Installing a Dimmer Switch in an Old Home

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Old 02-05-03, 01:06 PM
planckZero
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Installing a Dimmer Switch in an Old Home

I bought some dimmer switches which have two wires for the circuit and a separate ground wire. My home is quite old and there is no ground wire available.

Is it ok to install these switches and just use a wire cap on the wire that would normally go to ground, or should I buy switches that don't have the ground wire?

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Old 02-05-03, 02:49 PM
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Does your house have BX cable or knob and wire?
 
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Old 02-05-03, 02:58 PM
planckZero
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Hmmm... I have little experience with home wiring, so I am not exactly sure what you are asking me.

The house has one fuse box with 4 fuses that control everything. One fuse for most of the lights, one for most of the (two prong) outlets, etc....

When I removed the light switch that was already installed, I saw that it only had two wires.
 
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Old 02-05-03, 03:02 PM
planckZero
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Ahh.. an internet search shows me that BX cable refers to armored cable.


Well, the wiring attached to the previous switch has a thick cloth like insulation around it, if that helps.
 
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Old 02-05-03, 03:14 PM
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sounds like old RHW cloth extruded thru tar. really brittle stuff as it ages. are you sure there isn't a bare wire screwed into the back of the box??? that will be your ground. if this wire is there, you could just do the same w/ the ground from the switch!
 
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Old 02-05-03, 03:32 PM
planckZero
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I will definitely look more carefully for a ground when I get home today.

I suppose my real question is: if there isn't, is it still safe to install the switch with the ground wire from the switch capped, or do I need a different model for the wiring I have?
 
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Old 02-05-03, 03:39 PM
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my answer to you would be to check the box that the switch goes in. it should be a metal box with the bare from the wire attached to it somehow (usually w/ a screw). if the box is indeed metal, you can get a grounding tail, available at the depot, lowes or elec supply, this is simply a solid piece of #12 wire about 8" long with a green screw on one end. the screw would screw into the back of the box and you can then wirenut the switch ground to it.
 
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Old 02-05-03, 03:43 PM
planckZero
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Thanks for the information.

I will check the box when I get home from work today.
 
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Old 02-05-03, 05:18 PM
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Is it ok to install these switches and just use a wire cap on the wire that would normally go to ground?
If, when all is said and done, you find no acceptable ground, then the answer to your question is yes.
 
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