Ground A Two Wire Light Switch

Grounding a light switch is necessary for a safe system.

Switches control the flow of electricity by providing a mechanical method for the disconnection of a circuit. These simple devices can work flawlessly for decades. The electrical system’s ground is its backup safety system. If that electricity gets somewhere it should not be, this wire provides a safe path to the ground. It is also allows breakers to trip and fuses to blow, which shut off the flow of electricity in an emergency situation. Does this Spark an idea?


Ground Your Switch

1. Turn off the electricity to the circuit you are working on at the home’s distribution panel. Trip the breaker or remove the fuse which provides power for that system.

2. Confirm there is no power at the switch you are wiring with the non-contact voltage tester. Turn on the tester with its button on the side (it will light up or make an audible sound to confirm activation). Then touch the tip of the tester to the insulated cover of the black, white and ground wires. If the tester illuminates or beeps there is power at the wire and you need to return to the panel to find the correct fuse.

3. Fasten the ground wire to the ground connection on the back of the light switch. The ground wire is either a bare or green wire. The ground connection is typically marked. The connection is made by loosening the terminal screw, wrapping the ground wire around the screw in a half circle; then tightening it again.

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4. Alternatively, connect the ground wire to the inside of the electrical box for the switch. There is a grounding screw at the side or the back of the inside of the box. Loosen the screw and fasten the ground in the same method as before. Both methods are acceptable ways to ground a switch.