Touching neutral in main panel


Old 11-30-06, 10:14 AM
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Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Orange County, CA
Posts: 331
Exclamation Touching neutral in main panel

Ok, this scared me the first time it happened, and I am sure to get a lot of "how could you be so unsafe?" comments, but here goes.

I have putting new breakers in my new panels and connecting the wires to the breaker and the nuetral bus bar. I have yet to cut the main power to do this and occassionally I have touched the nuetral bus bar by accident. I was just wondering how dangerous this is even though I haven't gotten shocked yet?
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Old 11-30-06, 10:24 AM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Central New York State
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Extremely dangerous. Neutral wires carry current, and you can just as easily be killed by a neutral wire as you can be by a hot wire.

You should always shut off the main breaker when adding or removing wires or breakers.
Old 11-30-06, 10:48 AM
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> how dangerous this is even though I haven't gotten shocked yet?

In a main panel, touching the neutral bus is not hazardous if your grounding and bonding are correct. It is the same as touching the panel cover or exposed copper plumbing. Still, if you can accidentally touch the neutral bus, you can accidentally touch the hot bus. Switch the main breaker off!

In a subpanel, a branch circuit or anywhere outside the main panel, the neutral conductor is a shock hazard.
***Moderator's note: "No Main Breaker" Thread has been split. See here----->>>>

Last edited by DIYaddict; 11-30-06 at 03:15 PM. Reason: See moderator's note in post
Old 11-30-06, 08:17 PM
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If you don't know, Or even botherd to find out, Before this... Leave me the horse shoe.

Last edited by stickshift; 11-30-06 at 08:33 PM. Reason: Removed quoting of entire post
Old 12-03-06, 09:24 AM
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Virginia Beach
Posts: 221
I just replaced several of my single switch/single pole breakers with double switch types to make room in my panel and to have fresh new breakers (mine were looking old). I turned off my main breaker (no need to convince me about the consequences) and yeah, I had to reset a few clocks. Anyway I was wondering why you had to mess with the neutral bar wires at all? I simply just disconnected, and re-connect the exisitng wires to the breaker itself.
Old 12-03-06, 11:41 AM
Join Date: Aug 2004
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Posts: 1,065
Because the panel is new also not just changing out old breakers for new.


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