Is this a non-grounded light fixture? The copper ground is just bundled at the base of the chain and does not weave up the chain to the box like I have seen in pictures on this site. Is this dangerous and do I need to do something about it? I had wanted to just cut it as it looks bad but worried that this is a safety issue.

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  • it could still be grounded from the metal chain, so we can't if say it's ungrounded for sure or not, regardless of the extra wire. Danger? I wouldn't worry; most table lamps are ungrounded and we touch them on-purpose. – dandavis Jan 29 '18 at 20:38

Yes, the fixture is currently not grounded, but it should be. The manufacturer has included a grounding wire because the fixture needs one to be safe and UL compliant.

Assuming there is a ground connection in the ceiling box (either a ground wire or a box grounded through an armored cable), this can be easily fixed. The power is turned off, the bare wire threaded through the chain, the canopy is lowered, and the wire is connected to a ground wire or grounded to the fixture box itself, and the canopy is replaced.

If this is an older home with no ground wiring, it may not be possible to ground the fixture. In that case, you are no safer or more at risk than our parents were before grounding became the standard. In that case, you may still wish to thread the wire up to the box. In that way, if you ever rewire the house or move the fixture to a location with a ground in the box, it is still intact. Just make sure the ground wire does not accidentally touch a live terminal in the box.

Your question sounds as if you have not had much expereince with wiring. If that is the case, you may want to enlist a more knowledgeable friend to help, or call a professional.

  • Your first sentence reads to me as "the fixture is currently ungrounded, but (it) should be (ungrounded)", which I think is the opposite of what you wanted to say. – npostavs Jan 29 '18 at 2:57
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    I think people don't like the look of the bare copper wire winding up through the chain and since it's a separate wire, they figure it's optional -- I've seen more than one installed like that. Manufacturers shouldn't be allowed to use 2 conductor zip cord like that -- they should include the ground in the cord so at least then there's no temptation to omit the ground for aesthetics. – Johnny Jan 29 '18 at 5:26
  • I would thread the ground wire with the cord into the box regardless if the box has a ground or not. I have never been hit on light fixture grounding but cutting one off would be modifying a listed fixture, if someone were to get injured (shocked) from a modified fixture there could be legal issues. – Ed Beal Jan 29 '18 at 14:50
  • @EdBeal While I might thread the wire up, even if not attached , it would be to preserve the ability to use the fixture properly at a later date. Having a fake ground is no more legally defensible than having a cut off wire. – bib Jan 29 '18 at 15:52
  • Not true, lighting fixtures did not require grounds for many years, but modification of the fixture would violate the UL listing, as I noted in my comment I have never been hit on an inspection for a lighting ground. – Ed Beal Jan 29 '18 at 15:58

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