I live in a home built in 2006 in Delaware. There are a mixture of plastic and metal boxes for light fixtures throughout the house. I am in the process of replacing builder grade lights with better finishes.

Every single box I come to the ground wire for the fixture has been snipped to the base, and the ground wire from the cable is either curled up in the box or snipped back to the sheath cut. The metal boxes have ground screws with nothing attached to them, Is there a reason for this or is it just bad work / laziness? It literally takes 30 seconds to connect the two wires much shorter time than tucking and trimming them in my opinion.

I am by no means an electrician, just looking for some education on this subject. I only ask because the plumbing work done here was also shoddy, missing putty, unglued joints, overflow on tub not connected... a real winner lol. Thanks in advance!

  • You're wrong about the time it takes to make a connection vs. clipping the wire off, but you're right that the metal boxes should be grounded properly, along with any fixtures. I'll let one of the sparkies around here give a proper answer as to action needed. – isherwood Sep 11 at 16:04
  • I agree that the time require to connect the ground wire is relatively minimal. Sparkys will come and help soon – Ack Sep 11 at 16:20

You hit it with lazy. Code requires metal fixtures to be grounded so not doing this is both lazy and a code violation. I don’t understand why some snip unused grounds for plastic fixtures possibly lazy again because it is faster to snip than tuck it back in the box. I always tuck them in the box if not used but I have found many that snip.

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    Thanks Ed, I have gone ahead and connected the braided ground from the fixtures to the romex ground. Knowing that my grounds are actually grounded gives me some comfort. – stainedrug Sep 11 at 16:17
  • That is a good idea safety is a good thing! – Ed Beal Sep 11 at 16:20

When making repairs in old houses with two prong receptacles and no equipment ground, it's not unusual to use new cable and clip the grounds as short as possible at both ends. I have done it myself, the idea is you don't want someone to see that ground wire, assume it's good, and install a three prong receptacle.

If someone saw that done without understanding the reasoning, they might get confused and think it's OK or standard procedure, and do it in new wiring. I can't tell you how that could happen in a house built and presumably inspected in 2006. I'd be wondering what else is wrong...

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  • Makes sense, I actually drove a new ground because the existing earth ground was showing 10v, knowing the shortcuts around here I can safely assume the ground rod is cut in half.. – stainedrug Sep 11 at 16:22
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    Did driving a second rod resolve the voltage issue? Ten volts between the ground rod and what second point? – batsplatsterson Sep 11 at 16:38
  • @stainedrug 10V between ground and what?? I would hope you would have something more like 120V between ground and hot and 0V between ground and anything that should be grounded. If you do, in fact, have a non-ground potential on a ground wire, that's not good... – reirab Sep 12 at 1:55

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