Do you need to earth light switches?

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tonywiltshire | 17:02 Sat 05th Nov 2011 | How it Works
12 Answers
About to fit brass light switches in house, they say they should be earthed but would the plate retaining screws, which hold the plate to the wall, not act as earth?


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Does anyone know?
-- answer removed --
Sounds to me like you need to consult with an electrician. Any electrical switch or circuit which is incorrectly wired is not only a fire risk, it can be lethal.

There should be a green/yellow wire which you connect to the earth terminal on the switch. However, take a look at the following webpage....


You MUST earth all metal switches. if one of the wires burnt and touched the swichplate, then it could become "live" although the trip on your consumer unit should shut the current off and safeguard the user. Do not rely on the screws, they may be oily or be coated with something that could insulate them. use a piece of earthwire and do a proper job.
Metal light switches and lights etc MUST be earthed. I guess you know why. Under fault conditions, metal could become live.

"Earth" is a misnomer. In simple terms, it doesn't necessarily mean the "ground we stand on". (Even if your supply is a TT system with an earth rod, there may be far too high a resistance between your switch and the earth rod for a fuse/MCB/RCD to operate in a fault.)

Other, more common, supply systems have either an "earth" brought into the house (separately) by the supplier........... or it may be one that uses the incoming phase neutral as an earth. So, you can see that your switch would be a long way from, and not connected to, the system's earth.

In order to try and clarify things, new rules now call the green & yellow wire around your house the CPC (circuit protective conductor). Although it's connected to it at the board, it's a completely different thing from your incoming earthing arrangement.
fit plastic switches (metal effect may be available) otherwise pay a qualified electrician. Personally I wouldn't have metal switches as their safety depends on the integrity of the earth connections, which are often compromised after a bit of electrical diy by previous occupants.
There should be an earth included in the ...
1. Feed from the rose connection terminal (over light unit) or ..
2. In the cable bringing power to the switch.

Use that with some cut green/yellow earth sleeve to connect to the terminal on inside of the wallbox (if metal) and/or the metal switchbox/plate.

Good switchplates should have a dedicated earth terminal included.
No, you are simply breaking the feed, normally the live, to the lamp. However, if there is an earth wire there its best to earth the metal box.
Take no notice of mbzrad101. They have no idea what they are taking about.
Agree with Beso. See diagram 8 here for how you should do it...

Question Author
Thanks for all your good advice, switches now earthed. I was hoping it was belt and braces but not so.
Good .. Glad you're still here : )

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