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Electrical Wire and Cable

About Light Fixtures and No Ground Wire

How can I wire switches and light fixtures when there is no ground wire? How to Install a Light Fixture without a Ground Wire.

What To Do When You Don’t Have a Ground Wire
Electrical Question #1 How can I wire switches and light fixtures when there is no ground wire?

This electrical wiring question came from: Karen, a Homeowner from Rockford, Illinois.

Electrical Question #2

This electrical wiring question came from Eric, in West Virginia.

Electrical Question #3

This electrical wiring question came from Enrique, a Homeowner in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your electrical wiring questions.

How to Install a Light Switches and Fixtures without a Ground Wire

Application: Wiring Switches and Light Fixtures.
Skill Level: Beginner to Intermediate – Best performed by a Licensed Electrician.
Tools Required: Basic Electricians Pouch Hand Tools, a non-aluminum ladder and Voltage Tester.
Estimated Time: Depends on personal level experience, ability to work with tools and access to the light fixture(s).
Precaution: Identify the light circuit, turn it OFF and  Tag it with a Note before working with the wiring.

Light Fixtures and the Ground Wire

More about Grounds and Light Fixtures

Electrical Grounding
Electrical Grounding Methods and Requirements
Electrical Grounding Methods and Requirements
Listing of electrical codes for grounding with examples of electrical grounding codes for home electrical wiring.

Lighting For The Home
Electrical outlet wiring
Wiring Electrical Outlet for the Home
Home electrical wiring includes 110 volt outlets and 220 volt outlets and receptacles which are common place in every home. See how wiring electrical outlets for the home are done.

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Basic Home Wiring Diagrams with Pictures

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Here's How to Do It:
Wire It Right with the help of my Illustrated Wiring Book

Great for any Home Wiring Project.

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Complete Guide to Home Electrical Wiring

Perfect for Homeowners, Students,
Handyman, Handywomen, and Electricians
Wiring GFCI Outlets
Wiring Home Electric Circuits
120 Volt and 240 Volt Outlet Circuits
Wiring Light Switches
Wiring 3-Wire and 4-Wire Electric Range
Wiring 3-Wire and 4-Wire Dryer Cord and Dryer Outlet
How to Troubleshoot and Repair Electrical Wiring
Wiring Methods for Upgrading Electrical Wiring
NEC Codes for Home Electrical Wiring
....and much more.

Be Careful and Be Safe - Never Work on Energized Circuits!
Consult your Local Building Department about Permits and Inspections for all Electric Wiring Projects.

Electrical Tips to Help You Wire it Right

The Safest Way to Test Electrical Devices and Identify Electric Wires!

The Non-Contact Electrical Tester
This is a testing tool that I have had in my personal electrical tool pouch for years, and is the first test tool I grab to help identify electrical wiring. It is a Non-contact tester that I use to easily Detect Voltage in Cables, Cords, Circuit Breakers, Lighting Fixtures, Switches, Outlets and Wires. Simply insert the end of the tester into an outlet, lamp socket, or hold the end of the tester against the wire you wish to test. Very handy and easy to use.

The Quickest Way to Check for Faulty Electrical Wiring!

The Plug-In Outlet Tester
This is the first tool I grab to troubleshoot a problem with outlet circuit wiring. This popular tester is also used by most inspectors to test for power and check the polarity of circuit wiring.
It detects probable improper wiring conditions in standard 110-125 VAC outlets Provides 6 probable wiring conditions that are quick and easy to read for ultimate efficiency Lights indicate if wiring is correct and indicator light chart is included Tests standard 3-wire outlets UL Listed Light indicates if wiring is incorrect Very handy and easy to use.

Strip Off Wire Insulation without Nicking and Damaging the Electric Wire!

The Wire Stripper and Wire Cutter
My absolute favorite wire stripping tool that I have had in my personal electrical tool pouch for years, and this is the tool I use to safely strip electrical wires.
This handy tool has multiple uses:
The wire gauges are shown on the side of the tool so you know which slot to use for stripping insulation.
The end of the tool can be used to grip and bend wire which is handy for attaching wire onto the screw terminals of switches and outlets..

The wire stripper will work on both solid and stranded wire. This tool is Very Handy and Easy to Use.

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FAQs Frequently Asked Questions and Comments

6 Responses to “About Light Fixtures and No Ground Wire”
  1. Scott Brown says:

    I just bought a motion sensing flood light, The new light doesn’t have a ground wire but the outside light at door has a ground wire that was attached to the old light that came on the single wide. Is this OK or should I somehow fix this?

    • Dave Rongey says:

      Hi Scott, the following should assist you:

      The Light Fixture:
      If the new motion sensing flood light is non-metal, or all plastic then the housing of the fixture will not have any metal portion to bind the ground wire to, however most all light fixtures do have a ground wire.

      The Light Box:
      I would make sure the light box that the fixture is being wired to is grounded, and if the box is metal the ground wire should be attached to the box. If the light box is not metal then the ground wire should be bonded to one of the fixture mounting screws.

      The Circuit Wiring:
      If the wiring to the new light does not have a ground wire then one should be provided from the power source using an approved cable.

      I hope this helps, I believe I covered all scenarios of your installation and concern.

      Be Safe,

  2. Chris says:

    I Bought a light fixture that does not have a ground wire! The house has a ground wire. The light fixture is new but did not have instructions in box.

    • Bill Kirk says:

      We have a vintage chandelier with no ground wire. In fact, both wires are in clear wiring sheaths, no black or white wire. The ceiling wiring box has a ground wire. My question is what to do with the ground wire in the ceiling wiring box and is there an electrical/fire hazard if the light fixture itself is not grounded into the ceiling wiring box?

  3. Michael says:


    I just installed 7 recessed lights in series using BX cable, do I have to attach the green ground wire in each fixture box to the box itself with a grounding screw?

    Thanks alot in advance for your response.


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