Help with Light and Fan Wiring

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Old 09-25-12, 09:33 PM
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Help with Light and Fan Wiring

I was installing some new vanity lights in my bathroom and came across some interesting (to me, anyway) wiring, thought I'd check what you guys think before I proceed.





The light part makes sense to me, until the ground at the switch end. I guess since the ceiling fan needs a neutral (white), they decided to jump on the ground (green/copper) from the light. I'm not an electrician so this concerns me...I would like to have the ground going to the grounding screw on the switch, but have no way to complete the circuit for the ceiling fan independent of the ground for the lights. I feel like I need one more wire coming in to the switch (12/3?) to do this properly, or have power running to the ceiling fan itself.


Obviously it's been run like this for years without issue, but what are the implications of have the circuit this way? Should I be concerned? I know neutral and ground will meet back at the box, but joining them here worries me.


Thanks in advance!

Edit:
Just want to note that for the time being I have disconnected the wiring to the fan inside the switch box, and attached the copper ground to the ground lug on the switch for the lights. I guess at this point I'm looking to see what the best solution would be for wiring up the ceiling fan correctly.
 

Last edited by mpatton; 09-26-12 at 12:14 AM.
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Old 09-25-12, 10:30 PM
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The ground can never be used as a neutral. Against code and dangerous because you are energizing a wire that should never carry current except in case of a fault. If someone were to touch an appliance whose shell is grounded (very common) and another ground such as a metal sink they could receive a very bad or even fatal shock. The connection should be removed immediately or the breaker to the circuit turned off till you can run a 3-conductor cable.

I know neutral and ground will meet back at the box,
And that is the only place they should ever be together assuming it is the first panel. If it is a subpanel they should not even be connected there.
 
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Old 09-26-12, 12:04 PM
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I feel like I need one more wire coming in to the switch (12/3?) to do this properly, or have power running to the ceiling fan itself.
Exactly so. Are the two switches in the same box, and can you run a new 3-conductor cable between the light and the switch box? Or a new 2-conductor cable between the light box and the fan box?
 
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