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mrromex
mrromex, Electrical Technician
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 270
Experience:  over 40 years of all phases related to residential wiring and remodeling
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how do i connect the ground wire to the fixture box?

Customer Question

how do i connect the ground wire to the fixture box?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Electrical
Expert:  mrromex replied 2 years ago.

mrromex :

hi this is john and will try and help you

mrromex :

is the box metal

Customer:

I'll check right now

mrromex :

ok

Customer:

yes

mrromex :

ok if you look into the back of the box there will be a threaded hole for a ground screw to be used

mrromex :

the easiest way to do this is by purchasing what they call a grounding pigtail which is a piece of green ground wire that is already on the screw and all you have to do is screw it to the back of the box

mrromex :

then the grounds would then be attached to the mounting bracket and wire nutted together

mrromex :

with the ground from the fixture

Customer:

I am not seeing a threaded hole in the box. My house was built in the20s.

Customer:

there is a green ground wire connected to the new fixure.

mrromex :

what type of box is it...round, rectangle

Customer:

it is semi round. the box is square with rounded corners

mrromex :

is there any pre drilled hole in the box

mrromex :

is there a screw holding a clamp that is holding the wires in the box

mrromex :

if the wiring is from the 20's there is a good chance it was wired with "knob and tube" wiring meaning there is no ground available to that box

Customer:

there are a few holes in the box but the wires are fed through the sides of the box

mrromex :

are there only two wires in that box , single conductors

Customer:

yes. a black and white

mrromex :

no signs of a bare ground any where

Customer:

no

mrromex :

the wire entering the box...can you see if the shielding around the wire on the outside of the box is metal

Customer:

it is not metal.

mrromex :

you can a least ground the fixture to the metal box using that pigtail device and then to the fixture..if there are holes in the back of the box the pigtail should self screw into the hole

mrromex :

if you have a tester with two leads we could test it for grounding if you like

Customer:

were you speaking of the wires (shielding) that connect to the new fixture?

mrromex :

no the existing wire coming into the box

mrromex :

the shielding before it enters the metal box

Customer:

OH. let me look

Customer:

it has a black rubber like coating around it.

mrromex :

ok sometimes they used to attach the ground on the out side of the box, if you have a tester we can check real quick

Customer:

there was a black and white wire to the old fixture. I don't have a tester.

Customer:

Is it dangerous not to have a ground wire? Is it difficult to have it done?

mrromex :

its not dangerous.......however it would be a matter of running a new wire to light bow that has a ground and then to the switch

mrromex :

do you have a tester with two leads

Customer:

no i don't

mrromex :

thats ok...you will be fine by doing what i said and grounding it to the box with the pigtail device

mrromex :

like i said home depot or loews has them and they are very economical....

Customer:

so i would purchase the pigtail and connect it to the green wire existing with the new light fixure?

mrromex :

when you install the light....wrap the ground from the light around the ground screw on the mounting bracket and then wire nut it to the pigtail device

mrromex :

so it would be light to bracket to box

mrromex :

if you need any follow-up, you can come back to this question in the future even after you hit accept

Customer:

what do I connect the pigtail device to? Do directions come with this device?

mrromex :

it should self tap into one of the holes in the back of the box...the device is just a green wire with a green screw on the end of it, the wire is pre-wrapped around the screw for you

Customer:

OK>Since the old fixure was never grounded; can I take the groud wire off the new fixture and connect the two wires without worry?

mrromex :

thats up to you.........i can only tell you the way our code is written.....

Customer:

The new fixture has two of the circline lamps my old one had one of the circline lamps. does this create a problem?

mrromex :

no, not at all

Customer:

Can you tell me if it is safe to connect the black and white wires regardless of code?

mrromex :

connecting those wires are no problem at all....you asked how to ground the fixture to the box, what you do is up to you......personally i see no danger but i have to give you the correct answer to your question based on code thats all

Customer:

thank you very much.

mrromex, Electrical Technician
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 270
Experience: over 40 years of all phases related to residential wiring and remodeling
mrromex and other Electrical Specialists are ready to help you

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