I have a chandelier in my bedroom and it hangs a little low. I was wondering why should chandeliers are to be grounded like they are just for illumination but upon researching, I found grounding them is important. The reason is
If insulation of the wire is faulty or exposed, the current can flow throughout the body of light fixture. Grounding therefore, is important as it will ensure that upon accidently touching a faulty light fixture current does not flow through you.
Here’s an important thing to know. Chandeliers that are made up of only plastic or glass do not require to be grounded because even if wiring is exposed in the fixture, and you accidentally happened to touch the fixture, the current will not flow through the body. Plastic and glass both are bad conductors of electricity and are good insulators.
Does metallic chandeliers need grounding?
All metals are good conductors of electricity. If for some reason the wiring inside the light fixture is faulty and it is touched, one can get a shock. Therefore, it is important to ground metal chandeliers even if they hang high. for eg.
chandeliers having metal like brass, cast iron, steel, aluminum, gold plated metal, gold, silver, copper, etc. all needs grounding
Do crystal chandeliers need grounding?
Crystals are of two types. Ionic crystals and metallic crystals.
Generally, ionic crystals in their solid state are very bad conductors of electricity they conduct electricity only in their liquid state.
Metallic crystals on the other hand are very good conductors of electricity. If a light fixture has metallic crystals then it is advised to ground that fixture.
Overall, It is a good practice to ground crystal chandeliers.
What about wood? Do wooden chandeliers need grounding?
Dry wood is a bad conductor of electricity. If a chandelier is made up of only wood and no metal even then one should ground a wooden chandelier because upon absorbing moisture, wood can conduct electricity to some extent and if someone touches that light fixture with faulty wirings a shock can be experienced.
Chandeliers with polished wood should also be grounded.
Do ceramic chandeliers need grounding?
Most ceramics such as porcelain do not conduct electricity. However, oftentimes ceramics are modified and combined with metals which allows them to conduct electricity. It is again good practice to ground ceramic chandeliers as they might be modified.
How does grounding a chandelier works
The process of grounding is easy. So there are two wires connected to a light fixture. Hot wire and a neutral wire. These wires have insulations of a particular color which serve as wire color codes. ( for reference of color code and USA visit this article by p3connectors, for color codes in Australia visit this article by p3connectors.com)
Color codes for hot and neutral wires can change. However, generally, the other wire i.e ground or earth wire is colored green or green with yellow stripes or sometimes the earth wire is without any insulation. This is because no current flows through the ground wire so it can be kept exposed.
What do these wires do?
The hot wire carries the current from main source (breaker panel) to where it is required, the neutral wire carries back the used electricity from the fixture to main switch (breaker panel) completing the circuit and thus our light fixture glows.
The earth wire or ground wire is not connected to any power source. It is just connected with the body of light fixture and to the earth.
It just provides a low resistance path for the electricity to pass incase of faulty wiring.
If the insulation of hot wire or neutral wire is exposed and our light fixture has metal parts in it, the current can start flowing in the body of light fixture. If someone touches it, the electricity will pass through the body to complete the circuit and a shock will be experienced.
The earth wire prevents this by providing a low resistance path to the current to flow in the earth. The tendency of the current is that it always prefers a path of least resistance to flow. Human body have high resistance compared to the resistance to earth wire and earth itself. Hence, the current prefers to flow in low resistance path from ground wire to earth instead from human body to earth.
Now you know the basics of grounding lets now see a video on how to make groundwire a connection.
What to do if there’s no ground wire in a chandelier, where to attach it?
If there is no ground wire in the fixture simply a wire is needed to be attached with the body of the light fixture which goes to the main switch and from there is directly grounded in the earth with a copper plate.
Again we encourage you to let an electrical professional do these works. Sometimes, even after cutting the power from main switch, there can still be some electricity in wires, a professional have instruments like a multimeter which can precisely detect any presence of electricity.
Additional information on grounding a chandelier.
Can a light fixture have two ground wires ?
Yes, a chandelier can have two ground wires but it does not add any additional benefit than having only one ground wire. For all electrical appliances with metal in them, only one ground wire connected with the body of (appliance or a fixture) serves the complete purpose.
Extending ground wire in a chandelier
Making ground wire longer is very simple. There’s only one important thing to consider while joining wires.
Not any wire can be used to extend the ground wire. A ground wire should always have low resistance. Generally, thin wires have very high resistance as they offer less area for electricity to flow.
A thick wire offers less resistance to the flow of electricity as there is so much open area in it.
Knowing the thickness helps to choose the correct type of wire. Wire thickness is measured in Gauge.
More gauge value means the wire is thin and have high resistance. Similarly low gauge value means, wire is thick and resistance in it is low.
A 20 gauge wire is thin compared to a 10 gauge wire.
It is a good practice to use the extending wire of same gauge value as the short ground wire have. Simply calculate the thickness of ground wire in mm and use this helpful table to covert it into gauge.
|wire thickness in AWG (american wire gauge)||AWG in milli meters|
- Chandelier made up of 100% plastic or 100% glass does not need to be grounded.
- If glass or plastic chandeliers have metal parts within, then one should ground that fixture as metal might be connected with the faulty wiring.
- Metal, wood as well ceramic chandeliers should always be grounded.