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  1. #1
    RICHARD STEWART's Avatar
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    Unhappy What is the issue with this sub-panel?

    Good afternoon,
    I am selling a house ( and buying another) and have a two quick questions. (1) The home inspector identfied wiring issues in the report related to the sub panel, particulary issues with neutral and ground bonding and grounding. I find this strange since the home is fairly recent (built in 1998) was inspected prior to occupancy. Additionally, I have confirmed two of my neighbors have the same wiring set up, with thier homes built around the same time period. I have pictures to show what the box looks like.

    (2) Fpr the same house, the gas supply for the 3 appliances are done with CSST (Tracpipe?). Does this have to be bonded tot he electrical panel, or would grounding it downstream of the meter at the gas service entrance using a #6 wire, a UL bonding clamp, and a grounding rod be acceptable. (ie would it be identified in a report?)
    Thanks, Richard

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: What is the issue with this sub-panel?

    The pictures are not in your post but it sounds like the panel has the neutral bus bonded to ground when it needs to be isolated. This requires a four wire feed or 3 wire with proper metal conduit from the main panel.
    Sometimes all that is needed is to remove the green bonding screw from the neutral bus but you must have the grounds on another bus.

    The CSST must be bonded to the existing ground rod, meter base or main panel ground bus. A seperate ground rod does not provide equipotential to the grounding system so that can't be used. Most locations started doing this in late 2007.

    Bruce King, B.A. King Home Inspections, LLC
    www.BAKingHomeInspections.com
    Certified Master Inspector, Independent Inspectorwww.IndependentInspectors.org

  3. #3
    RICHARD STEWART's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is the issue with this sub-panel?

    I will try to get pictures posted asap- the ones I have are to large evidently.

    I think I have it right on the CSST tubing now. The gas meter/gas service entrance is about ten feet down the side of the house from the electrical service entrance/main panel box. I believe I will have the bonding clamp (ul-apprroved) attached to the rigid pipe downstream of the meter just before it enters the house. From this I will wire 10' of an insulated #6 wire down to the grounding contact for the main electrical service. My thought is maintains the equipotential(?) by eliminating the additional ground stake I mentioned in the previous post, but doesnt require going thru the house and to the electrical sub panel. If I went thru the sub panel, the ground is where it would wind up eventually anyway, I think. Any thoughts are appreciated. Richard


  4. #4
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    Default Re: What is the issue with this sub-panel?

    Here are the pice for the sub panel, I have also added pictures for the main panel. I see on the sub panel there are neutrals and grounds attached to the same bar, but I also know this was inspected at construction and not changed ( neighbors are the same). Is this an inspector identifying something not normally done, or is it a risk and what is the risk? Thanks again, Richard

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    Default Re: What is the issue with this sub-panel?

    Quote Originally Posted by RICHARD STEWART View Post
    Good afternoon,
    I am selling a house ( and buying another) and have a two quick questions. (1) The home inspector identfied wiring issues in the report related to the sub panel, particulary issues with neutral and ground bonding and grounding. I find this strange since the home is fairly recent (built in 1998) was inspected prior to occupancy. Additionally, I have confirmed two of my neighbors have the same wiring set up, with thier homes built around the same time period. I have pictures to show what the box looks like.

    (2) Fpr the same house, the gas supply for the 3 appliances are done with CSST (Tracpipe?). Does this have to be bonded tot he electrical panel, or would grounding it downstream of the meter at the gas service entrance using a #6 wire, a UL bonding clamp, and a grounding rod be acceptable. (ie would it be identified in a report?)
    Thanks, Richard
    Quote Originally Posted by RICHARD STEWART View Post
    Here are the pice for the sub panel, I have also added pictures for the main panel. I see on the sub panel there are neutrals and grounds attached to the same bar, but I also know this was inspected at construction and not changed ( neighbors are the same). Is this an inspector identifying something not normally done, or is it a risk and what is the risk? Thanks again, Richard

    Richard,

    Yep, the neutrals and grounds are connected together on the same terminal bar (this can be seen in the second and third photos). If this is indeed a "sub" panel (JP, don't yell at me ), then this is indeed improper and neutral and ground should be isolated. This is quite often overlooked by the official building inspector and poorly understood by a shocking number of electricians.

