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Old 07-25-2008, 12:50 PM   #1
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Replacing Switches


I just learned that switches should be grounded and that spec-grade switches are much better than residential grade. I checked many of the switches in my 1976 house; some were grounded, some were not. I wouldn't mind replacing them; I enjoy upgrading the house. But should I mess with it if there has been no problem during all these decades?

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Old 07-25-2008, 02:50 PM   #2
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Replacing Switches


No need to replace switches just because they are not grounded. They are grandfathered under the old code.
If you want a different style or colour then change them to grounded type.

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Old 07-25-2008, 03:03 PM   #3
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Replacing Switches


Also, there's no need to ground switches that have metal mounting straps (occasionally there are plastic ones) if you're mounting them to a metal box that is properly grounded. If the box doesn't have the grounding conductor mounted to it with a screw or clip, you can do that, or install a switch with a green screw and attach the ground to that.

If you have plastic electric boxes, you must ground the switches.

The hazard lies in the metal screws of the faceplate potentially becoming energized because the metal strap on the switch somehow becomes energized, and not having a properly grounded box and/or switch.

I can't tell you how often I encounter new homes where this is not correctly done. Many, many electricians (or guys that work as electricians under someone's license) lack a fundamental understanding of grounding and bonding, and routinely put their customers at risk.
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Old 07-25-2008, 03:41 PM   #4
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Even if the ungrounded ones are grandfathered in, would you ground them in your own house?
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Old 07-25-2008, 04:14 PM   #5
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Absolutely. It is a safety issue, potentially. The chances of something becoming energized are slim, but why risk it?
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Old 07-26-2008, 08:51 AM   #6
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Replacing Switches


Quote:
Originally Posted by sweaty View Post
Even if the ungrounded ones are grandfathered in, would you ground them in your own house?
I have not and would not replace them.
The face plate is plastic. The switch toggle is plastic. The only metal thing is the tiny screw that holds the face plate on. I don't see any possible way to get shocked.
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Old 07-26-2008, 10:40 AM   #7
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Replacing Switches


But Joe there are two screws on a switch cover...... I know what you were getting at....


My comment will only be if you have a ground wire in the box you could elect to ground them. If not I believe code allows you to install new switches without grounding only for replacement purposes. If you install metal face plates then you must gfci the part of the circuit the switches are on or install a gfci breaker.

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