I have a chain hung luminaire light fixture in bathroom. I am replacing light fixture and the ground wire is preventing me from removing it. Cut it?

I have heard different things to remedy the situation. One is to cut the ground wire and other is to remove the ground wire from the electric box by removing the screw holding it in. My new fixture does have a ground wire so I was told that I could connect the ground wire of new fixture to the crossbar or mounting hardware with the screw. If someone could please tell me the best way to proceed. The ground wire there now is very long since the chain was long also.

showing the ground wire and the other 2 wires

3 Answers 3


There is a ground wire attached to the metal box, so the box is grounded.

You can cut the ground from the old fixture, leaving enough wire to wire nut it to the ground of the new fixture. When you attach the mount for the new fixture that will ground the fixture also, but there is nothing wrong with an extra ground.

  • 1
    This results in a less reusable fixture.
    – isherwood
    Commented Apr 1 at 14:16
  • 2
    @ish, The op stated they were replacing the fixture...not taking it down to supply someone else. You have a tendency to assume things not stated.
    – RMDman
    Commented Apr 1 at 23:59
  • 7
    I have a tendency to think long-term and sustainable--I'd be putting it on the curb for someone else to enjoy. There was no assumption made other than that reuse is wiser than landfill. Keep your jabs to yourself, please. They've been plentiful as of late.
    – isherwood
    Commented Apr 2 at 12:57
  • 3
    @RMDman, OP states, "[OP] am replacing light fixture", but also states, "please tell me the best way to proceed". Unscrewing is trivial since the OP already has the screwdriver to complete the task, as opposed to cutting the wire. Further, whether or not the OP intends to supply to someone else, the best option is to leave as much of the wire intact so as to retain value and the possibility for reuse by another person (you also can simply offer up for recycling or re-use - hello Craigslist - instead of landfill).. Those are the "best options"; nothing more to read into the question.
    – Ian W
    Commented Apr 2 at 23:21
  • @ian W, Best options in this case are based on opinion. The definition of "best" was assumed by some to mean, "What will result in being able to reuse the old light fixture" . However that was not stated as being desired by the OP. My definition of "best options was those that made the task easier while still resulting in a safe & effective result. Keeping the light fixture usable was not a requirement stated in the question. Further is is assumptive to think the OP would have cut the ground wire so short that the it would be unusable. We have no information as to what the result would be.
    – RMDman
    Commented Apr 3 at 1:05

If you are discarding the old fixture, cutting the wire is fine. If you are not discarding it, but might use it elsewhere, it's trivial to loosen the grounding screw, remove the fixture ground wire (so it remains full length for any future application) and attach a new ground pigtail to the box screw, or to the end of the incoming grounding wire from the supply cable (using a wirenut or similar) after it's connected to the box ground screw.


It appears there are two wires under the green screw. This is not proper and it would be best to correct it as follows:

  1. Loosen the green screw and remove both wires
  2. Take a short piece of #14 wire (it must be either bare or green), make a loop in the end, and put it under the screw. The loop should wrap around clockwise.
  3. Take the new wire from the screw, the bare wire from the cable, and the ground wire from the new luminaire (light fixture), twist them them together, and put a wire nut on them.

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