there a reason why you would not want to connect the switch to the ground wire as well?

kentvw
Re: light switches missing ground wire

Do you have plastic boxes or metal boxes? If they are metal boxes is the ground wire attached to a grounding screw in the back of the box?

Given my last sentence being the case then some devices have an extra clip around one of the device attachment screws that makes them self grounding and you should be able to see this clip on your switches.

If they are in plastic boxes then yes, they need the ground wire attached to the device to meet current code as well as code from 30 years ago……………. (At least, 30 years ago we were attaching the ground wire to switches installed in plastic boxes. Code required or not.)

vastator
Re: light switches missing ground wire

The boxes are those really old brown ones. (fiberglass material maybe?) So they are not the conductive boxes.

I figured that it was not right, thanks.

kentvw
Re: light switches missing ground wire
vastator wrote:

The boxes are those really old brown ones................................

I must have installed thousands of those "really old" brown ones.

Guess that makes me?.................... LOL!

A. Spruce
Re: light switches missing ground wire
kentvw wrote:

I must have installed thousands of those "really old" brown ones.

Guess that makes me?.................... LOL!

Brown? :p;)

Vastator, not that it matters, the brown boxes are made of bakolite, still non-conductive, still need the ground wire to the switch.

Ernie_Fergler
Re: light switches missing ground wire

Many an old old timer never bothered with the ground wire. Thank god some just left it in the box.
Common practice in PA was to wind it around a Romex clamp if available.

TV Listings

Find TV listings for This Old House and Ask This Old House in your area.