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Old 08-18-2014, 04:01 PM  
toicy4ya
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Default Question Regarding Ground Wire for Light Fixture

Sup guys,

I am replacing the light fixture in my bathroom which looks like it hasn't been changed in many years. The new light fixture has a socket where as the old one doesn't. I have the following two questions;

1. The new fixture has a ground wire. However, the junction box doesn't appear to have a ground wire. Where do I connect the ground wire for the new light fixture?

2. Being that the old light fixture didn't have a socket attached, how do I connect the socket wires for the new light fixture?

I have attached a few pictures as reference. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance.






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Old 08-18-2014, 05:00 PM  
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The ground wire could be behind the plate in picture #1 - possibly connected to the plate by the screw pictured (also in pix #1 in the upper left). I will let the pros guide you if there is no ground present.
Is picture #2 the wires leading from the fixture dangling from picture #1?



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Old 08-18-2014, 05:43 PM  
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You may not have grounded wire but if you do it will be attached to the box so you can attach you green wire to any part of the box.

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Old 08-18-2014, 07:01 PM  
Wuzzat?
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This has come up before.
You can get a 'working ground' by snaking a single uninsulated #12 or #14 wire in corners, under baseboards, etc., until you get to the load center ground by a more or less direct route. It should be protected against physical damage, maybe by using nailing plates.

But. . .does the NEC expressly prohibit this? Or is the Code silent on this particular grounding method, intentionally or by oversight? A lot of money for a lot of homeowners is riding on this answer.

If this wire is prohibited I guess a GFCI is another option.

If you flex those old wires, have some heat shrink tubing on hand.

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Old 08-19-2014, 07:01 AM  
bud16415
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Because it’s a bathroom I would be a little more worried about how it’s set up. It also looks like it’s a light with an outlet built in and I’m guessing its going over the sink.

Tell us a little more about the bathroom and the outlets. Are they GFCI outlets? Do you know if the light is being fed from and outlet?

You could just hook the black and white wires to the two wires coming out of the wall and it would work but wouldn’t be the correct way or the code way or the right way to do it. Running a ground all the way back to the box isn’t the way to do it IMO.

As to the hardware you will need to attach it you need a strap to go across the box and one that has the threaded tube in the center to attach the fixture.

Safety first though.

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Old 08-19-2014, 10:40 AM  
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I am going to assume (and you know what they say about assuming) that there are no GCFI's in this bathroom from the age of the original wiring. I am also going to assume there is no bare ground available either. Therefore, you have no place to attach your ground wire that will give you a ground.
It is difficult to tell from your pictures, but if your original fixture has a wall switch and you connect your new light with all the blacks tied to the black wire in the wall and all your white wires to the white wire in the wall (note the white showing through the dark cover) then everything including the plugin will work only when the switch is on. If you want the plugin to work all the time you will have to do some additional testing to determine if it is possible to have the plugin function like that.
As Bud pointed out because it is a bathroom and (again I am going to assume) this light is above the sink and has a plugin, there needs to be added protection to eliminate the possibility of electric shock. I am going to include a quote and an opinion that I found concerning running a separate ground wire. I do not have access to an NEC code book but this looks right. Take it for what it is worth.

"Now, what I am considering doing is running a separate green insulated solid 12AWG copper ground wire through the crawl space (routed and stapled as per code) for each branch circuit with wall receptacles and daisy chaining the ground wire between the receptacle outlets on that branch circuit.

From what I am reading in the NFPA-NEC, this would be acceptable and not forbidden. Here's why I believe this to be true:

I am performing a partial rewire of the house thereby ensuring each wall receptacle outlet has a ground wire. NEC 406.(D).(2) reads "Non–Grounding-Type Receptacles. Where attachment to an equipment grounding conductor does not exist in the receptacle enclosure, the installation shall comply with (D)(2)(a), (D)(2)(b), or (D)(2)(c)." which discusses the (a) re-installation of a two prong receptacle(s), (b) installation of a properly labeled/marked GFCI receptacle, (c) or you can install three-prong receptacle(s) downstream of the GFCI as long as there's no equipment ground connected between them and properly marked.

I believe that adding a ground wire to a branch circuit and daisy-chaining between the receptacle outlets is acceptable and makes 406.(D) above not applicable because an equipment grounding conductor will then exist in the receptacle enclosure. If I am wrong, please show me where in the code it prohibits this."

The permission to run a separate ground wire and the ability to get it where it needs to be can be two entirely separate issues. Also, as Bud was suggesting IF your light is fed from a receptacle and you could replace that receptacle with a GCFI and wire it correctly, you eliminate the safety issue and as noted above that is allowed by code. Obviously many options and details here. Hope I did not overload or confuse the issue.

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Old 08-19-2014, 10:42 AM  
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Is that a jbox in picture #1 or the backplate from the old fixture? It looks kind of large......
If it's the backplate, you will have to remove that too.

Edit: Now that I'm looking closer, it seems to be a jbox behind the backplate. By removing the backplate, you will get a better look at what is in the box.

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Old 08-19-2014, 11:11 AM  
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Lots of ways to go but until you see the big picture with this stuff I always think it confuses things to the OP trying to give every option.

Say the light is switched from a wall switch in a double box that also has the ceiling fan and power comes into that box. You could replace one switch with GFCI outlet. And then replace other switch with a double switch both getting power from the GFIC. Sometimes you get lucky and never have to pull a wire. But you just never know till you see the big picture.

Most times trouble shooting requires a lot of questions before an answer.

I never like the shotgun approach.


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Old 08-19-2014, 05:19 PM  
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Sorry was not trying to confuse the issue. Guess I was trying to address Wuzzat's question as well.

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Old 08-19-2014, 05:31 PM  
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Yeah, make it green so they know it's a ground. And document the path of that wire so the people who come later know where to look.



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