Grounding and neutral bus bars

Old 03-29-04, 06:38 AM
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Question Grounding and neutral bus bars

Have a Siemens 100 amp service panel. There has been water trickeling in the SEC, and has rusted the neutral bus bar and several breakers on the left side of panel. I noticed that previous owner attached grounding electrode connector from ground rod to a terminal on the neutral bar. The grounding bar is bonded to the panel by a strap. Most grounding and neutral wires are attached to the grounding bus bar, probably because the screws on neutral bus are too rusted to operate.

I will be installing new panel as soon as I can.

My questions are:
1. Is it acceptable to use the grounding and neutral bus bars interchangeably? Both neutral and ground wires are attached to either bar. What are the consequences of this.

2. Should you have grounding electrode conductor attached to the neutral bus bar (where the neutral conductor from SEC is connected)?

3. My electrician took one look at the panel to quote new SEC and grounding, and told me he hates "ITC" brand panels. I'm not sure of those letters - I only know it as Siemens. Since I'll be buying new panel soon - what is the best brand? Square D seems to be the most expensive.

Thanks for the help!
Old 03-29-04, 07:09 AM
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When your house receives power from the utility, there are three wires involved. Two hot wires and one return.

At the main panel in your house the return must be grounded. This is done in a variety of ways, but usually involves the cold water pipes entering the house and an additional ground rod.

Because the return is grounded at the main panel, there is no need to separate the return and ground wires for circuits at this panel. They may be connected to the same buss bar. Usually one buss bar is not big enough for all the wires, so there is one on each side of the panel. In the main panel either bar may be used.

It is only at sub panels in the residence that the ground wires and return wires need to be separated.

As for which brand of panel to use, you are likely to get many different answers. Rather than recommending one, I would suggest that you go with the recommendation of the electrician. Since he or she will be doing the work, you want to keep him or her happy.
Old 03-29-04, 07:40 AM
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Racraft addressed your concerns and I agree that it would be best to let the electrician use the panel he likes best, but if he doesn't have a clear preference, check out the GE Powermark Gold line of panels. Copper bus bars, long neutral/ground bars, plenty of room to work, readily available accessories. That's my two cents worth anyway.

The terms Siemens and ITE are often used interchangeably.

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