Hanging fixture has exposed ground wire - what to do?

marysdottirJune 13, 2010

I hope someone can explain this to me. We recently purchased a new 3 light hanging fixture for our breakfast bar from a local, long established specialty lighting store.

It is dark oil rubbed bronze and looks exactly like this http://www.royallighting.com/search_individual_result.asp?current=160797&page=30

It is heavy and hangs by two chains from a oblong ceiling plate. It was a display item in our lighting store and they had to take it down and package it up for us. As they were doing this, we noticed that there is a long bare copper wire folded up and twisted around the bottom of one of the chains. They did not have it attached to anything. When we enquired, the store employee said it was the ground wire and said they never attach them though she also said she wasn't supposed to say that. We noticed none of the displayed lights with chains in this very large store had attached these wires.

My question is, what do I do with that bare, shiny copper wire? If I run it up the chain alongside the darker, plastic coated electrical wire it will be very, very noticeable against the almost black of the chain and the coated wire.

We have installed the light just as they had it in the store and it works fine with the copper wire all folded up but it's still visible. Can I just cut it off? Can I somehow anchor it to the bottom of the chain or the metal of the fixture at the base of the chain?

We asked again at the store but got the reply of "oh you should run it up the chain to the outlet box but we never do". I don't know what to make of that.

Can anyone help? It has to be safe but why does it come with an exposed wire? Why not cover it or use darker wire or something? This is not a cheap light fixture and it seems like it shouldn't have exposed wires visible.

Here is a link that might be useful: our new light - not from this store

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The gound wire will dissipate any accumulated charge from the main fixture body to ground if it is connected.

You could paint the wire if so desired or leave it folded up unconnected (not so preferable).

    Bookmark   June 13, 2010 at 4:49PM
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You should connect the ground wire after it has been painted.

A third alternative is to see if there is a ground wire within the main supply wire bundle and connect it there.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2010 at 7:50PM
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Thanks you, David. It had never occurred to me that I could paint the wire. Sometimes the simplest ideas are the best and this might be one of those times.

Do you have any idea why a company would sell something that requires this sort of adaptation after purchase, though?

    Bookmark   June 14, 2010 at 2:16AM
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I guess it was never considered in the design.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2010 at 12:24PM
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David, you're probably right. Funny though, you'd think a lighting designer would know that ground wires should be incorporated into the design. Weird!

Thanks again. Do you by any chance have any idea what kind of paint would be good for painting the wire?

    Bookmark   June 14, 2010 at 9:12PM
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