I am replacing the light switch in my old home (1981). I can see that all grounds are at the back bundled together. Do I still have to legally connect the ground to the light switches' ground screw?

PS: The light on the ceiling is properly connected to the ground.

Image attached

1 Answer 1


Yes. Modern code requires switches to be grounded. If you are not using self grounding switches and metal boxes (and you are not), you need to run a wire from the switch ground screw to the bundle. Attaching to the end of any one of those wire will do.

Supplement: While the electrical police are unlikely to come pounding on your door, there is a reason for code. The ground serves as a safety if the switch gets damaged. It prevents the (rare) chance of you flicking a damaged switch and getting a shock. It's worth the trouble. In general, when you do an upgrade or a fix, you bring the device or system up to code if it is possible and reasonable. In this case it is both.

  • Does the legal requirement apply also for old construction? I've seen many houses that do not even have wiring in the walls that has a ground.
    – Michael
    Commented Oct 21, 2018 at 20:50
  • @Michael -- since there's a ground wire there, you have to connect to it. Commented Oct 21, 2018 at 20:58
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    Will it be okay if I pull the ground from spare romex that I have and loop it around the existing bundle and then to the screw? Normally I would use the plastic screw top to merge wires together but since these are already bundled using a copper compression thingy, I wonder what would be the best way to connect the ground to the screw.
    – Michael
    Commented Oct 21, 2018 at 21:31
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    Wrapping is not likely to be sufficient. You need a wire nut or a push in connector or a crimp connector to be sure of a real bond. It looks as if the bundle has ends that could be flared a bit to accommodate. Check the electrical connections aisle of your hardware store for one that would fit. It does not need to be insulated.
    – bib
    Commented Oct 21, 2018 at 21:41
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    Yes, you are totally welcome to unbundle the existing ground pack and use a wire nut on it. Red or green wire nut would be just right. Ideal is a great brand of wire nuts, Gardner Bender is everywhere but is meh. Commented Oct 21, 2018 at 22:01

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