No ground on my chandelier

gniecheApril 5, 2011

Please help,

My girlfriend moved and I took down her antique chandelier. I thought there was a copper grounding cable, but unless it fell off, I think there was only a hot and a neutral (out of lampwire). I've seen other discussion of this topic, I apologize if this is redundant, but its not entirely clear to me what the solution is.

My chandelier is made out of metal, mostly bronze. It connects to the brace in the ceiling with a hollow screw, fairly standard.

I think the chandelier may have been grounded by a grounding screw, to the metal supporting brace. Does this makes sense? My understanding is that I can bend a hook in the end of the bare copper ground in my ceiling and connect this to the grounding screw? I'm a bit uncomfortable with this, I really don't understand how this grounds my chandelier.

The other option I've seen is adding a grounding wire to my chandelier? Which is fine, I can borrow the ground from the chandelier it is replacing. I'm not sure I understand where to attach it however.

I know which of my wires are the hot and neutral, I know my wiring in the ceiling meets code, I'm not worried about it melting, I know my brace will support my chandelier - I believe I have these things covered.

Any help is appreciated, thank you.


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Do you have a ground in the box the chandelier is hanging from?

Touching a chandelier AND something else grounded at the same time is not usually an easy thing to do, so the actual hazard is fairly minimal.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2011 at 11:20AM
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Yes, there is a bare grounding wire in the metal box in the ceiling. I was thinking I could attach this to a grounding screw in the brace I'm hanging the chandelier from - but I don't entirely understand how this grounds the chandelier. It hangs from a bronze chain? Does bronze conduct?

And about not grounding the chandelier. I agree, if this is in my house I wouldn't give it a second thought. But my girl's ex is a contractor, will likely ask questions (they have kids together, I don't blame him), but I VERY much don't want to loose face in front of him...

thank you

    Bookmark   April 5, 2011 at 12:30PM
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You need to run a ground wire from the box down the chain and attach it to a threaded machine screw hole in the body of the fixture if you want to ground the fixture.

If there are not screw fittings attaching the arms they will need a separate wire attached at some point to each arm.

If there is a ground wire in a metal box it should be attached to a screw in the box to ground the box.

The normal method is to pigtail the ground wire coming in and attach one connection to the box grounding screw, and then use a wire nut no attach the fixture ground to another wire from the wire nut.

If the fixture is old it is unlikely to be worth the trouble to bother trying to ground it.

The hazard would be the hot wire in the fixture coming in contact with the metal of the fixture and energizing it.
If you touched the fixture AND a ground you would receive a shock.

It is pretty rare to have a ground near a chandelier in a residential setting.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2011 at 3:39PM
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I second Brick's advice. If the chandelier didn't come with a ground wire, it probably dates to the years before they were required. Just leave it ungrounded. The hazard is fairly small.

If you want to be extra secure, once you have it wired and hung, connect an extension cord to a grounded receptacle. Then touch one lead of a hardware store neon tester to the ground pin hole in the extension cord female end, and the other to the chandlier metal. If you get no glow, you're fine (at least for now).

    Bookmark   April 6, 2011 at 12:22AM
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Thank you, very much appreciated. I'm not sure I understood the following line:

If there are not screw fittings attaching the arms they will need a separate wire attached at some point to each arm.

Please elaborate.


    Bookmark   April 8, 2011 at 7:54AM
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"If there are not screw fittings attaching the arms they will need a separate wire attached at some point to each arm. "

Only screw fittings in tapped holes are allowed as a bonding method for grounding connections.
No self taping screws, no friction fits.

When a grounding connection is required it needs to be 'gas tight' and have long term reliability (as in low impedance).

Non 'gas tight' connections are subject to corrosion and make poor long term low impedance electrical connections.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2011 at 9:21AM
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I am installing a ceiling fan with a transmitter because I don't have the wiring to support a remote. I have one green ground wire, one copper ground wire, one white and one black from my ceiling box. Can I put the bare copper wire on the green grounding screw on my ceiling box? I then can connect the green ceiling ground wire to the green ground wire from the fan motor. I thought about connecting the three ground wires, the two green and the one copper all together in on connector. Not sure what is the correct and safest way to do this. Can anyone suggest how this is done? I can't find a diagram online that has one green and one copper coming out of the ceiling box. Thanking you in advance for any help. All is appreciated.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2013 at 1:27AM
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Ron Natalie

You can connect them all with a suitable sized wire nut (adding a short green or bare wire to connect to the grounding screw on the box).

    Bookmark   September 30, 2013 at 9:09AM
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Thank you for responding. Can I take the bare copper wire and attach it to the grounding screw on the metal ceiling box so I won't have to add an additional wire? Then just connect the ceiling green wire to the fan motor green wire?

    Bookmark   October 1, 2013 at 2:20PM
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