Electrical Question, Help

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My terminology might not be correct. Bare with me.
My house was built in 1960. According to an electrician I had that did some work for me , He said the wiring was grounded to the back of the metal boxes.
I have changed out many outlets but have never run into this situation before
I decided to change out the double switches near my front door. One switch is for the outside light and the other goes to an outlet on the wall . Where you can plug in a light and switch it on from from the wall switch and bottom part of the outlet is just a regular plug.
Problem
When I took the switches out to replace with new. I found two grounding wires twisted together not attached to the box. There are 2 separate cables coming into the box. It was obvious which grounding wire came from each cable , w/ blk, white and ground. I untwisted the grounds and attached the grounding wire to the green grounding screw for each switch.
Did I do the right thng?
Thanks in advance for any help.
Pat
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If the ground wires were tied together and not attached to the metal box and not attached to the ground screw on the outlet then you've got a problem.
Go to Home Depot or your local hardware store and get one of those little outlet testers for $4. You plug it into an outlet and it shows you what, if anything, is wrong. It'll tell you when it's been miswired, open ground, etc. That's the best way to be sure.
Mike
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was
situation
the
part of

grounding
which
Twist the two ground wires and a short pigtail together and wirenut. Connect the other end of the pigtail to the box using a screw.
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wiring
One
on
Should have added-unless things have changed, it's permissible to use the switch mounting screws as the grounding means for the switches in your case (metal box). I'm sure someone will correct me if this is no longer the case.
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My terminology might not be correct. Bare with me.
My house was built in 1960. According to an electrician I had that did some work for me , He said the wiring was grounded to the back of the metal boxes.
I have changed out many outlets but have never run into this situation before
I decided to change out the double switches near my front door. One switch is for the outside light and the other goes to an outlet on the wall . Where you can plug in a light and switch it on from from the wall switch and bottom part of the outlet is just a regular plug.
Problem
When I took the switches out to replace with new. I found two grounding wires twisted together not attached to the box. There are 2 separate cables coming into the box. It was obvious which grounding wire came from each cable , w/ blk, white and ground. I untwisted the grounds and attached the grounding wire to the green grounding screw for each switch.
Did I do the right thng?
Thanks in advance for any help.
Pat
===> Yup, you did. Please quit posting in html; use Text-only mode.
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250-148 (in part):Where more than one equipment grounding conductor enters a box, all such conductors shall be spliced or joined within the box or to the box with devices suitable for the use...the arrangement of grounding connections shall be such that the disconnection or the removal of a receptacle, fixture, or other device fed from the box will not interfere with or interrupt the grounding continuity.
250-148 (a): A connection shall be made between the one or more equipment grounding conductors and a metal box by means of a grounding screw that shall be used for no other purpose or a listed grounding device.
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Well since I put each grounding wire to the green screw on each switch. The switch that goes to the outside won't turn on the light.
what I noticed is that the box for some reason does not have a screw to fasten a pigtail. All the rest in the house do.
what now. Is it safe what I did? And why would the outside light not work. The outlet in the wall where the one switch regulates does.
Pat
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On Fri, 16 Dec 2005 17:51:09 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (Pat) wrote:
You ask if what you did is safe, but it's not clear what you did. Did you change things to match the instructions of everyone here (except the guy who said Yep)? If you did what they said, you're safe, but then you ask again so I'm not sure you did what they said. And I can't tell from teh sentence below.

Did you put one wire to each switch, or both wires to each swtich?

D
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Ok! there are 2 cables coming into the box. One for each switch. both have a blk, white and a bare ground wire.
One switch on and off is for the outside light the other switch is for a outlet on the wall. top part of outet must be wired to the one switch. Because if you plug a lamp into it you can turn it on and off with the switch. the bottom part of the outlet is not effected by the wall switch.
When I went to replace the both switches, neither old switches had a green ground screw, The ground wires from both cables were twisted together hanging loose in the box. And there is NO screw inside the box to attach he ground wires. So I untwisted the wires and put them on each green ground screw on the new switches. It was obvious which cable went to which switch.
Never had a problem before and this house is 45 years old. But never seen 2 ground wires twisted together like that and just loosly put in an electrical box.
Now what should I do . I cut one of the ground wires shorter to put on green ground screw.
Pat
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switch.
to
That's why the stores have packs of pretty green grounding screws. Generally, they aren't supplied with the box...
I guess there's a possibility they aren't connected to any ground wire at the other end of the runs so they were just left hanging out there....
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Silly me. I took it to mean there was no screw and no screw hole either. You didn't make that mistake.
A screw hole is as good as a screw for someone with extra screws or a place to get them..

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Oops sorry it does light. it is a motion light. But is it safe what I did?
Thanks for your help, I've learned a lot by reading all you posts.everyday.
Pat
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Pat wrote:

Are all the grounds connected directly together or not? Are these two single switches or a duplex switch shaped like a duplex receptacle (outlet)? All ground wires on the one ground screw of a duplex switch? Or two individual switches with ground wires from the light or receptical connected to the ground screw of its respective switch? And then where is the incoming ground connected?
If something ever happened where current had to flow on the ground wire (say a short circuit to ground in the light, the controlled receptacle or something plugged into the receptacle) would that current coming down the ground wire have to get to ground by coming off the ground screw on the switch, go through the body of the switch, then to the junction box by way of the switch mounting screws, then to the incoming ground line whereever it's connected? If something like that is the case then it's not right.
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No, it is not safe. You have interrupted the ground circuit to the lights and/or some other part of your wiring. Twist the wires back together along with one end of another long piece of wire. Install a wirenut on the three wire ends. Connect the new wire to the box and to the green screw on both switches. On the box and one switch, just loop the wire around the screws without cutting it so you can connect all three with one wire. Be careful. Don Young

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