enter image description hereWeekend-warrior DIYer here. I'm replacing a light fixture. The electrical box doesn't have a grounding wire coming out from it, so I was going to go the green-screw-to-green-screw route. However, the grounding wire attached to the mounting strap on the previous fixture was not actually attached to anything on the other end.

I think it was left that way because there is no area on the box to attach a screw to. In other words, there are no other holes besides the two to attach the strap.

How can I fix this? I'm assuming I couldn't just tape the screw/wire to the metal box so that it's touching metal?! TY!

  • I am not clear where your'e referring to the electrical box in the ceiling and the wires in that box, and the fixture's housing and the wires on the fixture. You might want to edit your question so it's a little clearer - and a good picture is always worth a thousand words. Oct 23, 2018 at 17:06
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    Thank you! Electrical box in the ceiling: has two wires coming from it (black and white), no ground wire. I know this is common in older houses, and the fix is to attach the lighting fixture's grounding wire to a green screw, and screw that into the electrical box in the ceiling. My problem is that I don't see any place in said electrical box to screw the screw into. Am trying to figure out how to attach photo... Oct 23, 2018 at 17:25
  • The threaded hole for a 10-32 ground screw is typically a smidge smaller than the other holes. You can also drill and tap it yourself, if you're into that sort of thing. I for one do not stock a 10-32 tap, but the tap and T-handle is probably $7-ish. I have a 10-24 tap, but that is not legal because the threads are too coarse and there won't be enough threads in good metal. Oct 23, 2018 at 20:28

1 Answer 1


There are two simple ways to connect a ground screw to the box, a screw or a grounding clip.

ground screw ground clip

If there's no threaded hole for a ground screw, a clip is the easy way to go, rather than drilling and tapping the box.

However, without a ground wire, the box itself may not be grounded, so understand that clipping the ground wire to the box might not do anything.

I can't quite tell how the wires are fed into the box. It's possible that the box is fed by an armored cable and the armor is an effective ground. It's also possible that the ground wire is attached to the strain relief fitting that secures the cable jacket to the box - that's an old method I come across from time to time. But it's possible the box is just not grounded.

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    Check resistance between neutral and the metal box. If it is a few ohms then your box is grounded (or alternatively your box is connected to neutral, but that is unlikely) and a screw or clip will work fine. If it shows very high resistance (or likely no connection at all) then the box is not currently grounded. Oct 23, 2018 at 17:55

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