Exposed Wiring in Light Switch

Reply

  #1  
Old 09-01-15, 02:45 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: United States
Posts: 5
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Exposed Wiring in Light Switch

Hey all. First off I'm no electrician but I do have some basic wiring knowledge. I was going to put a dimmer switch in my room today (house is ~20 years old) but when I opened up the light switch box I found this:

Name:  photo (1).jpg
Views: 1103
Size:  27.9 KB

It's a pretty big chunk of exposed copper wire. It appears to be going to both the power and the light. It's also spliced into the light wire. Is this safe and/or normal? That much exposed hot wire seems really unsafe to me.

If it is safe, can I just remove the wires from the old switch and attached them to the new one as seen here:

Name:  photo.jpg
Views: 965
Size:  29.9 KB
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 09-01-15, 03:00 PM
ray2047's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 33,597
Received 13 Votes on 11 Posts
Isn't that the ground wire? Ground wires are bare.
It's also spliced into the light wire. Is this safe and/or normal?
Do you mean cable not wire. (A cable is two or more conductors in a metallic or non-metallic sheath). All ground should be connected together. Can you post a better picture?
 
  #3  
Old 09-01-15, 03:53 PM
Norm201's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: United States
Posts: 7,277
Received 59 Votes on 57 Posts
Agree with Ray. You should have a black, white and bear copper wire. The bear copper should be connected to the light box or frame. It should not be mixed with the black. If so it would short out.
 
  #4  
Old 09-01-15, 04:09 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: United States
Posts: 5
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Ok thanks for the responses. Upon closer inspection the bare wire was not connected to any other wire. The original light switch didn't have a ground wire so I assume the extra piece of ground was left in case a grounded switch was to be installed. I connected my new switch's ground to the bare wire, one black to power and one black to the light and it works fine now.
 
  #5  
Old 09-01-15, 05:47 PM
ray2047's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 33,597
Received 13 Votes on 11 Posts
Good job but I don't see a wire nut on the ground wires. Am I wrong?

Name:  photo (1).jpg
Views: 712
Size:  31.1 KB
 
  #6  
Old 09-01-15, 06:28 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: United States
Posts: 5
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
There isn't a wire nut on that portion of the ground wires but the 4 wires are wrapped around each other like 30 times so I don't think they are going anywhere. I put a wire nut on my switch's ground + the single ground wire (which terminated right by the yellow wire nut in the picture).
 
  #7  
Old 09-01-15, 07:16 PM
ray2047's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 33,597
Received 13 Votes on 11 Posts
wrapped around each other like 30 times
Doesn't matter. They must have a wire nut.

Name:  Green_Wire_Nut.jpg
Views: 924
Size:  7.9 KB
 
  #8  
Old 09-01-15, 07:34 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: United States
Posts: 5
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
They must have a wire nut.
Why must they have a wire nut? Code?
 
  #9  
Old 09-01-15, 08:05 PM
ray2047's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 33,597
Received 13 Votes on 11 Posts
Yes and to provide an acceptable mechanical and electrical connection.
 
  #10  
Old 09-01-15, 09:21 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: United States
Posts: 5
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Hmm alright, well I'm in a rental and I can only guess every light switch was done the same way... Thanks for the information.
 
  #11  
Old 09-01-15, 10:13 PM
ray2047's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 33,597
Received 13 Votes on 11 Posts
Hmm alright, well I'm in a rental and I can only guess every light switch was done the same way
You should never do any electrical work in a rental. The liability is to great and in some areas it is a violation of local law.
 
  #12  
Old 09-02-15, 04:18 AM
Member
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 3,499
Received 15 Votes on 15 Posts
Long long time ago (at least before 1986) just twisting the ground wires (equipment grounding conductors) together was commonly done. Nowadays that is not good enough; wire nuts are needed.

If exactly one of the incoming ground wires is somewhat longer than the others and there is need for an extra jumper (pigtail) say to reach the back of a metal box, then the green wire nuts with a hole in the small end, pictured above, would be quite useful.
 
Reply

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: