I'm installing a new rocker light switch. When I removed the old light switch I noticed that the ground wire was not connected. I also noticed that the other switch for the fan also does not have the ground wire connected.

Is it required that I connect the ground wire to my new switch?

I have seen other posts that have similar question, but none I saw specifically state if this "required". I'm trying to disitinguish if this a recommendation, optional, or required so I know what to do in my situation.

Here's the full diagram of what I have.

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Ground wire seems to be tied off to itself:

enter image description here

Here is the old switch:

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This is the new switch:

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  • 4
    Quite sure code requires all devices to have a ground connection. That looks like a plastic box so connecting ground to the switches is the only way.
    – crip659
    Commented Oct 29, 2023 at 23:56

1 Answer 1


Since you have a plastic box, an explicit ground wire connection is required. With a metallic box it's generally not, for switches, as they can ground by connection to the metal box, which should be connected to the ground wires.

The old fan switch has a ground connection. It's the green wire that's not connected to anything.

The new switch has a ground connection - it's the green-colored screw in the upper left, same as the old switch.

Those should be connected to (are required to be if you need that spelled out) the incoming ground wires from the cables. The two ground wires from the two cables appear to have been twisted and crimped, so you'll have to cut the crimp off to connect the additional ground wires to the two grounds from the cables by some other means (one of many reasons I hate those stupid crimps, and probably why whoever came before didn't bother to properly ground anything, though it doesn't say much for the inspector that should have failed it.) If I'm being mislead by the picture and it's a wirenut, just remove it, add wires, and use a larger size if the original no longer fits well with more wires.

I think there is an exception for switches with no user-facing conductive parts, but these clearly have metal parts on the user-facing side (at least in part to take advantage of grounding to metallic boxes...)

  • Yes. I needed it spelled out =) Thank you! Two follow ups... 1) Then why isn't the fan switch not connected to the ground (the green wire is just hanging there) or why wasn't the old switch connected to the ground? 2) To connect the ground, do I just uncap it and then connect it to the green screen then cap the unused ground wire (it seems there are two capped together)?
    – ptownbro
    Commented Oct 30, 2023 at 0:10
  • 1
    The two ground wires connected now need to remain connected. One comes from the source, one goes on to ground the next thing. It looks like a crimp from here, so you'll need to cut it off and use a wirenut or Wago leverlock or whatever you like to connect all 4 ground wires together. You could even buy a crimper and some stupid crimp sleeves if you wanted to make it difficult for the next person, like the one who came before here... If it's actually a wirenut you can undo it and add more wires, though in some cases that means you need to use larger wirenut when assembling all 4 wires.
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Oct 30, 2023 at 0:13
  • 1
    As for the fan switch, it just wasn't done correctly and either wasn't inspected or was not properly inspected. Same with the old light switch.
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Oct 30, 2023 at 0:21
  • 3
    Please note, @ptownbro, that the "whatever you like" in the previous comments is "whatever UL approved connector you like", not some electrical tape...
    – FreeMan
    Commented Oct 30, 2023 at 14:00

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