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operaflute 02-21-2007 11:45 AM

Newbie to put in ceiling fan! - wiring not grounded?
Okay, so I'm totally new to home repair stuff, but I'm about to learn big time (with your help) since I just moved into an older house that needs a LOT of work.

First project: ceiling fan/light, since my current light has no method to turn it on and off (aside from unscrewing the bulb)! I could just put in a pull chain adaptor, but I already own the fan, and I'll be glad to have it come summer, so....

I've got a small fan, and a fan brace. Upon my primary survey, I see there are only 2 wires leading from my current lightbulb into the ceiling. This tells me it is not grounded, no? I'd rather do things "right" and address this issue, first.
Where to begin?

Any recommended reading either online or possibly at my local library along the lines of "electrical work for dummies?"

I realize I'm new, and probably should just call an electrician to deal with this but:
1) I have, pretty much, no money.
2) I'd rather spend a month on this and come away learning something useful, than pay someone to do it tomorrow. (Knowlege=power!)
3) This blonde CAN be taught, as my experience with my motorcycle and motorcycle forums has shown me! ;-)


glennjanie 02-21-2007 02:56 PM

Hello Operaflute:
There are a couple of ways to ground the fixture:
1. Run a new romex cable 14/2 WG from the electrical panel (quite involved)
2. Run a seperate ground wire to a nearby metal water pipe or to a #4 bare
copper wire that would be run around the attic or across the middle of the attic. Then run the #4 wire down to a ground rod outside the house. This will give you a place to hook up several more ground wires for lights, receptacles and appliances. If you have access under the floor you could make another #4 loop there; running to the same ground rod.
I know, it sounds like a lot of trouble but that would be easier and less expensive than running all new wire and installing a new load center.

operaflute 02-21-2007 06:52 PM

Nah - sounds like something I could do, given some time. I will, of course, be asking, oh, something around 153,961 questions of you all during the process, discussing every tiny detail...

In the meantime, I've reserved a few books at the public library to educate myself on the basics.


Daryl 02-21-2007 07:21 PM

There are several good books at the local HD and lowes covering basic wiring projects. if you own an older home you will definitely need one. Become familiar with wattage, ohms , volts, etc. very easy to learn . Spend the twenty and have it on hand when the wiring isn't what it suppoed to be when you decide to add that extra receptacle extension in the living room for your wall mount plasma TV and find the last guy decided to run the living room circuit off the upstairs bedroom and not use any wire nuts inside a junction box half the size needed for those five wires he connected together with electrical tape and you have to make it safe and right. Oh yeah , he used that extra 20 amp circiut in the breaker box to run all of those 15 amp receptacles on too!! Sound familiar anyone?

operaflute 02-21-2007 09:30 PM

Yes, I have a feeling I'll be finding LOTS of stuff like that. Not just in the wiring either. Already finding things that are making me scratch my head and wonder..."why???"
My plan is to peruse lots of books at the library and then buy the one I like best!

Daryl 02-23-2007 05:55 PM

New products in the plumbung field are making it a little easier to take care of those pesky plumbing issues too. Can you say PEX? new snap in fittings that you can take back apart for ythis stuff too! See it at Lowes!! Little more expensive, but saves that trip charge for a plumber!! If you are a serious DIYer get a subscription to The Family Handyman. Great for keeping up with the new stuff and learning how to use tools etc.

operaflute 03-18-2007 10:50 PM

Work has been so busy that even this internet junkie hasn't had time to keep up online. In anycase, here's the latest. It seems as though someone else has already run this circle of grounding wires around in my attic space. I checked all the three prong outlets with a tester, and they all show as properly grounded. So I think it's a simple matter of connecting the ceiling fan to the already in place loop, no?
As far as books go, I did take quite a few out of the library - A "Sunset Guide" one, an "All Thumbs" one and a "Black and Decker" one. The last one seems the most complete.
Even better, I've found a few "handymen" that are willing to do tasks in exchange for symphony tickets! (who knew?) That takes the pressure off me for a little while.
But, of course that doesn't mean I don't have questions.
For one, why is the grounding wire often uninsulated - just bare copper? That just seems, uh, kinda creepy...

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