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Changing a light switch what do I do with spare earth wire?

(8 Posts)
Coldhandscoldheart Sun 11-Feb-18 13:26:26

So, changing a metal plate light switch for a plastic one.
New plastic switch has two ports Com & L1
Old metal switch has black wire, red wire and an earth wire (yellow & green).

Googling tells me I don’t need the earth attached as the switch is plastic, but it doesn’t seem quite right to just leave the earth wire hanging. Do I fold the end over, tape it? Is there a special gadget?

I’m annoyed at being frustrated by something so simple & really want to get it done. Many thanks.

OwlBeBack Sun 11-Feb-18 13:27:27

I just taped over the end of mine.

Coldhandscoldheart Sun 11-Feb-18 13:42:51

Thank you! Although I think I might have lost my nerve. I’ve certainly lost DH’s confidence!

johnd2 Sun 11-Feb-18 18:41:42

Don't tape over it that's not secure enough. It could come loose and touch a live wire, then you'd better hope your earthing is up to scratch and your polarity is correct otherwise it's very dangerous to touch any metal part of your house.
What you would do if the back box is metal is connect to the earthing terminal there, if not use a proper terminal block to tighten it into and leave behind the switch. Make sure it's sleeved completely on the exposed bit with green and yellow.

Coldhandscoldheart Sun 11-Feb-18 20:03:28

Okay, I am calling the electrician!

PigletJohn Sun 11-Feb-18 20:11:55

are you sure the backbox hasn't got a brass earth terminal? They usually do.

bottom right hand corner of this pic

some have a galvanised screw clamp instead

Coldhandscoldheart Mon 12-Feb-18 05:41:22

I really can’t see one, which is why I’m confused. I’ll see if I can post a picture.

johnd2 Mon 12-Feb-18 10:07:16

If the back box is plastic it likely won't have a parking terminal for earth wires. The surface mount ones often do, but I'm guessing that it's a flush mount one.
As long as you make sure sleeved the earth in green and yellow sleeving leaving 5mm at the end exposed, and screw into a bit of normal terminal block you'll be fine.
You can get both at b&q or wickes cheaply. The terminal block will come as a strip of 10+ but you just chop one off.
If you want to really do things properly you can put brown sleeving on the switched live, usually it's missing but both conductors are live so should be identified with brown sleeving. However this part isn't related to safety.

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