Connecting the ground wire to Residential Light Fixtures

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martinjl

New member
Does anybody have any articles or info out there on why it is important to connect the ground to the Fixture during installation... I work with a guy that simply refuses to hook them up, He said nobody would ever know and that NOBODY in the industry hooks them up. I know hes wrong because I hook them up. I have already explained it is a code violation and that an inspector will fail you if its not done and most importantly it is a Safety concern...His responce is that "No inspector is ever going to check". Can you help me with some info that can maybe change his mind... This really bothers me. (Or am I being over protective.)
 

RICK NAPIER

Senior Member
Location
New Jersey
I had just started doing inspections in this town when I discovered at one developement that the grounds to the fixtures were not connected. I had the electrician correct the situation in the new home I was inspecting then go back to the nearly 20 already sold homes and connect the grounds of the fixtures. It would of been so much easier to do it the first time.
 

roger

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Fl
Occupation
Electrician
Read Part V of article 410, in short the fixture must be grounded no if's, but's, or "nobody would know's" about it.

The guy is simply violating the requirement by cutting corners and being lazy.

Roger
 

hurk27

Senior Member
If for no other reason, by not connecting the ground will open up your company to a possible law suit should someone receive a shock touching a fixture that was required to be grounded, what if a child was killed, how would this person live with that the rest of his life, and to also point out, there have been quit a few electricians sent to prison for dangerous work that has resulted in personal injury or death of another, knowingly doing something against the law that could harm or even kill another person can be a crime.

I think keeping the liability thought in the back in the back of your mind is a great way to keep you doing what is right.
 

kwired

Electron manager
Location
NE Nebraska
Inspectors do check for grounding of equipment. It is easy to do without taking things apart too. All you need is a non-contact voltage tester. Turn the light on and hold the non contact tester near the metal housing if it is grounded the tester will do nothing. If it is not grounded the tester will beep or light up - whatever it is designed to do when sensing voltage. It is not picking up an energized metal component but is picking up capacitively coupled voltage on the non grounded object.

Inspectors around here will even hold tester up to wall switches (without removing plate) and turn switch on. If tester indicates voltage then the yoke on the switch is not grounded.

I have had an incident or two where for some reason it was indicated that something was not grounded but in fact was but it does not happen very easily.

If the light is mounted on a grounded metal box you may get away with it but on a non-metallic box you are truly isolated from the EGC.
 
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Dennis Alwon

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Chapel Hill, NC
Occupation
Electrical Contractor
It depends where you are whether an inspector looks or not but that should have no bearing on whether you should do it correctly or not.

I was in a development where the electricians hooked the orange wire (fed thru wire) from the 120v smoke detectors to the ground wire. This was before they had to be interconnected. You never know what is done in some of these homes.
 
Does anybody have any articles or info out there on why it is important to connect the ground to the Fixture during installation... I work with a guy that simply refuses to hook them up, He said nobody would ever know and that NOBODY in the industry hooks them up. I know hes wrong because I hook them up. I have already explained it is a code violation and that an inspector will fail you if its not done and most importantly it is a Safety concern...His responce is that "No inspector is ever going to check". Can you help me with some info that can maybe change his mind... This really bothers me. (Or am I being over protective.)
The ONLY electrical work that is left to the Owner to perform throughout the life of the house is to replace the lightbulbs. Should he be electrocuted, you can be certain of financial ruin for the installer and possible jail time.
 

John120/240

Senior Member
Location
Olathe, Kansas
Had a "Dingbat" co worker at a previous firm that did not connect the ground

wire on all the fixtures in 15 new homes. What a PITA to correct. Do it right the

first time. GROUND your fixtures!!!
 

haskindm

Senior Member
Location
Maryland
If this person is only concerned with making sure that he covers the things that the inspector will check, he is doomed. You are responsible for installing your work in accordance with the NEC, not in accordance with what the inspector checks. The inspector is there to give everyone (including the electrician) assurance that at least the minimum standards are met. This type of person is a danger to himself, his customers, and his employer.
 

tom baker

First Chief Moderator
Staff member
For your friend:
Code is code
We don't like the rules we don't agree with
Its OK for someone else
But not if it costs us time and money
(From Mike Holt)
If the luminaire was to become energized from a loose hot wire, its a hazard and someone could die or get a shock.
 

mpd

Senior Member
i had a run of contractors who not only were not connecting the EGC but cutting it off at the rivet on the front cover of bathroom fixtures, i always check a random fixture especially those bathroom vanity fixtures, makes no sense other than being lazy, a contractor would not have a leg to stand on if something happened
 

gk351

Senior Member
Location
IL
ok...What if youre replacing a fixture for someone in there outdated home, and there is no ground wire. Besides hooking up that new light and receiving your check, what do you do?
 

OregonSE

Member
Location
Oregon
Does anybody have any articles or info out there on why it is important to connect the ground to the Fixture during installation... I work with a guy that simply refuses to hook them up, He said nobody would ever know and that NOBODY in the industry hooks them up. I know hes wrong because I hook them up. I have already explained it is a code violation and that an inspector will fail you if its not done and most importantly it is a Safety concern...His responce is that "No inspector is ever going to check". Can you help me with some info that can maybe change his mind... This really bothers me. (Or am I being over protective.)
Either he connects them or let your GSE & AHJ know. A nice fine might change his mind.
 

mivey

Senior Member
i agree that technically it is a working solution, but is it acceptable to the nec?
410.42(b)
exception no. 2: Where no equipment grounding conductor exists at the outlet, replacement luminaires that are gfci protected shall not be required to be connected to an equipment grounding conductor.
 

mivey

Senior Member
I was thinking in much broader terms of permanently mounted luminaries. Or are you saying the same would be applicable, eg. you would need to install a GFCI receptacle/protector for a replacement fixture if no ground wire or means of grounding exist nearby?
Yes, if one of the remedies in 250.130(C) were not used.
 
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