I am trying to install a Lutron Maestro Fan/Light dimmer, but I’m not sure what to do with the ground wire on the switch. The old fan/light dimmer switch does not have a ground wire. The switch box has three romex wires coming in. The power for the light and fan are both clear to see, but I have three ground wires that are tied together with a green wire cap and pig tailed into three neutrals that are capped. Should I tie the ground wire for my new switch into the pig tail of the ground, which is tied into the three neutrals or just cap the ground wire on the new switch.enter image description here

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    The ground should not be connected to the neutral - just connect the ground to the switch/dimmer.
    – red_menace
    Aug 20, 2021 at 2:42

1 Answer 1


Grounds should NEVER be connected to neutrals, except once, at the main panel. This should be separated. Then there will be two possible outcomes: (1) everything works fine (or) (2) things stop working. What this means is that somewhere, a neutral back to the panel is broken and someone hacked it to work by bootlegging the ground as neutral.

I suspect the latter and you will probably need a professional electrician to straighten it out. Under no condition should you leave the bootleg connection for long. The issue is that there are conditions where the bootleg could energize the grounds connected to various devices, producing a hazardous condition, possibly death by electrocution!

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    Yeah, this is a Bad Thing™! Separate the ground from the neutrals immediately if not sooner. If half your house stops working, well, that's safer and less of a bad thing than what this is causing.
    – FreeMan
    Aug 20, 2021 at 12:42
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    Honestly, I suspect that the last person to install a switch didn't know what to do with that ground pigtail and instead of leaving it loose, they thought tying it to the neutral would be a good idea. Separate them as suggested, but I would be surprised if anything went wrong.
    – JPhi1618
    Aug 20, 2021 at 16:14
  • Thanks…if a neutral going back to the panel is broken what’s involved in diagnosis/repairing this bootleg connection…should I expect them to cut into drywall?
    – Leroy
    Aug 24, 2021 at 1:28
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    @Leroy It is hard to say. If you are lucky, the problem is in a previous box, maybe a connection to another switch gone bad or a wire pulled out of a wirenut. Cables in walls rarely just go bad by themselves. However, if someone ran a nail through the cable and then pulled it out, that could break a wire. (Cables going though a stud very shallow should be protected with a metal plate but that might be missing or someone may have used an extra long nail. If a cable must be replaced, they may be able to fish a new cable in and abandon the old one. It might instead required cutting drywall.
    – DoxyLover
    Aug 24, 2021 at 6:41

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