Installing ceiling fan, but no ground wire from ceiling?

Hi, last year I bought an older home. Today, I decided to install a ceiling fan in one of the bedrooms because it gets pretty hot in there.

There was already an old ceiling fan up, but it didn't work.

When I took the ceiling fan down, I noticed there were only 2 wires coming out of the ceiling. A black one and a white one. There was no green "ground" wire.

So, this new ceiling fan I bought has 4 wires to hook up--black, blue, white, and green.

How would I hook these up?

The simpler the answer, the better for me. I don't know much at all about electricity.


11 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Alex is partially correct. The green wire connected to your metal box will do nothing if there is not a ground wire coming into the electrical box. If you have a fault, it will travel to your electrical box and make it live.

    Your ground wire needs to go to earth. This is typically done in a house via ground rods, ufer ground or metal water pipes that extend 10' beyond your outside connection.

    If you need further assistance, please visit -

    Edit: To An Electrical Engineer -

    I don't believe my answer suggests the earth will clear the fault. It appears that you agree, connecting the ground to the metal box will do nothing for grounding and if there is a fault that travels to the ground wire it will energize the metal box.

    I did see your answer correcting me on the romex ampacity. I appreciate you correcting me as I definately don't want to give bad electrical advice, like most of the answers we see here on Yahoo. I also called the electrical inspector and questioned his answer as well; he gave me the 90.4 answer. I disagree with this however, he is the AHJ.

    Edit #2: To An Electrical Engineer -

    I gave your answer some thought today and I tried to figure out why you thought my answer suggested grounding (earthing) would clear a fault. I believe that I figured it out. I had to re-read my answer using a speed reading technique to discover this.

    In the first paragraph of my original answer I mention a "fault" on the ground wire energizing the metal box. In the second paragraph I mention that the "ground wire" needs to go to earth. This is true. My correction is about connecting the ground wire. Tim also asked to simplify the answer and I believe that is what I did.

    However, I believe you misunderstood my answer to be that the "ground fault" needs to go to earth. This is not what I said. My statement is the "ground wire" needs to go to (connect to) earth. While I agree with you that the "ground fault" needs to travel to the neutral at the first point of disconnect to trip the breaker, that is not the question here.

    I also believe there should be a correction made to the answer that states installing a GFCI will ground this circuit. This is incorrect. I agree that installing a GFCI is typically a "quick fix" and offers more protection in a 2-wire ungrounded circuit. However, installing a GFCI in a circuit with a motor typically causes nuisance tripping as the GFCI reads a fault through the windings in the motor.

    Source(s): Montana licensed unlimited electrical contractor and master electrician with over 20 years experience.
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  • Donna
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    Okay - that sounds a little odd ... surely the landlord (are you renting?) has responsibility to provide approved and safe dwelling? If you own, then your local council will check, and help rectify potentially unsafe wiring. Put simply, the Earth is there just to protect you from being shocked if the casing of the fixture should become live. That's why the green/Earth usually attaches to the light fitting, and not to the light itself. To answer your questions: 1. You can install it. It's a little dangerous, but how low is the ceiling? If it's way high and unlikely to be accidentally touched, then no real issue. Also if the casing is plastic, not metal, you'd be safer. But I guess the fan veins are metal(?) 2. You can make an earth by running an earth wire to the fitting from any other Earthed location. Typically all the metal fittings in the bathroom will be Earthed - so radiators / pipes / bath / shower. If you have access to enough of the ceiling spaces to run that wire, you can make an Earth. How easy depends on the construction of the ceilings and the layout of the apartment. Personally, I'd just install without an Earth. If you install it correctly, there's little chance of you needing the 'back-up' of the Earth connection.

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  • 3 years ago

    Connecting A Ceiling Fan

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  • 1 decade ago

    Gilchristelectric, I can't believe you said that. The earth has nothing to do with fault clearing, and I would hope you know that.

    He is right in that if the box is not "grounded" properly, it will do no good to connect the fan ground to it. The ground needs to return to the neutral at the service to trip the circuit breaker on a fault, not to the earth.

    By the way, Gilchristelectric, did you see my answer to your question to me about Romex ampacity? I put that in an unrelated answer. If not, 334.80 is where it requires the 60 degree column.

    Edit: Gilchristelectric, I still disagree with the wording "connect the ground to earth." It is (indirectly) connected to earth when connected correctly, but connecting it to earth is not correct. He cannot run an equipment grounding conductor to a ground rod for example. Your answer suggests this is acceptable. I would leave the answer at: if you don't have a ground wire already going to the service properly, get a qualified electrician to hook up the ground correctly. The finer points of proper grounding are not the simplest to understand and not the place for a DIYer.

    By the way, I think we have similar goals: Correct much of the misinformation given on this site. I wish people that didn't know what they were talking about would skip answering the questions.

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  • 1 decade ago

    The ceiling fan gets grounded to the metal box that the wires come out of in the ceiling.

    Black and Blue to Black

    White to White

    Green to Metal Box

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  • 1 decade ago

    i just installed one last week is there a ground wire on the fans mounting bracket mine had one and if so just hook the ground to it also make sure the box is supported very well fans weigh 35 pounds i put a board between the ceiling joists in the attic and secured the box to it with wood screws and my fan works fine

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Alex is correct but ceiling fans require specially reinforced ceiling boxes. That old fire trap that you bought, I'm sure needs that box replaced.

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  • Anonymous
    3 years ago

    I frequently spend my half an hour to read this blog's posts daily along with a mug of coffee.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    if nothing in your house is grounded then find out where the first plug is in the circuit that controls that circuit. then install a GFCI outlet that will ground the circuit

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  • zocko
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    should be an instruction paper. always white to white. the blue and black could be for lights and fan.

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