    The risk is that current can and will travel down any wire that is available. Ground is to be used only as a failsafe, but in this case, it will end up carrying neutral current. The grounds should be isolated onto their own buss bar to prevent them from carrying current, except in the event of a short circuit.

    Bonding of CSST is confusing and poorly understood by many. In short, yes it should be bonded. I recommend referring to the manufacturer's installation instructions for specifics.

    Hope this helps.

    Department of Redundancy Department
    http://www.FullCircleInspect.com/

  6. #6
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    Default Re: What is the issue with this sub-panel?

    Gunnar,
    Thanks for the post. I think I understand now. The neutral is the first layer of protection for wayward current, with the ground as last ditch. If these two are connected, you essentially create only one layer of protection. It seems like a fairly reasoanble fix, the neutrals attach to one of the two non-grounded buses, both the "bridge" connected to the panel on the right side and the green screw are removed, and the ground wires are wired into the bus attached directly to the back of the box. I am in all likelihood going to have a Licensed electrician perform the actual work, but this helps me ensure he actually fixes it, and at the same time doesnt gig me on some expensive fix.


    As for the CSST pipe bonding, I have pulled the 2007 instructions from the manufacturer (Trac-Pipe) and plan on proceeding with my orginal bonding plan, or since the gas water heater is 8 feet away from the sub panel and a black iron stub out is visible, having the electrician pull a strand of #6 and wire it in to the "new" ground bus and a ul clamp.

    I know I know, dont quit my day job.


  7. #7
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    Default Re: What is the issue with this sub-panel?

    Richard,

    Going through the photos from last to first, with the last being the "service equipment", this is what I see:
    - "Service equipment" panel outside has a white conductor which is being used as a hot conductor and needs to be permanently reidentified to red or black (or some other acceptable 'hot' color, but preferably red).
    - The first thing with the "sub panel" is that it is not installed in a "sub", it is installed in a "house" and is therefore simply a "distribution panel" - be that as it may be ...
    - The first thing I see wrong with the "distribution panel" is that there is a metal cross over bar connecting the neutral terminal bar on the right with the grounding terminal bar on the left - that needs to be removed, keep in mind that some panels with those installed require a plastic cross over bar be installed when the metal one is removed.
    - The second thing I see wrong with the distribution panel is that there is a bonding strap installed and a bonding screw installed, both of which are bonding the right side grounding terminal bar to ground (the enclosure) and to the neutral terminal bar (where the neutral conductor lands). The neutral conductors in that grounding terminal bar need to be removed and installed into the neutral terminal bar, and the ground bonding strap needs to be removed from the neutral terminal bar. The grounding terminal bar on the right needs to be bonded directly to ground (the enclosure) and the neutral terminal bar at the back of the breakers needs to be isolated from ground.
    - The third thing I see is the use of the left side neutral terminal bar as a ground bar. Either the neutral conductors need to be removed and installed on the right side neutral terminal bar, along with the removal of the metal cross over bar referenced above, or, leave the metal cross over bar and the neutral conductors and remove the grounding conductor from the main terminal to that terminal bar and remove the grounding conductors from that neutral bar. A new grounding terminal bar will need to be installed on the left side to accommodate the main grounding conductor and the other grounding conductors being moved from the neutral terminal bar.
    - The last thing I see in the distribution panel is that whoever wired it has no concept of how and where the neutral should be grounded and how and where the neutral should be isolated from ground.

    At least the feeders going to this distribution panel has an insulated neutral and a separate grounding conductor - otherwise that feeder conductor cable would have to be replaced too.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  8. #8
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    Default Re: What is the issue with this sub-panel?

    is this a manufactured home?


  9. #9
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    Default Re: What is the issue with this sub-panel?

    Has something changed? no one mentioned the lack of antioxident on the alum. wires


  10. #10
    RICHARD STEWART's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is the issue with this sub-panel?

    The home is an on-site stick built 1-story, started in April of 1998, and finished in September of 1998. I am fustrated to say the least at how this was missed along the way, but right now I am most concerned with fixing it. This is a Siemens panel box, does anyone know if they require ( or make) a plastic cross over bar?

    Jerry, thanks for the post- I now have a very clear expectation from my electrician coming over tommorow morning.

    Stanley, I will mention the oxidation coating to the electrician as well.


  11. #11
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    Default Re: What is the issue with this sub-panel?

