Red, Black and White Wires

vjrntsAugust 14, 2013

Hello, everyone. I sure hope someone can help me!

I am replacing a ca 1980 wall sconce in a 1922 house. I took the old sconce off and it has a white and a black wire, and no ground. The box has a red wire and a white and black pair that have been very firmed attached to each other. Someone put a lot of work into twining those copper ends together. The black wire from the fixture was attached to the red wire in the wall. The white wire from the fixture was attached to the twinned black/white wire in the wall. There is no ground to be seen.

My new fixture has a black, white, and bare wire (for the ground). How should I hook this light up to the box?

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Ron Natalie

The black and white on the new sconce go most likely to where the black and the white were connected from the old sconce. Absent a green or bare wire in the box or some sort of other ground (conduit or armored cable clamped to the box) you have nothing to connect the ground to.

If that is the case, you have three options:

Install it anyway leaving the ground disconnected provided it has no exposed metal on it.

Install it anyway but protect that circuit with a GFCI.

Run a ground wire to some accessible point of the grounding system.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2013 at 2:47PM
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Thanks ronnatale. I got a current tester and the red wire is indeed the hot one. So, I did as you suggest and hooked the red to black, black/white to white. The circuit does have a GFCI and I bent the bare wire so that it is touching the bracket for the light, which is screwed in to the box. I turned the current back on, and it all seems to be working correctly. Thank you for the advice!

    Bookmark   August 14, 2013 at 4:40PM
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