Took out old fluorescent fixture and putting in new LED one. There are 2 switches for this fixture. Not sure what’s going on with the 3 ground wires. I’m not an electrician so dumb it down please.😊



You made your life a lot easier by keeping your nose out of the junction box, and not messing with that rather important bundle in the back that rather importantly needs to be not messed with (for a skilled person that is the Rosetta Stone for what's happening in this box.)


In electrical, grounds are the easiest. Their color-codes actually mean something and all grounds go together always. Ground color codes are Green, Yellow-Green, or Bare, and are standardized worldwide except the former Soviet Bloc. It's also two-way -- those colors are always ground and ground is always those colors.

All those ground wires should be spliced with any grounds from the lamp. Use a red or tan (i.e. large) wire nut.

I also see a green screw on the fan junction box; get about 9" of bare #12 ground wire from a local hardware store (one that sells it by the foot) and wrap one end around the screw (clockwise) then tighten. Add that wire to the aforementioned bundle of grounds.

Neutral is not ground. This "grounds always together/always that color" does not apply to neutrals. Sometimes separate groups of neutral must remain separated, and white wires aren't always neutral.

Rest of the wires

The two groups of wires dangling down are the ones you want to hook your new light to.

The light's black wire(s) go to the solo black. A yellow wire nut will be perfect.

The light's white wire(s) go to the two white wires, which must also stay together. A yellow wire-nut will be fine unless there are several bulky wires from the fixture, in which case use a red/tan.

  • "get about 9" of bare #12 ground wire from a local hardware store" Alternatively, snip the 2 shorter ground wires, leaving them long enough to twist all 3 together. Take one of the snipped pieces and twist the 4 of them together. The long one can then go to the box ground screw and the other can go to the fixture ground screw. – FreeMan Apr 1 at 18:15
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    Thanks - you answered my questions completely! – Franny Apr 1 at 19:17
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    @FreeMan those wires are getting mighty short though. They have to extend 3" beyond the ceiling surface, and the short one is barely legal now. Extra length is your friend for maneuvering and when a wirenut or stab-splice chews up the end of your wire. – Harper Apr 1 at 19:21
  • @Harper I didn't know about the 3" past the surface requirement. I usually buy deep boxes because I never seem to have enough room (even with very simple wiring), so I tend to cut the wires shorter. I'll keep that firmly in mind in the future. Thanks! – FreeMan Apr 1 at 19:48
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    @FreeMan It's also 6" past the end of the cable sheath, though I'm not sure whether it's both rules, or one or the other. You know about the cubic inch rules, right? 2 c.i. Per #14, 2.25 c.i. Per #12, all grounds count as one, all that... Usually I hit statutory cubic inch limits before actual box-cram becomes an issue. – Harper Apr 1 at 20:44

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