    Please laugh if it stikes you, but here is what I think should happen, based on post I have read thus far. I have opted to leave in the metal cross over bar, and feel this really makes sure the neutrals and grounds are in deed isolated. They will each have 2 bus bars, the neutrals using the ones mounted just below the breakers. The ground bus bars will be mounted to the back of the panel itself, wih the ground coming in moved to the ground bus bar attached on the left. Any thoughts? Thanks in advance.

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    Default Re: What is the issue with this sub-panel?

    Quote Originally Posted by RICHARD STEWART View Post
    Any thoughts?

    Yes, have a licensed electrician evaluate it an make the appropriate repairs.

    MinnesotaHomeInspectors.com
    Minnesota Home Inspectors LLC
    ASHI #242887 mnradontesting.com

  13. #13
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    Default Re: What is the issue with this sub-panel?

    Ken,

    DUH! Have you not read my previous post? That is exactly what I am doing. I thought this board was for homeowners to post questions and get some helpful answers, which most of the repliers have been very generous to do. I am trying to understand this so if by some chance the licensed electrician has as much knowledge as the guy who wired it orginally the reinspection does not come back with a "hire a licensed electrician".My goal is to make sure the prospective buyer gets a house free of material defects as soon as possible. not pay an horses end inspector such as yourself a ton of unneccessary reinspection fees.
    By the way I have alot of repsect for the current inspector, as he idenitfied issues the city code official and my inspector (when I bought the house) missed.

    For your sake Ken,

    Any constructive thoughts?


  14. #14

    Default Re: What is the issue with this sub-panel?

    As someone familiar with the area you are located in…it depends on who inspected the home back in1998...In Raleigh if you are in the "city" they are fairly consistent but in the county it is not as predictable. I know this should not be... but it is! Sorry that you are going through this after but the Raleigh and your home inspectors missed the issues. In some cases they might not have seen the bonding issue depending on how visible everything was but the panels should have been noticed!
    The previous responses have hit the issues and as usual JP has outline then well.
    Best of luck.

    Jeff Zehnder - Home Inspector, Raleigh, NC
    http://www.jjeffzehnder.com/
    http://carolinahomeinspections.com/

  15. #15
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    Default Re: What is the issue with this sub-panel?

    Quote Originally Posted by RICHARD STEWART View Post
    Ken,

    DUH! Have you not read my previous post? That is exactly what I am doing. I thought this board was for homeowners to post questions and get some helpful answers, which most of the repliers have been very generous to do. I am trying to understand this so if by some chance the licensed electrician has as much knowledge as the guy who wired it orginally the reinspection does not come back with a "hire a licensed electrician".My goal is to make sure the prospective buyer gets a house free of material defects as soon as possible. not pay an horses end inspector such as yourself a ton of unneccessary reinspection fees.
    By the way I have alot of repsect for the current inspector, as he idenitfied issues the city code official and my inspector (when I bought the house) missed.

    For your sake Ken,

    Any constructive thoughts?
    From your previous posts, which I did read, it appears you're trying to gain enough knowledge from the members here to do the work yourself. By your last post, it seams as if you have an aversion to paying people for the proper information or proper work. You've went so far as to draw up a wiring diagram for the panel and are attempting to get approval for your engineering. If you truly want the prospective buyer to get a house free of material defects, hire an electrician, pull an electrical permit and get the work done.

    MinnesotaHomeInspectors.com
    Minnesota Home Inspectors LLC
    ASHI #242887 mnradontesting.com

  16. #16
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    Default Re: What is the issue with this sub-panel?

    Quote Originally Posted by RICHARD STEWART View Post
    Please laugh if it stikes you, but here is what I think should happen, based on post I have read thus far. I have opted to leave in the metal cross over bar, and feel this really makes sure the neutrals and grounds are in deed isolated. They will each have 2 bus bars, the neutrals using the ones mounted just below the breakers. The ground bus bars will be mounted to the back of the panel itself, wih the ground coming in moved to the ground bus bar attached on the left. Any thoughts? Thanks in advance.
    Richard,

    That was the second option I mentioned.

    One option was to turn the left terminal bar into a grounding terminal bar and bond it to the enclosure, this would require removing the cross over bar and moving the neutrals to the right neutral terminal bar.

    The second option was to leave the cross over bar and leave the neutrals on the left neutral terminal bar, and add a second grounding terminal bar just as you show in your drawing.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

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