DIY Home Improvement Forum banner
1 - 7 of 7 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
68 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
As I replace my 35 year old, dirty light switches, I am finding that ground is in the box but not attached. They’re twisted together inside the box. Should I address this as I replace switches, or should I continue to leave ground unattached? If I should attach them at this time, is the procedure simply to twist in a third ‘pigtail,’ or should I wrap both around the green screw?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
575 Posts
Yes you absolutely should attach the grounds, if you're using grounded outlets you must have a ground attached (or be using gfci outlets).

I would also do some more investigation and see where those ground wires go, if they are a part of the current power cables (or run separate) or if any other anomalies are present. Might be a reason they kept the ground wire off there.

If the ground wire doesn't actually go to ground (it should run back to the circuit breaker) then you most likely do not want to reattach it as it's not actually a functioning ground.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
68 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yes you absolutely should attach the grounds, if you're using grounded outlets you must have a ground attached (or be using gfci outlets).

I would also do some more investigation and see where those ground wires go, if they are a part of the current power cables (or run separate) or if any other anomalies are present. Might be a reason they kept the ground wire off there.

If the ground wire doesn't actually go to ground (it should run back to the circuit breaker) then you most likely do not want to reattach it as it's not actually a functioning ground.

Joey, yes, the ground in all boxes is a part of the romex that goes back to the main panel. All existing outlets have ground attached, and the in-box configuration is the same as the light switches...romex comes in and has ground present. Just that l the light switches didn’t have the ground attached to the switch. The existing light switches actually do not have any sort of grounding screw on them at all. Maybe this is why they weren’t attached to begin with?

Should I assume they’re all the same ground back to panel and proceed with attaching in-box ground to new light switches as I replace them, or should I still do further investigation?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,724 Posts
No, thank goodness. All boxes in the house are plastic.
Why the hate on metal boxes? If the ground wires had been attached to the metal box, you'd already be done. Switches ground through the screws when they're in a metal box.

Further, when you have an arc fault/wire meltdown inside a metal box, they do a great job of dissipating heat so a fire doesn't start, and since the box is grounded, wire contact with it will trip the breaker. Plastic boxes will at the least, melt and drip molten plastic, and at the worst, burn.

The only downside I've ever seen of metal boxes is they tend to have less cubic inches.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
575 Posts
Sorry, I assumed these were outlets (I read it too fast). If the switch doesn't have a ground lug then it should be grounded to the box (if it's metal) , or at least tied with the other grounds in the box (if it's plastic).

If it's a plastic box and your switch doesn't have a ground connection I would look into replacing the switch with a new one, so you can attach the ground to it. With a metal box the switch assembly is grounded to the box (with the ground wire also attached to the box). With a plastic box you don't have that option so the switch itself should be grounded.
 
1 - 7 of 7 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top