I just took down my light fixture in my bathroom. We have two fixtures for our dual vanity that run off of the same wall switch. When I pulled down the old fixture I noticed that there were two black wires capped with the single black fixture cable. Then there were two whites capped with the single white fixture cable. This made sense because the second cable runs the second fixture. My concern is that the 2 copper exposed wires were previously wired together with the white wires, not capped separately. Is this correct or should I separate the bundle of wires and cap white with white and exposed with exposed?

The breaker that this is connected to has tripped a few times over the years and I am wondering if this may be the reason?

  • Do you have a multimeter? – ThreePhaseEel Jun 14 '20 at 11:59
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    Hello, and welcome to Home Improvement. Would you add a picture of the inside of the box? And, you should probably take our tour so you'll know you'll know the details of contributing here. – Daniel Griscom Jun 14 '20 at 12:47
  • I’m going to make a guess. When you separate them, the light will stop working. In this case, the neutral (white) wire failed somewhere and the someone “fixed” it by bootlegging the ground to act as neutral. This is potentially dangerous and you should not just “put it back”. – DoxyLover Jun 14 '20 at 13:39

The ground wires should not be with the white neutral, some folks see them on the same buss in the main panel and think it is ok to do it other places it is not.

I turn the power off and separate the grounds from the neutrals. Some fixtures do not have ground wires because they are made of plastic or nonconducting materials The grounds should be attached to the metal framework of the fixture or box.

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