How to add a ground wire to Home light switches?

I have an older home. I am trying to install a porch light automatic timer in the switch box but there is no ground wire. How do I add a ground wire?

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  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    if you are just worried about the ground wire coming off the timer, then it is not that big of a deal... the timer will still work just like the switch that was there before. if you are that worried about the safety (which the system is already pretty safe), you could install a GFCI circuit breaker on that circuit.

    Source(s): electrician
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  • hb12
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    If your home wiring has a metal cable around the wire, pbx cable I believe, and it's connected to the box, the switchbox is the ground or the cable. Otherwise you have to run a pbx cable or a third wire. A porch light doesn't take too much current. If your connections are good and you have a fuse or circuit breaker, with the low watt bulbs today, you shouldn't have too much trouble. That's all people had for years. I guess your thinking about someone getting a shock from the light, so in that case you're right, you need another wire or pbx (a heavy spiral metal cable with wires inside). You might look into what is legislated in your area. I seem to recall pbx being not so good, although I don't see why. Maybe something to do with whether it's connected right or something. You can call your county government. They'll want a license, of course, if you rewire to the fuse box or elsewhere. If you have pbx, that's not necessary.

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  • 1 decade ago

    It depends on how close you are to another ground point. If there is a cold water pipe nearby, you can attach a ground wire clamp to it, after scraping off any dirt, paint, or corrosion, and then run a green ground wire to the box. If that is not convenient and there is a spot closer where you can drive a copper ground rod about four feet into the ground, you can attach a clamp to that and run it to the box. Ground rods and clamps can be found in any hardware store or Home Depot.

    If there is another electrical box nearby that has a ground wire, you can connect one there and run it to the ungrounded box.

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  • 1 decade ago

    If you have a neutral in the box then land it with that, if not, then I would use the old wire to pull enough 3 conductor #12AWG to make it to the light box, just tape it together secure. Ultimately you should have a constant hot from the panel that goes to the timer, a switchleg going to the light and a neutral to the timer. If you dont have a neutral in the switchbox then use the one in the lighting box.

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  • 1 decade ago

    nec code now prevents the use of water pipes being used as ground. this is diff from the jump at your meter for older houses. also nec says neutral is neutral not a ground.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    externally. get a lead.

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