It’s not uncommon to find no place for connecting your ground wire. This is why you need to be aware of the basics and right spots.
Because if you don’t, you may risk yourself to the dangers of electrical overloads. And I understand how confusing that may be.
So you’re thinking if there’s no place to connect ground wire?
Check if your switch, fixture, metal, or plastic box has its own ground wires and if not, you may need a grounding nut. You can splice device wires together in a pigtail or connect them to the ground wire of your circuit box. If there’s no connection point, you might need to make a new connection using an external cable.
But that’s not all. If you’ve got a few minutes for details, dive into my article to know more!
What Is Ground Wire?
Ground wires are attached to most electrical systems. Its purpose is to prevent sparks or damages caused by electric overload and damaged circuits. It safely carries that excess electricity into the earth.
And, I highly suggested you ground your electrical supplies. Not only wires, but your supplies can also be hard to plug. So, save yourself from getting sparked.
According to the National Electric Code, an uninsulated ground wire should be bare-wired. And if insulated, it should be colored green, or green with yellow insulation.
As I mentioned before, there’s always a spot for ground wire in every electrical system. After the ground wire is connected, it is taken to a safe place for excess energy dispersion.
Wondering how that happens? Well, the wire actually is taken into the earth. Hence, it’s called “ground” wire! Okay, let’s get to the point.
Firstly, ground wires from both domestic and commercial services are taken to a central spot. This spot usually is near a circuit box. Next, a grounding rod connects to it. This rod will take the electricity into the ground. So, a safe exit for excess electricity.
It is important to know about two other wires-
Current from the power source travels to the outlet through hot wire. It is considered the ‘power feed’ of a circuit.
This wire is the return path for the hot wire. This wire is also connected to the earth. They are usually gray or white wires.
Now you might be confused. If neutral wire connects to the earth too, why would you need a ground wire? Well, I’ll explain.
Neutral wires are a return path for the current. Whereas, the ground wire provides a path for the current, but to earth. It is also considered the ‘3rd wire’.
Places To Connect Ground Wire And How
Whatever method you choose, an unbroken path to earth is needed from the ground circuit. Make sure you include all your supplies. Even your electric shower.
If you are having doubts about your outlets being connected, a receptacle analyzer will help.
If you’re confused, we’ve suggested 2 analyzers below-
Now, I’m about to tell you what you came for. I’ll take you through the “how-to’s of installing grounding in outlets, fixtures, and switches.
Grounding In Metal Box
The most popular method which is considered the most secure is the ‘pigtail method’. This method includes grounding both the metal box and receptacle.
You have to splice the ground wires together. Then, you have to attach that pigtail to the box and receptacle.
Having a grounding wire nut will help with the pigtail installation process. The grounding wire nut should have a hole in it.
You can also use another method. Clamp the ground wire to the box with a grounding clip.
If your house happens to have armored cable, then usually it won’t have any ground wire. In that case, the cable connector will join with the metal sheathing. And it will connect with the metal box to give a ground path.
Grounding In Plastic Box
Plastic boxes can’t be grounded like others. But it is still important to bring it to an enclosure with switches and receptacles.
Firstly, connect the bare wire directly to a green screw. Connecting pigtail to equipment grounding conductors if another cable leaves the box to feed downstream devices.
Do this to both cables then attach them to the grounding screw. The pigtail ensures the continuation of grounding, even if the device is removed.
Grounding In Switches
Run a two-wire conductor for the switch you want to ground. Make sure that switch has a 3rd grounding wire. This wire can be a bare copper wire.
The additional grounding wire needs to be grounded at the main box. Then, with a small screw, it needs to be attached to the switch box.
If your existing switch doesn’t have a ground screw, replace it with one that has. Then, apply the process I mentioned above.
Grounding In Fixtures
In most houses, old ceiling fixtures are not grounded. In short, you have to connect its stranded wire to the strap of a metal box. Or a ground wire.
I’ll still explain in detail:
Find the green ground screw. You may find this in the light fixture or on a mounting bracket for hanging the fixture.
This green wire is the light fixture’s ground wire. Not a white wire. And if it is there, there won’t be any ground screw.
Now, find the ground wire of your home’s electric box. Here, the ground wire is green. Or it may be a bare copper wire too.
If the ground wire is wrapped in green insulation, you need to remove half an inch of the insulation off from the tip.
Form a ‘screw loop’ at the tip. To do so, grip the tip of the wire with a needle nose plier.
Make a hook by twisting the pliers at the tip, making a shape like “J”.
Now, hook the screw loop with the ground screw of your light fixture. Tighten the screw for holding its position.
If there’s green insulation/green ground wire, you have to connect the ground wire of the electric box with it using a wire nut.
To do so, insert both wires from the tip into the wire nut. Then, turn the wire nut in a clockwise direction until it becomes tight.
Lastly, follow your manufacturer’s instructions for finishing the mounting process of your light fixture.
When There’s Nothing For Attaching Ground Wire
This is a special case. In this situation, place a wire connector over the end. Coil your ground wire and push it into the electric junction box.
Here’s a warning though. Don’t ever cut the ground wire!
- Use equipment grounding conductors in all circuits. Make sure it is equal to the phase of conductors for reducing circuit impedance.
- Use isolated grounding systems for clean signal references.
- Measure resistance of grounding electrode system. Use a ground resistance meter. Typically, it should not be more than 20 Ohms.
- Place multiple ground rods apart at a distance of twice its length.
Question: Are ground wires and earth wires the same?
Answer: Yes, they are.
Question: Is ground wire involved in the circuit?
Answer: No, it is not involved.
Question: Can you connect the hot wire to the ground wire?
Answer: Absolutely not. It would blow the fuse unless wires start melting.
You’ve finally made it to the end! I hope I was able to help you with your ground wire.
Just a reminder, ground wires shouldn’t have electricity running unless there’s a problem. So make sure you follow every electrical safety standard to avoid electrocution possibilities.
If you have any more queries, leave them in the comments below. I will highly appreciate any feedback.
Until then, happy wiring!