I am no expert in electrical stuff as i have never done it before. We recently moved into a new house and i don't really like the look of the old switches. I was looking around them and i noticed the light switches don't have a grounding wire attached to the switch itself. BUT there is a wire (seems to be grounding) that is attached to the metal box itself near the back. enter image description here

is it safe to just replace the switch and leave the grounding screw empty in this case?

Random info, the sockets seem to be grounded properly with a wire. It's just the switches that are not.

2 Answers 2


You could either use a self grounding switch, or use the other grounding screw to attach a pigtail out to the new switch.

enter image description here

To create the pigtail:

  1. Get a short length of green or bare wire, the same size as the largest wire in the box.
  2. Attach one end of the wire to the box using the screw highlighted above (remember to wrap the wire clockwise around the screw, and tighten the screw).
  3. Attach the other end of the wire to the grounding terminal on the new switch (again wrapping in a clockwise direction, and tightening the screw).

If the switch you're using is "self grounding" (it will normally say that somewhere), then screwing it into the metal box is all you need to do. Some self grounding switches and outlets can be identified by a little metal clip on the screws used to attach it to the box (the gold clip in the picture), but read the box to be sure.

enter image description here

  • Your picture is top side down. :-)
    – Michael Karas
    Commented Dec 30, 2015 at 18:55
  • 1
    @MichaelKaras I wanted to... uh... highlight the clip at the "top"! Yea, that's it!
    – JPhi1618
    Commented Dec 30, 2015 at 18:56

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