I'd like to put a track light in my kitchen, but there isn't a ground wire,
and the installation indicates strongly a need for the ground wire. The
wiring is old but in good shape, and I certainly don't have the money right
now to hire an electrician to come in and rewire the house, but I don't want
to burn the place down, either. Is there any way I could safely wire the
track light, or should I give up on the idea and live with a single light?
The ground is pretty important, required by codes, and is
for safety more than a fire hazard, especially in a kitchen.
Under fault conditions, coming on contact with the track
lighting components somehow while touching the kitchen sink,
faucet, stove, fridge, another appliance, etc. could indeed
cause a very serious injury.
While it's not likely, if the track lighting were deemed
the cause of a fire and the insurance company got wind that
it was not installed to code, and not inspected, just might
decide to pull their coverage. I wouldn't take a chance on
giving them that opportunity - they already weasle way too
Do you have any friends, trusted friends of friends, etc.
with electrical background? Maybe they could take a look at
it and help you out. There are some pretty simple ways to
do a job like that if all you're doing is literally putting
a track light where there now is a standard fixture, but
your post wasn't that informative.
I doubt there exists a U.L. rated fixture in the world, including outdoor
builder's fixtures which have no metal components whatsoever, (aside from the
fixture bar) that don't incorporate a grounding requirement in their
instructions. How would the OP install ANY kind of fixture in their kitchen?
whatsoever, (aside from the
requirement in their
in their kitchen?
I agree, UL/CSA/CE marked inclusive. Not sure I understand
why you'd ask me that though. Unless it were a class 2
device, he can't, and be to code. And tack lights aren't
available as class 2, far's I know. Am I missing something?
Perhaps it's my phrasing of the last sentence; poorly
worded, I agree, but I was wondering if there was
information that wasn't included in the OP. There are ways
to acceptably provide earths without having to run new cable
is where my head was at that time.
There's a variety of shadings in this issue. All the way
from assuming that a fixture change doesn't require an
inspection (which is true in some jurisdictions) all the way
to mandatory inspection and an inspector out to get you.
Which implies a solution anywhere from "install the thing,
don't worry about ground", to mandatory upgrade of the circuit
with full grounding (and possibly even a panel upgrade/more
general rewiring) yadda yadda yadda.
But wiring a fixture _without_ considering safety is a bad
Personally, if it was a small, unreachable except by ladder,
mostly-plastic fixture, I wouldn't worry about grounding. But
with a fixture with a lot of metal (especially a track fixture
or metal chandelier), I'd consider how to avoid problems due to
hot-case shorts. Regardless of whether code/inspectors are
going to get into the act.
In the US, if the wiring already had nominal grounding from BX
sheath or metallic conduit, you might use it, despite the fact that
old BX armor generally isn't that safe a ground. But I'm Canadian,
and that's not code-acceptable here in any event, and I'd use a
By both our codes, inserting a GFCI outlet with feedthru protection
into the circuit upstream of the fixture (or GFCI breaker in the
panel) is acceptable and _will_ protect you from hot-case shorts,
even tho nothing is (nor usually should be, according to code)
connected to the grounding lug on the fixture.
Depending on your wiring, a GFCI outlet solution can be nothing more
than replacing an existing outlet with a $7 GFCI - easy and cheap.
But that's not to say that an inspector couldn't insist on something
more draconian if they want to make your life miserable (as rare
as that really is).
Chris Lewis, Una confibula non set est
It's not just anyone who gets a Starship Cruiser class named after them.
Don't screw around. However no need to spend lots of money
now. Instead convert that light circuit to a GFCI powered
circuit. Number of ways this can be accomplished. GFCI in
some wall receptacle from which the overhead light gets
power. If that recpetacle does not exist, then a GFCI breaker
on the circuit that powers the light.
Christopher Riley wrote:
On Wed, 28 Jul 2004 13:05:03 -0400, Christopher Riley
I'm surprised no one has asked this before.
When you say there is no ground wire, what exactly DID you find up
there? Is it BX? (wires inside a flexible metal "armor") If so, and if
it is competently wired, the metal casing itself may be able to supply
the ground connection.
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