RE: post #121865 - expanded

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jxofaltrds

Senior Member
Location
Mike P. Columbus Ohio
Occupation
ESI
RE: post #121865 - expanded

I believe that this post (#121865), in part, was started because Home Inspectors are inspecting the interior of electrical panels and calling a grounded conductor and an equipment grounding conductor in a Square D QO panel as a defect.
http://forums.mikeholt.com/showthread.php?t=121865

Is this a defect? I say no. It maybe a code violation if the NEC was codified in the area where this panel was installed.

If nothing was codified then we have no code violation.

Now we go to safety as the other reason that it could be a defect.

Is it unsafe to have the grounded conductor and the EGC under the same terminal in the above panel? Again I say no.

Is it dangerous to a person working on the panel? I say no unless you are not qualified to work on electric.

Why? We all know that there is no reason to work ?live? on a residential panel if you are following OSHA rules.

So is it a hazard to the structure or the occupants? I say no.

Can anyone explain to me how this could be dangerous (unsafe) to the structure or the occupants?

I am assuming that the wires are properly torqued. Just one grounded conductor and one EGC under the same terminal.
 

raider1

Senior Member
Staff member
Location
Logan, Utah
I have had many service calls where the problem was that there were multiple neutrals under a single lug in a neutral bar. The screw seemed tight but one of the conductors did not have adequate connection and had gotten hot and burned the wire off.

The NEC rule for not having more than 1 neutral under a single screw was part of the UL listing and the manufactures installation for quite a while before it came into the NEC.

In fact I believe that the reason for putting it into the NEC is it was not being followed from the installation instructions.

Chris
 

iwire

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Massachusetts
I would also point out that HIs are not code inspectors, they are just a set of eyes for the buyer that may have no background in any trade. It is then between the seller and the buyer to decide what, if anything to do about the HIs findings.
 

jaylectricity

Senior Member
Location
Massachusetts
Occupation
licensed journeyman electrician
As somebody who is not going to pull the meter out to kill power to the whole house when working on somebody's panel, I hope OSHA doesn't show up when I'm cutting in a new circuit for a couple of receptacles.

But I believe a good reason not to have both the grounded and the grounding conductor under the same terminal is that the chance of both failing at the same time increases.
 

charlie b

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Staff member
Location
Seattle, WA
Occupation
Electrical Engineer
If you are talking about the main panel (i.e., since the grounded and grounding are tied together within that panel anyway), and if you do indeed have good contact with both conductors and the metal screw connector, and if anyone doing work on the affected circuit(s) at least turns off the main breaker (if not actually pulling the meter as well), then the system will work in exactly the same way it would had the two wires been placed under separate screws on their own designated bar. That?s a lot of ?ifs.? It would be perfectly safe if all the ?ifs? really are what they need to be.

My problem with the situation is that nothing in the question made it clear that the grounded and grounding wires come from the same circuit. Looking at it from the perspective of the Home Inspector (or the EC hired to do an electrical inspection prior to the sale of the house), if you come across a white-insulated wire and a bare copper wire under the same screw, how much work will that person do to find out whether the two are from the same circuit? Is it even possible to be certain?

Now look at it from the perspective of the future electrician hired to do some remodeling work (i.e., to remove a circuit from service). You see two wires under the same screw, you trace out the white wire?s circuit, you turn off its circuit breaker, you loosen the screw that holds the two wires, and you just unwittingly disconnected the EGC from some unrelated circuit. Should a qualified electrician be able to tell the difference? Yes. But what if several circuits left the panel via the same conduit? Again, is it even possible to discern the difference?

So what I am saying is that the safety issue does not related to well connected wires in normal service. The safety issue has to do with future maintenance activities.
 

jxofaltrds

Senior Member
Location
Mike P. Columbus Ohio
Occupation
ESI
I agree with you guys.

My point is : Is it a defect?

Home Inspectors are looking for defects to the structure.

Many parts of a structure are difficult to work on and require knowledge but are they defects?

Again does it pose a problem to the structure or the occupants. I am not talking about working on the panel.

Is it unsafe? If so please educate me.

Many Home Inspectors say that these wires "must' be seperated.
Should they? Maybe.
Must they? I say no.
 

charlie b

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Seattle, WA
Occupation
Electrical Engineer
There are some organizations that have the authority to command that an existing situation be rectified. There are some that also have the authority to command the electric utility to remove power, until such time as the situation has been rectified. A Home Inspector has no such authority. The phrase "must be" lies outside the limitations of that profession.

So let's restrict our discussion to the NEC.

I think the situation you are describing is a code violation. I also think that, presuming all the "ifs" I alluded to earlier are true, it does not represent a threat to life or safety. As soon as someone starts working in the panel, however, all bets are off.

Let me phrase my opinion this way: If this were my house, and if I were planning to sell the house, and if a HI noticed this condition in my panel and wrote it up as a "defect," then I would enter the negotiations with the prospective buyer with the initial offer of, "I will get it fixed, if you pay for it, or you can get it fixed after you buy the house, but nothing requires me to fix it now." Then I would see what offer they come back with.
 

jxofaltrds

Senior Member
Location
Mike P. Columbus Ohio
Occupation
ESI
Charlie

If nothing was codified there would be no code violation.

I just want to know if it is an unsafe condition.

I understand the 'working' on it arguement.

Using your own home example. If you stayed in the home would the installation scare you?
 

charlie b

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Seattle, WA
Occupation
Electrical Engineer
Using your own home example. If you stayed in the home would the installation scare you?
It would not. If I noticed such a thing myself, and if there were spare points available on the N and G buses, I might consider getting it fixed. But I would not lose sleep during the interim before it gets fixed.

 

LarryFine

Master Electrician Electric Contractor Richmond VA
Location
Henrico County, VA
Occupation
Electrical Contractor
My point is : Is it a defect?

Many Home Inspectors say that these wires "must' be seperated.
Should they? Maybe.
Must they? I say no.
I say it depends on whether it was compliant when installed, just as with kitchen counters that are not GFCI protected.

Was it required when the house was built?

Would it be a nice upgrade? Yes.

Must it be upgraded? No.
 

LarryFine

Master Electrician Electric Contractor Richmond VA
Location
Henrico County, VA
Occupation
Electrical Contractor
Inspected and approved and compliant then it is OK.? Yes.?
Yes. An HI's suggestions are just that. A buyer can attempt to use the HI's report to reduce the selling price, and the seller can use whatever means necessary to refute the HI's report.

I've done so on more than one occasion. Whether they're correct, they're correct,but when they're wrong, they're wrong.
 
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