Neutral and Ground Bus Mixed

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by Todd Groendyke, Aug 22, 2013.

  1. Todd Groendyke

    Todd Groendyke New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    Georgia
    Hello: I recently bought a 1950's house. I was examining the electrical panel and it looks like neutral and ground lines are mixed in the the neutral and ground bus. Some neutral are on the ground bus, some ground on the neutral, etc. Is there any reason for doing this? Is it a problem? Should I leave it alone or switch all the neutrals and grounds to their proper bars?

    Thanks,

    Todd

    neutralground.jpg
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2013
  2. DonL

    DonL Out of the Trades

    Messages:
    3,921
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    Are you going by wire color ?

    It looks a bit mixed up to me.

    If you update it you should bring it up to code.

    Older homes did not have a safety ground.
  3. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

    Messages:
    2,531
    Location:
    North Carolina
    That looks like the service panel or I would be more correct if I stated this looks like the service disconnecting enclosure and if my assumption is correct and the two terminal bars are bonded together and to the enclosure there is no problem with the panel.
  4. Todd Groendyke

    Todd Groendyke New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    Georgia
    These photos might show it a little better. My main concern is that neutrals (white) and grounds (bare copper) seemed to be mixed on these bars. Shouldn't all the neutrals be on the neutral bar and all grounds on ground... or does it matter? Or is there a reason to mix them?
    Ground.jpg Neutral.jpg
  5. Speedy Petey

    Speedy Petey Licensed Electrical Contractor

    Messages:
    991
    Location:
    NY State, USA
    There is NO separate neutral or ground bar in that main panel. Both bars serve BOTH purposes.
    It is FINE.
  6. Murphy625

    Murphy625 Member

    Messages:
    149
    Location:
    Michigan
    If the house was built in the 1950's, that panel is not the original and has already been updated. Looks fairly new to me.

    I would almost go out on a limb to say that the panel was updated just to sell the home. Judging by the lack of oxidation, dust, debris, etc, I would say that panel was installed within the past 5 years.
  7. DonL

    DonL Out of the Trades

    Messages:
    3,921
    Location:
    Houston, TX

    That is a much better picture.

    It looks fine.
  8. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    3,901
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    Hard to tell wire size on that pic, but there is a mix of 15 and 20 amp breakers yet some of the wires look to be the same size.
  9. Stuff

    Stuff Member

    Messages:
    51
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Both bars are tied together via the factory strap so they are logically the same bar.

    Other issue is that neutrals are sharing lugs. They should be on their own. Grounding wires can share if mentioned on the panel label.
  10. DonL

    DonL Out of the Trades

    Messages:
    3,921
    Location:
    Houston, TX

    Good point. I did notice that.

    There were spares that could have been used.

    I think it may be ok if the ground and neutral go to the same circuit.
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2013
  11. adsforpay

    adsforpay New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    Arkansas
    This is not really related to the original question... but I couldn't help but notice... On the top row of breakers, on the left is a 30A two pole labeled "Dryer", with what looks like 10Ga wire. Which is fine, but using those wires as a size comparison, on the right end of that same row of breakers is a 40A double pole, labeled "Air Cond", with what looks to be 12Ga wire. They look like the same size wire as on all the 15A and 20A breakers. If so, those wires are not protected by a 40A breaker. Maybe the OP can confirm or deny what seems to be in the pic.
  12. DonL

    DonL Out of the Trades

    Messages:
    3,921
    Location:
    Houston, TX

    The OP was asking about the grounds.

    You are correct "This is not really related to the original question... "


    But it is nice to keep people safe.
  13. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

    Messages:
    2,531
    Location:
    North Carolina
    What I said .
  14. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

    Messages:
    2,531
    Location:
    North Carolina
    We size the conductor by the minimum circuit amperage and the breaker by the maximum circuit amperage therefore it is possible to have #14 protected by a 40 amp breaker on any motor appliance such as AC or heat pump. The running overload that is in the compressor will protect the motor and conductors from overload. The breaker protects against ground fault and short circuits.
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