No Earth wire for the light switch

Postby Criptonite » Fri Mar 14, 2008 3:02 pm

I was about to replace my old plastic light switch with a new brushed steel switch but have found that there is no earth wire to connect. I have just a blue wire in L1, a red wire in L2 and a white wire going to, I'm assuming, common.

I know that means that I can't use a metal switch (wish I'd checked before buying them :cry: ). How safe is the wiring if I fit a new plastic switch?
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Mar 14, 2008 2:58 pm


Simply Build It

Postby ericmark » Sat Mar 15, 2008 12:07 am

In theory double insulated light switches are not sold as the metal screws that hold them on the box could become live. But in practice this is unlikely and many old houses have no earths to lighting circuits. This means not only no metal switches but also no metal light fittings. Putting a little silicon sealant over each screw easy enough to get off if you need to remove would make most switches 100% safe but it is not really that which is the problem. Every house is suppose to have the electrics checked on change of occupant or every 10 years and it is longer than 10 years since non earthed lights were allowed. So what is the rest of the house like? I have not seen triple cable without an earth so maybe just snipped off. Also will guess white cable is really yellow and this is a two way switch? With this all in mind I can only advise you get it all checked.

Postby Criptonite » Sat Mar 15, 2008 9:43 am

The electrics are very old. I bought this place a year ago and have ripped everything out except the electrics, something that should've been my first consideration, in hind sight. Oh well, shall have to look at a loan to have the wiring done. Thanks for the tip about sealant that will help in the short term
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Mar 14, 2008 2:58 pm

Postby sparx » Sun Mar 16, 2008 5:37 pm

Hi just for completeness I will venture the wiring is circa 1960's when 2 way switch cables were Red, White & blue (very patriotic) & not usually containing an earth core.
Shame the mortgage companies surveyors don't ask for an electrical Periodic Inspection Report at time of building survey, it would cut down on a lot of grief later.
Posts: 2166
Joined: Wed Mar 21, 2007 8:33 pm
Location: The fifth continent.

Display posts from previous
Sort by
Order by


  • Related Topics