How To Earth A Light Fitting With No Earth Wire

Have you ever tried to fit a light fixture only to find nowhere for the earth wire to be attached? Is it dangerous not to attach the earth wire to a light fitting?

If your light fitting is plastic, you will not need to attach an earth wire. If your light fitting is metal, you will need to attach an earth wire to the fitting; there is usually a screw terminal for this purpose.


Can you fit a light fitting with no earth?

Yes, if the light fitting is of a non-metallic substance, there is no real need to make an earth connection because the light fitting is not conductive.

It’s not an ideal situation, but it will be safe, and you will not be able to get an electric shock if the outer of the fitting is touched.

If there is an earth wire, you can cut the earth wire off, making sure it is clear of the live and neutral terminations.

What to do if there is no earth wire?

If your outer casing of the light fitting is metallic and conductive, you will need to earth the light fitting.

If the earth is missing for the DIY enthusiast, you must not fit the light fitting that can conduct electricity. You should change to a non-conductive material like plastic or porcelain.

An electrician may want to pull through a twin and earth cable to make the safely earthed connections. Obviously, the electrician will need to make a spur to the new cable, which could mean lifting floorboards or entering the loft space in your home.

What happens if the light fitting is not earthed?

Suppose your light fitting is not earthed and made from plastic, ceramics, or another non-conductive material. In that case, you can go ahead and fit the light fitting without any problems or fear of electrocution.

If the light fitting is made from metal and will conduct electricity, you will need an electrician to earth the fitting for you.

The electrician will need to pull a new twin and earth cable to the socket to complete the termination, including the earth.

Without the earth connected to a conductive light fitting material, you could receive an electric shock.

Is an earth wire necessary?

Pre 1966 lighting circuits did not come with an earth wire or CPC (circuit protective cover). It was deemed unnecessary.

However, safety has moved forward leaps and bounds since 1966 (if your house wiring is from 1966, your house needs to be rewired), and the earth is included in wiring circuits.

The earth is there as protection. If the electricity has nowhere else to go due to a fault in the circuit, it will always try to head to earth.

If your light fitting is not earthed and you inadvertently touch it, you will become the fastest way for the electricity to run to earth.

Where do you put an earth wire in a light fitting?

If your light is made for a conductive material like metal, there will be a separate terminal built into the fitting for the earth wire, and it’s normally to the side of the other wire terminations.

On the side of your light fitting or even on the packaging, you may see a symbol, which is a square within a square. This symbol means your light fitting is double insulated, and there is no need for an earth connection.

Suppose you have a double insulated light fitting. In that case, it’s best to terminate the earth wire into a plastic connector block and tape it over with electrician electrical earth wire tape for easy identification.

Do LED lights need earthing?

Yes, if you have replaced incandescent light bulbs with LEDs, you will still need to ensure the light fitting is earthed.

Without the correct earth, you run the danger of electrocution because of a fault within the lighting circuit.

What colour is the earth wire?

Yellow and green. It is essential to know the colours of the wires used in your circuits. 

  • Earth is yellow and green. 
  • Live is brown.
  • Neutral is blue.

If the electrician has used a twin and earth cable for your lighting circuit, the earth cable maybe just a single strand of copper; if this is the case, place an earth sheath over the cable before making the termination.

If you have difficulty identifying the colours of the wires, check with an electrician. You may be part of the 4.5% of the population who are colour blind. It mainly affects males.

What is the symbol for earth wire?

This is the symbol for earth or ground ⏚. It is 3 decreasing horizontal lines. It is a generic symbol used everywhere to define ground or earth in an electrical circuit.

What earthing system is used in the UK?

The DNO’s (distribution network operators) maximum external earth fault loop impedance in these configurations is normally 0.8 Ω ohms. This is the most common way used in the UK. It can also be known as protective multiple earthing (PME).

Does earthing reduce electricity bills?

No, the earthing system in your home is the frontline circuit protection for the homeowner. Without the earthing system, the homeowners could risk fatal electric shock.

Your electricity bill is generated by the amount of electricity you consume through your appliances such as washing machine, kettle and lighting.

Where is the earth wire connected?

To the earth. Electricity will always take the fastest route to earth. This is why your home electrical supply is earthed. If a fault occurs in the system, electricity will find the earth’s path making your home safe.

You can often see a metal spike with an earth cable pigtail attached, and this is the earth point for your home electrics.

