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Old 06-16-2011, 12:57 PM   #1
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Chandelier Wiring Questions


Guys -

I'm installing a new chandelier in my dining room. The chandelier has the standard metal chain, electrical cord and then a bare wire running upwards from the chandelier.

Question #1: is the bare wire ONLY a ground, or is it also used to support the weight of the chandelier? From what I've seen looking online, the bare wire doesn't seem to be used for weight purposes because nothing ever discusses how to connect it (the bare wire) in such a way as to hold any weight. So, ground only, correct?

Question #2: if the bare wire is only a ground, do you always have to ground the chandelier to the junction box? Could I not use the grounding wire at all? (just more 'stuff' running through the chain links/looks unsightly) I know that might sound like a stupid question but my home was built in 1971 and when I installed some recessed lights in my living room, the existing junction box wiring I tapped into only had a hot and a neutral wire (somebody told me this is because the wiring ran inside metal conduits so it was self-grounded?)

Would appreciate solid info on this. Thanks!

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Old 06-16-2011, 01:50 PM   #2
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Chandelier Wiring Questions


conduit by code has to be grounded at least at main panel.connect volt meter to hot and conduit.if you read ckt voltage,it is grounded.connect ground wire to metal box that conduit is run to(fixture box).also make sure to test from neutral to ground for voltage.just to verify neutral.you still need to use the chandiler ground wire.

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Old 06-16-2011, 02:51 PM   #3
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Chandelier Wiring Questions


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Originally Posted by Twister View Post
Guys -

I'm installing a new chandelier in my dining room. The chandelier has the standard metal chain, electrical cord and then a bare wire running upwards from the chandelier.

Question #1: is the bare wire ONLY a ground, or is it also used to support the weight of the chandelier? From what I've seen looking online, the bare wire doesn't seem to be used for weight purposes because nothing ever discusses how to connect it (the bare wire) in such a way as to hold any weight. So, ground only, correct?

Question #2: if the bare wire is only a ground, do you always have to ground the chandelier to the junction box? Could I not use the grounding wire at all? (just more 'stuff' running through the chain links/looks unsightly) I know that might sound like a stupid question but my home was built in 1971 and when I installed some recessed lights in my living room, the existing junction box wiring I tapped into only had a hot and a neutral wire (somebody told me this is because the wiring ran inside metal conduits so it was self-grounded?)

Would appreciate solid info on this. Thanks!
The bare wire has to be connected to the ground wire in the box and the ground has to be connected to the box.
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Old 06-17-2011, 01:27 AM   #4
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Chandelier Wiring Questions


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The bare wire has to be connected to the ground wire in the box and the ground has to be connected to the box.
So why did the old chandelier that I took out not have a ground? There was a yellow wire hooked up (I assume hot), a white wire hooked up (I assume neutral) and then there were actually brown wires (3 of them?) that came out of the junction box but were NOT hooked up to anything at all; the brown wire ends were just terminated/wrapped up in electrical tape.

Yes, I know by code every fixture is supposed to have a ground and yes I'm aware that some people don't follow code. I guess I really don't understand the purpose of a ground when I see so many old fixtures that aren't wired that way.

Last edited by Twister; 06-17-2011 at 01:32 AM.
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Old 06-17-2011, 05:08 PM   #5
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So why did the old chandelier that I took out not have a ground? There was a yellow wire hooked up (I assume hot), a white wire hooked up (I assume neutral) and then there were actually brown wires (3 of them?) that came out of the junction box but were NOT hooked up to anything at all; the brown wire ends were just terminated/wrapped up in electrical tape.

Yes, I know by code every fixture is supposed to have a ground and yes I'm aware that some people don't follow code. I guess I really don't understand the purpose of a ground when I see so many old fixtures that aren't wired that way.
People who don't understand electrical work do it everyday. Who ever installed the fixture may have cut if off. EIther way it is required to be grounded.
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Old 06-17-2011, 06:44 PM   #6
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...I guess I really don't understand the purpose of a ground when I see so many old fixtures that aren't wired that way.
The purpose of grounding the fixture is to provide a low impedence path for the electricty to get back to the panel, to trip the breaker or blow the fuse if there is a fault in the 'hot' wire in the circuit. This shuts off the power to the circuit, and prevents someone from getting injured or starting a fire. Without the fixture being grounded, it is possible to have a fault and energize the fixture without tripping the breaker. This would be a shock hazard.
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Old 06-18-2011, 02:27 AM   #7
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The purpose of grounding the fixture is to provide a low impedence path for the electricty to get back to the panel, to trip the breaker or blow the fuse if there is a fault in the 'hot' wire in the circuit. This shuts off the power to the circuit, and prevents someone from getting injured or starting a fire. Without the fixture being grounded, it is possible to have a fault and energize the fixture without tripping the breaker. This would be a shock hazard.
Kyle / electures -

Thanks for replying. Yeah, I've always understood that grounding a fixture reduces the possibility of getting shocked. Didn't know it could also prevent a fire. OK, I'm paying more attention now.

So why does the chandelier ground wire have to be grounded twice?, ie, once to the junction box ground wire and once to the junction box? Or am I missing something here? Does a chandelier ground wire not do it's job if it's only connected to the junction box that's recessed in the ceiling?
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Last edited by Twister; 06-18-2011 at 02:38 AM.
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Old 06-18-2011, 08:03 AM   #8
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All conductive, non-normal current carrying parts of a circuit and equipment have to be attached in a manner that provides a low-impedance ground fault return path. In other words, if it’s metal it has to be grounded. Boxes, switches, receptacles, conduits, fixtures, frames of equipment, etc. Anything that has electricity in it, and metal that could become energized in a fault situation has to be grounded.
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So why does the chandelier ground wire have to be grounded twice?, ie, once to the junction box ground wire and once to the junction box? Or am I missing something here?
First off, any circuit cannot be ‘over-grounded’. The chandelier doesn’t have to be ‘grounded twice’, but the chandelier has to be grounded and the metal box has to be grounded. What is happening is all the metal is getting bonded together to the EGC that goes back to the panel.
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Does a chandelier ground wire not do it's job if it's only connected to the junction box that's recessed in the ceiling?
The chandelier’s ground wire will do its job if it’s attached to the metal box only if the box is grounded in the first place.
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Old 06-18-2011, 09:50 AM   #9
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Chandelier Wiring Questions


Install the metallic fixture strap to the metallic box. The strap should have a ground screw. Connect the fixture ground wire to the screw on the strap.

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