Up front, my question is...how do I most easily and safely check to see if my ceiling fan is grounded?

Now for the explanation. I recently installed 2 identical ceiling fans about a day apart in my two spare bedrooms. Both had fans in them previously; I'm sure they are properly secured in the ceiling. The question arose from when I was installing the second fan. Barely looking at the directions, I came to the part where it was time to properly ground the fan.

As I was pigtailing the two green wires and the bare copper ground together, I had an "uh-oh" moment where I don't remember doing this for the first fan. I feel like I only pigtailed the two green-sheathed wires together and the bare copper is up there unattached somewhere. I may have done this, but I don't remember.

I've already tested them both to see if they work, no problem there. I know touching any metal part of the fan would give me the answer (wink-wink), but I of course don't want to risk being wrong. Is there any easy and SAFE way to determine if it is grounded, or alternately could someone tell me the most efficient way to disassemble the fan the least to accomplish this?

I really do feel like I probably did it right, following the directions religiously the first time. It was just a weird feeling during the installation of the second fan to have that uh-oh moment. I just want the easiest route to being assured.

I thank you for your responses.

  • 1
    Can you post a photo of the innards of the first fan's box? Mar 12, 2017 at 2:37
  • 3
    I think the idea is to not have to open things up again.
    – isherwood
    Mar 12, 2017 at 3:27
  • 2
    “I know touching any metal part of the fan would give me the answer” — This is incorrect and a dangerous assumption. An ungrounded case will only shock you if there is also a short from hot to the case.
    – Kevin Reid
    Mar 12, 2017 at 23:05

4 Answers 4


Do you have a multi-meter and an extension cord? If you do plug the cord into any outlet then drag it over to the fan and measure between the fan case and a ground pin on the cord... It should read close to 0 resistance.

  • 2
    The metal contact in the ground hole of an extension cord is designed so that a 3-prong plug makes reliable contact, but a voltmeter probe does not. One has to wobble the probe around in the gnd hole to make contact. I have not seem an adapter with a 3-prong plug on one end and small holes to receive multimeter probes on the other end. I bet it would sell. Mar 12, 2017 at 13:06
  • 2
    Test voltage first (should be around 0V), while most multimeters survive high voltage on the resistance setting, some do not and may either fail violently or give fake results
    – Ferrybig
    Mar 12, 2017 at 13:26

It's a fairly simple thing to check continuity if you have a multi-meter available. You might need a length of wire to reach a nearby outlet's ground connection (the bottom/centered hole in a standard U.S outlet). Really, you could just drop the shroud and have a peek. You shouldn't need to drop the entire fan if it's mounted like most modern units are.

Related: Is it okay to have an ungrounded light fixture?

  • 1
    Indeed, just unscrew the screws securing the main shroud cover thing and pull it down a bit. You should be able to at least see the wires, albeit very confined. If you do need to make the connection, you may want to remove the blades first.
    – mmathis
    Mar 12, 2017 at 6:18
  • I left the five blades in place when I redid the wire nut connections on my previously installed Hunter fan with remote/receiver. I would try to inspect the ground without removing blades. Mar 12, 2017 at 15:13

Does it have an integrated light? If so, pull a bulb and use a meter to check the voltage (turn on the light) by placing one lead on the center pole of the light bulb socket and another lead a metal part of the fan housing - somewhere it isn't painted. Try to put it on a screw.If you get 110VAC (and you wired the fan correctly), you are grounded.


Thank you everyone for your input. I think the easiest solution was the multi-meter one, but I don't have one of those. I went with removing the shroud and visually inspecting the wiring. Although the blades were tough to work around, I would say this was a pretty easy solution; it took under a half hour start to finish. By the way, I indeed did not attach the bare copper wire to the green sheathed ones. I had left it attached to the green screw in the outlet box. Thank again!

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