Sketchy Electrical - Wire Brass Screws Loose

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Old 03-31-18, 02:17 PM
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Sketchy Electrical - Wire Brass Screws Loose

Hi All,
New to the forum, and not electrically oriented. I went to change some light switches, and found about half of them had the wire brass screws loose, with wires easily coming out. Several were backed off by at least 1-2mm making me think there was no effort to tighten them in the first place.
Do these look grounded properly, or that a neutral back there (I am confused about terminology and basics).

Question:
Besides loose wire brass screws, which I can go around and tighten, does anything concern you?
If I call an electrician, how far might he take the scope?

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Some pictures are for 3-way switches (either 3 or 4 wires attached), while others are for 2-way switches.

Facts:
2006 built house, Alberta (Canada). Keep in mind this was the height of the building boom.
 
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Old 03-31-18, 02:34 PM
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Welcome to the forums.

Certainly a boatload of pictures. Not sketchy at all.

Wiring devices have two means of connections. The best way is to use the side screws. The other method is push-in. Your devices use the push in the back connections. That means the screw terminals are not being used. The screws come loose out of the package. Usually they get screwed in so that they aren't hanging out.

Many electricians in their haste to complete.... leave the screws as they came out of the box. You can tighten them. They don't affect the performance of the device.
 
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Old 03-31-18, 03:13 PM
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found about half of them had the wire brass screws loose, with wires easily coming out.
As PJ mentioned already, screw terminals are not being used and push-in connection is being used on your switches. If wires come out easily as you said, move them to screw terminals instead. Loose connection can lead to over heat.
If they come out only when you pull and twist, it is normal and there is nothing to be concerned.

Do these look grounded properly
I don't see a ground connections to the switches. If those switches are self grounding type and the junction box is grounded, then they will be grounded.
Self grounding switches have a clip on one of the mounting screws.


I cannot tell if the junction box is properly grounded because neutral wires (white wires) are in the way. If you see bare copper wires connected together and one of them is under a screw in the junction box, then it is grounded.
If your switches are not self grounding type, you have to connect a ground wire between metal junction box or ground wire and ground screw (green) on the switch.
It is not that big of a deal for switches, especially if you use plastic wall plates, but still not a proper installation.
If your switches are screwed down tight against head of the screw, then it will still get a good ground without self grounding clip, but this is not always the case, thus self grounding clip or a pig tail to the switch is required.
 
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Old 04-01-18, 02:52 PM
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Per NEC, switches connected to a grounded metal box are not required to be separately grounded. CEC may be different.
 
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