DIY Doctor

Grounding wire attached to ceiling lamp but canopy of light fixture not grounded, is this serious problem?

Postby oliviaPSU » Mon May 04, 2020 9:57 am

I've just installed a new metal pendant light. The light itself has a metal canopy and there is a metal bulb holder below, the two parts are connected via insulated wire. The light came with a grounding wire which I have connected with the grounding wire from the ceiling, so I am confident that the bottom part of the light (ie where you change the bulb is grounded). Now, having thought of it though, the metal casing (canopy?) above is not grounded itself. It acts simply as a means of holding up the lamp and covering the wiring... nothing is connected to it other than the insulated wires feeding down to the light. Obviously, the wires are not touching it directly, but there are quite a few wires connected inside this canopy. If over time, a wire came loose, potentially there could be a wire which touch that metal canopy. No one will be climbing on chairs to touch this, so I am not as concerned about electric shock, but more so would this be considered faulty wiring? As I said, we connected the ground wires of the lamp to the ceiling, but seems to be a bit of a bad design where is metal canopy itself wasn't taken into consideration. Space is definitely an issue under there so I don't want to try and fit in another wire if not necessary. Is it a fire hazard? Really can't afford an electrician at this point and didn't plan on doing so as I've wired lights before. Fairly confident the wiring is correct and secure, but I'm a worrier. Any thoughts are appreciated, thanks! -Olivia
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Simply Build It

Postby ericmark » Tue May 05, 2020 1:27 pm

We have class I and class II the class II lamps do not require an earth and have a double square to show class II, you can get metal lamps which are class II, careful inspection and often the metal tubes have a plastic lining inside, so they are double insulated, however it is near impossible without seeing the double square symbol to look at any metal lamp and say that is class II.

In theory any lamp which has a earth connection should be connected to earth and a bayonet lamp/bulb has three connections the shell with some bulb holders is earthed, but not all, so there should in theory be a double square on the bulb, I have never seen one, so in practice we don't worry if the bulb is class II or class I we assume they are all class II even when no marks on them.

Again we tend to do the same with the fitting, if there is no earth connection, even if no double square we assume it is class II, until 1966 we did not need an earth connection to lighting, and as you say if you switch off before changing a bulb the risk is rather small, and with RCD protection on all circuits if there is an earth fault likely it will trigger the trip.

So I would personally not be too worried, even if not as it really should be.
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