How To: Ground a chandelier

April 17, 2013

QI have a solid brass chandelier that was handed down from my grandmother and dates to the 1960s. It is in good shape and worked fine when I removed it during the remodel of her house in 2010, which is when I realized it doesn’t have a ground wire. I’m pretty handy around the house and was wondering if I could add the ground wire, or should I have it done professionally? I received an estimate for $150 from an electrical contractor but think that is expensive for something I should be able to do. If not, where can I have it done for a more reasonable rate?

Manassas

AMike Furchak, manager and repairman at Lamp Factory Outlet in Springfield (703-569-5330; www.thelampfactoryoutlet.com), says it’s not usually necessary to rewire a chandelier in order to ground it. The main stem of the fixture and its arms are typically all screwed together, so grounding the whole chandelier usually involves just running a ground wire down the chain to a place where it can be attached, such as the center threaded pipe at the top. Then, when you install the chandelier, you can connect the other end of the ground wire to the grounding screw in the outlet box in the ceiling. Of course, this works only if the house wiring is grounded.

Adding the grounding wire to a chandelier usually costs $10 to $15, Furchak said. Rewiring starts at around $20 but goes up depending on the design of the chandelier.


Grounding a chandelier. (Reader photo)

If you decide to tackle the job yourself, be aware that if you have a chandelier with plastic arms, you might need more than one ground wire to make sure that all of the metal parts are grounded. Attach the end securely, such as with a threaded machine screw tightened into a hole in the fixture.

I am going to renovate a kitchen and want to use my grandmother’s stove. I am 70, so that gives you a clue to the age of the stove. Do you know of a company that updates old stoves?

Washington

Joe Kuhnke, who does repairs for M&M Appliance in Washington (202-882-7100; www.mandmappliance.com), takes on jobs like yours. He’s often able to find parts he needs through his boss’s collection of antique stoves or in a stockpile of stoves that customers discarded when they asked M&M to install new ones. Kuhnke suggests calling him directly at 202-534-7665 to make an appointment so he can look at your grandmother’s stove and discuss what it needs to be in good working order. If the stove is a gas-burner, one upgrade you might want to consider is replacing the pilot lights with electronic ignition devices.

Kuhnke usually charges $50 an hour.

HHave a problem in your home? Send questions to localliving@washpost.com. Put “How To” in the subject line, tell us where you live and try to include a photo.

The Checklist Read Jeanne Huber’s roundup of home-improvement tasks you should tackle in April, such as resealing the driveway, at washingtonpost.com/home.

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