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Electrical Wiring

An older fluorescent fixture above a bathroom sink-four 24" tubes- has been acting up not wanting to light up. Rather than spending money on replacement ballasts at this point I would rather replace the fixture.  I looked at how it was wired and noticed that whoever wired the fixture used the white neutral as a ground.  There are no ground wires inside the ceiling box.  Upon further investigation I found that there were four sets of wire coming into the box and that the bare ground wires of each were connected above the ceiling box. The box can be accessed above through the attic. I am not sure why anyone would decide to do the wiring this way.  I think that  the ground wires need to be pig tailed together inside of the box along with the one running to the ground screw on the fixture.  Any thoughts on this.  Our house is about fifty years old.
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Posted 2015-06-24T19:51:11+0000  by ff50 ff50
Using the neutral as the ground is potentially very dangerous and should be addressed immediately.

Years back equipment grounds weren't as "important" as they are today.  The first forms of non-metallic cable didn't have one, then a under sized (about 16 ga.) grounding wire was added, and finally the full size wire we see today.  Understand that the equipment ground only works if it goes back to the service panel.  Do all the cables coming into the junction box have a ground wire?  If so, then you are correct in that the ground wires should be twisted together (you must use a wire nut), connected to to box if it's metal, and the ground wire from your new fixture connected to them.

If you unsure about any of this, please hire a licensed electrician. 

Posted 2015-06-25T10:56:33+0000  by Adam444
Posted 2015-06-25T20:15:47+0000  by ff50
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