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Checking for grounds


Bain
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This morning, my client--who moved here from out-of-state--told me that when the house she sold was inspected, it was discovered that none of her kitchen light-fixtures were grounded and she had to make repairs. My question is how could the guy--or gal--who inspected the joint know that? Is there some groovy tester I'm unaware of? Surely the unknown inspector didn't remove escutcheon plates to check for ground wires.

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Originally posted by rlskfoster

I am not up to date on this code, so correct me if i'm wrong, but, back in the day a lite fixture greater than eight feet from ground was not required to be grounded. I find so many newer homes have nine foot and taller ceilings.

Does anyone know if this old rule has been changed.

It's not an old rule, it's still there, but it doesn't say what you think it says -- I think.

If you're talking about 250.110(1), it says something like: You've got to ground things that are within 8 feet of the floor.

However, if you keep reading, section 250.112(J) says, specifically, that you've got to ground lighting fixtures.

One is a broad, general rule, the other is specific.

I tried to track the requirement back but lost it in the mid 70s. The 1971 edition does not require grounding of light fixtures, the 1981 edition does. I don't own the two intervening editions. Sorry.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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Originally posted by Brian G.

You can check for ground on a ceiling fan by turning it on and putting a voltage tester up to it (if it lights, the fan isn't grounded), but I don't know if that would work for lights.

Brian G.

Fan of Grounding [:-slaphap

I expect that with a few types of light only fixtures the ol' fan sniffer test might work to indicate one isn't grounded but, given the variety of fixtures, I wouldn't rely on no response to say that one is grounded.

I like to be as thorough as I can be, but I'd say that checking light fixture grounding is "beyond the scope" for a normal home inspection.

I wonder if it was recessed cans that weren't grounded?

...and how about them table and floor lamps?

Update...I have two rooms left in my house with ungrounded KT wiring to the ceiling light fixtures. Both have exposed metal parts. One lights up my tester, the other doesn't. Don't ask me why!

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I agree, Richard, that checking for light-fixture grounding is above and beyond the call, but I still was curious about how one could determine such a thing. And . . . having replaced all of the K and T wiring in my own bungalow, and grounding each and every ceiling fixture, I voltage-sniffed several of them last night with mixed--and useless--results.

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I never thought about checking for grounded lighting fixtures, but, since the question arose and no one as of yet posted a solution,,, well, I just had to give it a try.

Now, if I'm wrong, please correct me, as I'm sure you will. And if you think I'm crazy, o.k., I admit you wouldn't be the first to think that. Here goes...

Since a SURETEST will determine grounding (you could also use a 3 light tester), we have to think about a way to hook up the tester. Well, if you remove a light bulb, and insert one of those screw in outlet adapters, we would have a place to hook up the SURETEST... except you need a three prong outlet and the outlet adapter is only a two prong. So this is where the three prong adapter comes into play. Now the ground wire coming out of the adapter gets extended and add an alligator clip which gets attached to the lamp or fixture body. VIOLA (thats french for hoo-ha)... you can test for ground!!!

WOULD IT WORK? I don't see why not.

It might not be a bad thing to try on fixtures that fall short of the 8' requirement. I bet you would find pleanty of improperly installed fixtures!

I told you Matzoh Ball soup had an effect on me.

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Originally posted by StevenT

I never thought about checking for grounded lighting fixtures, but, since the question arose and no one as of yet posted a solution,,, well, I just had to give it a try.

Now, if I'm wrong, please correct me, as I'm sure you will. And if you think I'm crazy, o.k., I admit you wouldn't be the first to think that. Here goes...

Since a SURETEST will determine grounding (you could also use a 3 light tester), we have to think about a way to hook up the tester. Well, if you remove a light bulb, and insert one of those screw in outlet adapters, we would have a place to hook up the SURETEST... except you need a three prong outlet and the outlet adapter is only a two prong. So this is where the three prong adapter comes into play. Now the ground wire coming out of the adapter gets extended and add an alligator clip which gets attached to the lamp or fixture body. VIOLA (thats french for hoo-ha)... you can test for ground!!!

WOULD IT WORK? I don't see why not.

It would work. But so would a simple neon tester or, if you wanted to get fancy, a multi-tester or a wiggy.

It might not be a bad thing to try on fixtures that fall short of the 8' requirement.

There is no 8' requirement for light fixtures. They all have to be grounded. See my post above.

I bet you would find pleanty of improperly installed fixtures!

You probably would. I wonder though, if the benefit would be worth the effort.

How would you handle it the first time you dropped a globe and broke it? And the glass slivers got into the carpet. And there was no vacuum cleaner. And it was a child's room.

Oh yes, how would you do fluorescent fixtures?

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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I thought it would work!

So there you go Bain, there are a few ways to check for grounded lighting fixtures(except fluorescent), but they could be a hassle. So unless it's really important for you to know, it may not be practical as SOP.

Jim, would you test fluorescent fixtures witout taking them apart (if you really wanted to)?

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