ceiling fan/light switch Hunter 27182, no ground hookup?

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Old 09-28-14, 08:45 AM
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ceiling fan/light switch Hunter 27182, no ground hookup?

This is my first time posting here. Great forum. Thanks for this.

I have a Hunter ceiling fan with lights that was installed several years ago to replace another similar fan. When the existing fan/light was installed several years ago (about 3 years ago) the electrician used the existing Hunter 27182 switch which controls both the fan speed and light intensity. The house was built about 19 years ago and what appear to be similar switches are used throughout the house.

Yesterday something broke in the switch in our master bedroom. The switch still worked but it was difficult to adjust the light intensity. I went to Home Depot and purchased the exact same model number Hunter switch (model # 27182). When I went to install it I discovered that the original switch did not have a green ground wire while the new one did. There are 3 additional wires on the new switch which matched the colors on the old switch. I hooked up the 3 additional wires on the new switch to the wires in the wall box being careful to hook it up just like the old one was. However, since there was no ground/green wire on the old switch I have left the new switch's ground/green wire unconnected. The new switch works fine and controls both the light and the fan speed as intended.

The switch is housed in a box in the wall which also controls two receptacles elsewhere in the room. The wiring in this box has had paint/wall texture sprayed into it presumably from when the house was originally built 19 years ago. Due to this it's difficult for me to tell which wires in that box are "ground". I've got 2 college degrees so I am educable but none of these degrees are remotely related to electrical/engineering. My experience with electricity is pretty much related to ion charge from some chemistry classes a long long time ago.

Here's my question(s):

Do I need to hook the ground wire up or can I just cap it off and use it as I've got it working now?

If I do need to hook the green/ground wire from the new switch to a ground wire in the box is there an easy way to tell which of those wires is a ground wire?

I'll try to attach some pics of the box, switches and existing wiring to this post.

To aid in clarification the left most switch (which goes to a receptacle elsewhere in the room) has 2 wires hooked to it, neither of which appears to me to be a ground connection. The middle switch (also to a receptacle elsewhere in the room) has only 1 wire hooked to it which obviously (even to me) is not a ground wire. The right most switch is the new ceiling fan + light switch with the ground wire hanging free.Name:  3switch.jpg
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Thanks!
 
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Old 09-28-14, 09:31 AM
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Welcome to the forums.

Wow...a lot of information for a simple issue.

That is a plastic box. There is going to be a bundle of bare copper wires behind the switches.
That's ground. They may have been painted but they won't have any insulation on them.
 
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Old 09-28-14, 10:01 AM
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