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Does code require a ceiling fan to be grounded?
Sunday, June 26, 2022
The National Electrical Code does not address the grounding of ceiling fans directly. But it does state that electrical equipment (which obviously includes ceiling fans) in a grounded electrical system must be grounded. Also, "the non-current carrying conductive materials enclosing electrical conductors or equipment” must be bonded [NEC 250.4(A)(2,3)]. The fan manufacturer has already connected the metal shell and other exposed parts of the fan motor to the ground wire, so bonding occurs when the ground wire is connected to the home's electrical system ground.
We often find ungrounded ceiling fans in homes built before the early 1960s, before lighting and receptacle circuits were code-mandated to be grounded. Then there’s homeowner-installed fans where the ground connection is sometimes left open.
The primary purpose of grounding and bonding is to avoid getting shocked. Ceiling fans are less of a shock hazard than other electrical equipment because they are mostly out of reach, except for the pull chain. And the fan functions just fine without a ground connection. But determining whether or not to ground electrical appliances in your home based on the odds of injury or death is a risky proposition. One-in-a-million events happen every day.
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