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Electrical Wiring in the Home/Wiring a ceiling box with 4 separate wires


Hi there. I recently took down a ceiling fan and was going to replace it with just a light. The ceiling box I have has 3 separate existing wire. All are the same, 3 black 3 white and 3 grounds. Obviously there is the wire that's feeding the electric and assuming the other 2 are jumped off of that to power receptacles and lights. I should have took a picture to had drawn a picture but didn't, thinking I could remember. Anyways when I took it apart I could of sworn that there was 1 white together with 2 black and 2 white by itself as well as all grounds together. Is this correct? I am told this is called a loop and is safe? But now I am confused with these wires separated. I have a tester and found which wire is the hot one that's feeding the electric. I am going to be adding new wires to power the new light, my question is without catching something on fire how do connect this all back together? I had always thought that all colors should be together as one but when I took it down I had saw the white with the black. Oh and also the new lights mounting plate has a green screw for the ground, should I ignore that screw and put all 4 ground wires together?


When installing a new fixture, you should never touch the wires that are connected to each other.  Yes, it sounds like there is a switch loop there. The white wire is really hot.  It is best to put a piece of black tape on it to show that.  With the power off, use a continuity tester and when you find a pair of wires that have continuity with the switch on, and none when it is off, you have found the switch loop.  The white wire with the tape on it connects to the black fixture wire.  Now, connect the remaining white wires together and the remaining black wires together.
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Electrical Wiring in the Home

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Bob Sponaugle


Just about any home wiring question. (not appliance repair) I have done all kinds of home wiring for myself, including adding a new breaker box, etc. Please, questions from North America only. Please be specific with details.

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