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Old 03-24-2008, 07:50 PM   #1
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no ground wire in ceiling


I am trying to install a new chandelier but I do not have any ground wire from my ceiling. There is only one black and white wires in the ceiling. Do I need to ground the chandelier? If so, how do I go about this? I have a concrete ceiling and there appears to be no electrical box.

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Old 03-24-2008, 07:56 PM   #2
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no ground wire in ceiling


Is the wiring system in conduit? If you have a concrete ceiling I would assume so.

If so then the conduit may be your ground.

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Old 03-24-2008, 08:00 PM   #3
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no ground wire in ceiling


Please explain what a conduit is. Sorry for my ignorance.
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Old 03-24-2008, 08:17 PM   #4
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no ground wire in ceiling


A conduit is a pipe in which wires are pulled through to boxes. More than likely you have a deck box. Which is to say a box that is embedded in the concrete. If your conduit is PVC than you will need a ground.

Take the canopy off the existing chandelier (twist the nut off of the thing with the chain going through) See what kind of material your box is made of. If it's a metal box, chances are good that you have metal conduit.
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Old 03-24-2008, 08:32 PM   #5
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no ground wire in ceiling


Thanks for educating me on what a conduit is. I took the canopy off and the box has been spray painted white. I tried scrapping at the paint but it did not come off. Best I can tell it is a metal box.

If I'm wrong and I just connect the chandelier with the ground wire to just the ground screw on the cross bar, what would happen? Am I better off getting professional help? My home was built in the late 1960's and I don't think any of the electrical has been updated.
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Old 03-24-2008, 10:27 PM   #6
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no ground wire in ceiling


You can connect the ground wire to the ground screw on the cross bar. The only concern is whether or not it is making solid contact with the box. Paint is generally non-conductive and does not provide a good ground. However, since the fixture bar is held in place with screws that are threaded into the box, your connection should be fine. If you wanted to make extra sure, you could take a bit of sandpaper and sand off the bit of paint where the bar makes contact with the box. But you should be fine. Proceed.
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Old 03-25-2008, 12:28 PM   #7
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no ground wire in ceiling


I'm currently having a similar issue - but I know the wiring in my ceiling is knob and tube. The wiring box is non-painted metal, and I just replaced an old fixture with a new one that is metallic, connecting the ground to the ceiling plate, but I'm now concerned it is a safety hazard.

When I hold my voltage detector near anywhere on the fixture, it lights up. This really concerned me until I went to the chandelier in my dining room that has been installed for years, and it got the same result, as do my non-grounded plug-in lamps throughout the house.

Is this normal? I'm a little concerned right now that I need to run new wire to those two locations...

Thanks in advance.
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Old 03-25-2008, 12:45 PM   #8
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no ground wire in ceiling


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Originally Posted by Crashless View Post
I'm currently having a similar issue - but I know the wiring in my ceiling is knob and tube. The wiring box is non-painted metal, and I just replaced an old fixture with a new one that is metallic, connecting the ground to the ceiling plate, but I'm now concerned it is a safety hazard.

When I hold my voltage detector near anywhere on the fixture, it lights up. This really concerned me until I went to the chandelier in my dining room that has been installed for years, and it got the same result, as do my non-grounded plug-in lamps throughout the house.

Is this normal? I'm a little concerned right now that I need to run new wire to those two locations...

Thanks in advance.
As usual, I would always recommend that you rewire if you have the budget. But overall, I don't think you have a major problem. The real test would be a voltmeter to see if the metal parts of the light fixture are live. I think you are getting a false reading from your "hot stick" tester due to the nature of how it works. At one time, light fixtures over a certain height were not required to be grounded, because they are inaccessible to stray hands. But the fact is, if your wiring isn't grounded, and it is installed properly, you should be fine.

Besides the grounding issue, proper K-and-T wiring was and still is one of the safest methods. There are K-and-T installations out there right now that are over 100 years old and still supplying current reliably. The real danger is when they have been hacked into by someone who didn't have the knowledge to do it right.

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Old 03-25-2008, 12:54 PM   #9
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no ground wire in ceiling


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As usual, I would always recommend that you rewire if you have the budget. But overall, I don't think you have a major problem. The real test would be a voltmeter to see if the metal parts of the light fixture are live. I think you are getting a false reading from your "hot stick" tester due to the nature of how it works. At one time, light fixtures over a certain height were not required to be grounded, because they are inaccessible to stray hands. But the fact is, if your wiring isn't grounded, and it is installed properly, you should be fine.

Besides the grounding issue, proper K-and-T wiring was and still is one of the safest methods. There are K-and-T installations out there right now that are over 100 years old and still supplying current reliably. The real danger is when they have been hacked into by someone who didn't have the knowledge to do it right.

InPhase277
Thank you so much for the quick reply. I actually was thinking of doing exactly what you mentioned - I have a voltmeter and will test as you suggested. Should I simply be able to place the leads in any two places on the fixture?

I have heard about the safety of k&t before and can see it's benefits. Mine being 82 years old - I suppose it could last a little longer if needed as the insulation is still in fair shape inside most of the fixtures. However, the last quote I had to rewire the whole house was $10k which wasn't well received by my wife. So I'm doing my best to run new wire as I take on new projects, making sure not to tap into the older wiring. I guess in the next few years I'll have effectively wired the whole house.

Thanks again.
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Old 03-25-2008, 01:41 PM   #10
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no ground wire in ceiling


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Originally Posted by Crashless View Post
Thank you so much for the quick reply. I actually was thinking of doing exactly what you mentioned - I have a voltmeter and will test as you suggested. Should I simply be able to place the leads in any two places on the fixture?

I have heard about the safety of k&t before and can see it's benefits. Mine being 82 years old - I suppose it could last a little longer if needed as the insulation is still in fair shape inside most of the fixtures. However, the last quote I had to rewire the whole house was $10k which wasn't well received by my wife. So I'm doing my best to run new wire as I take on new projects, making sure not to tap into the older wiring. I guess in the next few years I'll have effectively wired the whole house.

Thanks again.
No, you need a verified ground or neutral to be able to test the fixture for voltage. I would use an extension cord plugged into a known good outlet. Then test between the neutral or ground of the extension cord to the metal of the fixture.

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Old 03-25-2008, 06:03 PM   #11
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no ground wire in ceiling


Thank you all for your advice and expertise.
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Old 03-29-2008, 06:26 PM   #12
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no ground wire in ceiling


I just installed one last week is there a ground wire on the fans mounting bracket mine had one and if so just hook the ground to it also make sure the box is supported very well fans weigh 35 pounds i put a board between the ceiling joists in the attic and secured the box to it with wood screws and my ceiling lights with fan works fine or If nothing in your house is grounded then find out where the first plug is in the circuit that controls that circuit. then install a GFCI outlet that will ground the circuit.

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Old 04-01-2008, 12:46 PM   #13
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no ground wire in ceiling


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Originally Posted by InPhase277 View Post
No, you need a verified ground or neutral to be able to test the fixture for voltage. I would use an extension cord plugged into a known good outlet. Then test between the neutral or ground of the extension cord to the metal of the fixture.

InPhase277
Thanks so much for your help. I tested things as you suggested last night and after verifying the outlet and getting 115 volts from hot->ground on my extension cable, I came up with zeros on the multimeter when testing the fixture->ground in multiple spots.

I had been so conditioned to be concerned when that hot stick lit up I was really losing sleep over this. Thanks for helping me through this.

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