What Do You Do If There Is No Earth Wire On The Light Fitting

Do you need an electrician to fit a simple light fitting if there is no earth wire? Why do some light fittings come without an earth?

It’s always a good idea to use an electrician to fit fixtures in your home, you know the job is completed to regulations, and it takes the hassle away from you, the homeowner. Some light fittings are double insulated and do not require to be earthed. They are generally plastic in construction.

What do you do if your light fixture has no ground wire?

Your light fitting does not usually come with ground/earth wire fitted, and you will find this wire in the ceiling with the live and neutral.

If your light fitting is made for a non-conductive material like plastic or ceramic, there is no need for an earth. Some light fittings are double insulated. You will notice a symbol either on the light fitting or the packaging material of a box within a box meaning double earth.

If you have a double earthed plastic light fitting, take the earth wire from the ceiling and secure it in a screw terminal box.

Connect the live and neutral as usual.

Can you wire a light with no earth?

Yes, if the light fitting is plastic or does not conduct electricity, you can wire the light fitting without earth. You can buy lighting from many double earthed outlets and do not require an earth wire to be connected.

Before 1966 wiring circuits in residential settings did not have an earth wire in the lighting circuit. The light roses were made from bakelite or plastic, but nothing metallic was allowed in the circuit, from light fittings to light switches.

What happens if the light fitting is not earthed?

Here are two scenarios. The first scenario is the light fitting is installed without an earth, and the homeowner lives happily ever after.

The second scenario is the light fitting is connected without an earth wire connected, and the live wire comes loose over time and touches the light fitting case.

The homeowner inadvertently touches the light fitting and is electrocuted.

Earth wires are included for an excellent reason, and they are there to protect the homeowner from catastrophe should there be a problem with the circuit.

Can you leave an earth wire exposed?

In light fittings, it’s good practice to terminate the earth cable into a connecting block. The connecting block will prevent the earth from touching the live or neutral wire.

You can often see an earth wire attached to a spike penetrating the ground if you look outside your home. The ends are normally exposed and are safe to touch.

In the event of a circuit fault, it is possible that the earth cable could have mains power running through it, so avoid touching it.

Can you touch an earth wire?

Under normal circumstances, the answer is yes, and there should be nothing running through your earth wire.

If you suspect you have a problem with your electrical circuit, treat your earth wire with caution. Electricity could be leaking to the ground.

Does ground wire have electricity?

The ground or earth wire is designed for safety. It should not carry any charge and should be safe to touch.

However, in the event of a short circuit on your circuit, the ground or earth wire can become live as the earth is now being diverted away from switches and appliances and directly to earth.

Of course, this should only happen for a split second allowing for the RCD to trip to render the circuits off.

Is neutral connected to earth in the UK?

Neutral is earthed at the substation and multiple locations, such as the end of the circuit combined with the earth.

Does the neutral wire carry the current in the UK?

The basics of the wiring for your home is the live wire (brown) carry’s the electrician to the appliance or what is being switched on.

The neutral (blue) wire carries the power away from the appliances and back to the circuit.

The earth wire is protected should there be a circuit problem and carry the electricity straight to the ground until the RCD trips.

Can a light work without neutral?

No, the neutral wire completes the circuit, if it’s not connected, the circuit is broken, and electricity cannot flow.

If you can imagine a simple loop, once the switch breaks the loop, the power stops flowing and vice versa when the switch completes the loop.

What is the difference between the neutral wire and earth wire?

The earth wire is a protection in the circuit. If there is a fault, the earth wire will carry the electricity directly to the earth until the RCD trips.

The neutral wire is part of the circuit that is essential for the power to complete the circuit. The neutral is the return phase of the electric flow.

The circuit can be broken by removing the neutral (Blue) wire or the live(brown) wire.

What does earthed mean in electricity?

Earring is a process of carrying an immediate discharge of electricity to earth or ground. When a system is earthed, it protects the homeowner from potential faults on the circuit.

Why is it necessary to earth metallic appliances? What is the function of an earth wire?

Appliance cases are earthed to offer protection for potential electrocution to the appliance operator in the event of a faulty circuit.

The earth wire will carry any surge or leakage in power directly to the ground. Electricity always wants to run to the ground at the shortest route.

How do I know if my house is earthed UK?

Look close to your incoming power supply from the distributor, and you should be able to see a metal spike close to the meter with an earth wire attached in the form of a pigtail. This is the earth for your property.

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