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I am wiring a new ceiling fan and noticed there is no ground wire unless the two twisted copper wires are the ground. Does the green connect to the fan itself by attaching it to the black screw on the yoke? If not, I have no idea what to do next. Here is a photo.

Thanks for any help.

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The two twisted copper bare wires are the ground. You can take the green wire, strip some more insulation off it, and connect it to them with a wire nut. Enjoy your new fan. Yes, the fan becomes grounded by attaching it to the mounting bracket.

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    Thank you, Jack. – Russ Oct 5 at 17:43
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Is this junction box actually rated for ceiling fans? You can't put a fan on a regular plain ole junction box, because it is simply not made for the rather high dynamic forces of the fan moving. The box will tear out of the ceiling, or metal fatigue will make the box itself fail.

As far as the wires in there, I'd expect to see a group of blacks (with possibly one white) spliced together. Maybe it's that bundle of copper wires twisted together (I hope not) or maybe it's that boogersnot mess of electrical tape in front center. That should be replaced by a competent splice.

If the black wires (and possibly one white) are indeed the boogersnot splice, that would mean the bare wires are the grounds. As we see it, that is not a proper splice. That would need to be capped with a wire nut at the very least, and while you're doing that, you might as well add a pigtail so you can splice to the ground wire from the fan.

The other issue I see in this box is that Code requires all wires be long enough to come out 3" beyond the surface of the wall. (Or 6" from the cable clamp). These ground wires look way too short, unless they've been looped around back there. Looks like someone got clever with a wire nipper. First rule of wiring is "don't get clever with a wire nipper".

  • Thanks Harper for the thoughts. When we first moved into the house, there was a ceiling fan there. We replaced it with a light and now a new fan. The light was grounded from the light to the mounting bracket. I could not remember how the old fan was grounded. Being a DIYer, I thought I would ask before moving forward. – Russ Oct 5 at 19:15

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