Light switch ground

Old 03-20-01, 08:59 AM
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I had the light switch covers off while I was painting and noticed that the ground wire (bare wire) in the light switch boxes are laying in the back of the box, no connection, shouldnt they be connect to gnd screw on the light switch?

Old 03-20-01, 10:21 AM
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The National Electrical Code (NEC) now requires that all light switches be grounded. This does not apply to existing installations. Years ago, and I don't know exactly how many, a light switch with a ground terminal on the yoke was rare. Now you can't find one without. If replacing an ungrounded light switch that has no ground wire available it is grandfathered, and you do not need to run a new ground wire to that box in order to be legal, you just install the new style switch leaving the grounding terminal unoccupied.

Now, in your situation where there is a grounding wire available, by all means use it. Although in most upper levels of a dwelling you're unlikely to get juiced touching a light switch, since you would generally be standing on an insulated surface such as a wood or tile floor, or carpeting, the NEC is just trying to make things safer and safer overall. And while the chance of a shock from a switch is remote, it is possible under certain circumstances. Grounding a metallic surface can never be a bad thing, properly done of course.

Old 03-20-01, 10:33 PM
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Switch grounding


Would you mind giving me the Code citation on that?

I thought that only switches in bathroom, kitchen, and garage have to be grounded (or cover plate screws have to be nylon). In other words, where you need a GFI, you need a grounding switch.

You learn something new every day...
Old 03-21-01, 08:51 AM
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Look at 380-9(b) in the 99 NEC.

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