I'm installing a new timer for the bathroom fan which is inside of its own electrical junction box and not attached to the bathroom light switch box. The previous timer did not have a place to connect a ground wire. In the back of this junction box, there are 3 ground wires bound in a wire nut.

Can I use any of these ground wires for the new timer that has a ground wire attach point or do I need to get an extra copper ground wire to tie in with the 3 ground wires in the box to run to the new timer?


Jason H.

  • 4
    It often happens here where someone is installing a smart switch, sees a bundle of neutrals/grounds, needs one, and breaks one out of the bundle and attaches it to the smart switch. Their logic is "they are all spares, awaiting my need". That is incorrect, they are tied together to do an important job. In case of grounds, this miswiring would not reveal itself until someone did ground testing e.g. an inspector. Mar 2, 2018 at 15:57

1 Answer 1


Use a pigtail to tie the screw to the existing bundle

Use a pigtail (short length) of bare or green 12AWG copper wire to connect the timer's ground screw to the existing bundle of grounds, assuming from your description that the timer has a ground screw on it and not a ground lead coming out.

  • Pigtail is electrician lingo for... add another wire to the bundle of existing wires under the wirenut or crimp sleeve and connect it to your device (timer). if a picture is worth a thousand words... here is a video on how to do it. thespruce.com/make-pigtail-wire-connections-1152879 May 12, 2021 at 14:13

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