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Old 04-22-2013, 03:17 PM   #1
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Ground wire being used as traveler


I purchased an older home, and have DIY project I'm working on. Today I was confused with something I've never seen. In my Kitchen I have LED recessed lighting with 2 switches (3 way switches). I was attempting to replace a switch with a led dimmer. I found that one switch had 14-2 wire. Romex is being used and it is a plastic connection box - however the bare ground wire was being used as a traveler. Black wire was hot, and White & Bare were travelers. Question: Can I leave it as such? What kind of problems can I expect? Most importantly, HOW can I correct this, as dont want to put holes in wall?


Last edited by drmod; 04-22-2013 at 03:38 PM. Reason: clarification
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Old 04-22-2013, 04:00 PM   #2
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Ground wire being used as traveler


This is a VERY dangerous thing to do. It indicates that the wiring was done by an unqualified person with no regard for safety or code. Having found that, I would expect other serious electrical issues in the house as a result of the same person's wiring. It is both a fire and shock hazard. This very practice was responsible for the death of a young boy a few years ago (). There is no easy way to keep the 3-way function without replacing the cable, although you can do it using a wireless switch. You really need to fix this ASAP and carefully evaluate all of the electrical work on this property for other hazards.

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Old 04-22-2013, 04:27 PM   #3
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Ground wire being used as traveler


Absolutely not.... as stated earlier, either rewire the existing switches, or buy a wireless switch setup.
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Old 04-22-2013, 06:41 PM   #4
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Ground wire being used as traveler


Immediately undo both ends of the bare wire from the respective switch terminals.

Next you may connect those wire ends to the cluster of ground wires in the switch box.

To complete the grounding, connect a short length (pigtail) from the green screw of the switch to the cluster of ground wires. (If only one ground wire enters the box and there is just one switch, you may connect that wire directly to the switch without using a pigtail.)

You can convert to wireless switches at a later date (or later today if you wish).
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Old 04-22-2013, 10:28 PM   #5
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Ground wire being used as traveler


Okay, thanks for the info. I will just hire an electrician to remedy.
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