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I bought a ceiling fan and it came equipped with the standard three wires sticking out of the motor. The instructions said the ground wire must be wired to the ground wire of the ceiling wire box. But there is no ceiling wire box, so I bought a fan extension kit to wire up to the fan and plug it into a wall outlet.

The extension, which I bought at Home Depot, was clearly marked "Ceiling Fan Swag Light Kit" but it came with NO ground wire, just the standard two-wire plug. Both the sales assistant and I looked everywhere for a ceiling fan extension kit that had the three wire ground arrangement, but none was available anywhere.

How can this be? How can ceiling fan extension kits be sold without a ground wire, when all ceiling fans, indeed most appliances today, require a ground wire connection? And is it possible to wire up the fan to an ungrounded extension so that the shock hazard is still eliminated?

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  • I'm learning about swag kits. I'd have thought they'd all be grounded, though. – isherwood Sep 21 '17 at 16:02
  • Eddie, does your kit have the required support/mounting box suitable for a fan, or is it simply a pendant light kit with a misleading package label? – isherwood Sep 21 '17 at 16:04
  • Unless you want to make your own cord & plug with a ground wire, I would mitigate the shock hazard by installing a GFCI outlet and call it a day. – CactusCake Sep 21 '17 at 16:10
  • Most non permanent lamps and floor fans, even metal ones, do not have ground wires. One of those wacky things in the law. – cde Sep 21 '17 at 18:14
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    Isherwood: the fan is very securely attached to the ceiling rafter. This wire thing from Home Depot is probably a mislabeled pendant light kit, as you say. So, it's going back and I will make my own three-wire and plug kit, which is not difficult to do. I won't go through the hassle of trying to put in a junction box in the ceiling. Thanks – Eddie Sep 22 '17 at 18:41
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Code doesn't require grounding for the fan because you're not really installing permanently in the structure, you're using it as a removable appliance.

If you want to ground it anyway, buy high quality aesthetically pleasing braided copper grounding wire, and weave it through the chain along with the original cable.

braided copper wire

Connect it normally at the fan box, and at the outlet, either cut the plug off and add a replacement plug, or terminate the ground wire with a spade connector and use the outlet's cover plate screw to secure it in place.

You could improve the situation by replacing the outlet with GFCI or using an inline GFCI protector. Both overkill if you ask me.

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