How dangerous is this electrical issue?

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Old 02-24-14, 04:12 PM
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Angry How dangerous is this electrical issue?

I am hoping someone here can help me answer an electrical question.

We just moved into our home and we wanted to update the fan. The fan currently is connected to a 1-gang double switch with one switch for light and one for the fan.

When I removed the old fan it only had three wires. The black and white wires are both hot wires, one controls light, the other fan. The bare copper wire that is supposed to be the ground runs back to the box and is connected to the neutral, so there is essentially no ground in this setup. The switch has the main hot wire in the black screw and the fans black and white wires each in their own gold screw.

It looks very difficult (expensive) to run another wire to the fan, so my question is how dangerous is this setup? Can I ground to the fans box that is connected to the wooden stud and be ok? Is the switch dangerous to setup in that manner?
 
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Old 02-24-14, 04:21 PM
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It is dangerous. You could retrofit the fan with a universal remote and rewire it correctly without needing to run new cable.
 
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Old 02-24-14, 04:42 PM
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Not a big fan of the remote so I am leaning towards running a new ground wire. However, if I needed to temporarily use this setup, is this a fire risk? Will the breaker still pop in the case of a short or will it continue to heat and eventually start a fire without that ground?
 
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Old 02-24-14, 05:13 PM
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Wire it up so that power goes to the unit and turns the lights on with a single switch. Operate the fan with the pull cords on the unit itself.
 
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Old 02-24-14, 05:36 PM
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Using the bare ground as a current carrying conductor can create a shock hazard on any metal parts of the system it is connected to. This needs to be fixed sooner than later for your safety.
 
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Old 02-24-14, 06:29 PM
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Will the breaker still pop in the case of a short or will it continue to heat and eventually start a fire without that ground?
If you have a short to neutral, yes, the breaker will trip. If you have a short to the case or frame of the fan, no the breaker won't trip. Is it a fire hazard? No one can answer that, but if it were mine I wouldn't use it till the wiring was corrected because it is a definite safety hazard.
 
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