Whole House Generator Question

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Old 11-23-11, 06:28 AM
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Whole House Generator Question

Hello everyone...As my handle says, I'm Ray, from Northeast PA. Think Poconos. I've installed a 20kw Generac generator for a relative, and I have a simple question. Now that the neutral and ground are bonded in the transfer switch, I installed new ground bars in the main panel, and separated the neutrals and grounds, and removed the bonding screw in the original main panel. Every branch circuit leaving this panel had enough conductors to separate the grounds and neutrals, except the range. All it has are two hots and a ground. For now, the ground is still on what has become the neutral bar, and, to my mind, there's now no 'equipment ground' to the range. And if it matters, the range definitely needs a neutral, as it's a Jennair, with all the bells and whistles. I know that the range is still deriving a neutral/ground through its third conductor, but I'm not comfortable without a separate ground......

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated......Ray
 
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Old 11-23-11, 09:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Ray in PA View Post
All it has are two hots and a ground.
On old range circuits (pre-1996) the ground and neutral is the same conductor -- so it's not one or the other, it's both.

For now, the ground is still on what has become the neutral bar, and, to my mind, there's now no 'equipment ground' to the range.
Correct. What has actually happened here is that by converting the panel from a main panel (with bonded neutral-ground) to a subpanel (unbonded neutral-ground), the range circuit is now not compliant. The shared ground-neutral range circuits were only legal originating from main panels so it is not grandfathered anymore.

And if it matters, the range definitely needs a neutral, as it's a Jennair, with all the bells and whistles.
Sort of yes. To be compatible with existing homes, all the range manufactures design the product to use a shared neutral-ground. It is best to have a separate ground, but it is certainly not an imminent hazard to be without one. The danger comes when/if the neutral wire comes loose or burns off then the metal chassis of the range will become energized creating a potential shock situation.

I know that the range is still deriving a neutral/ground through its third conductor, but I'm not comfortable without a separate ground......
The best solution would be to install a new range circuit using four-conductor cable (#8-3/g for 40A or #6-3/g for 50A) to a new 14-50R range receptacle. The cord set on the range would also need to be changed to a 14-50P, and the ground-neutral bond on the range chassis would need to be disconnected. This is the safest option, but obviously not always the most practical if the kitchen is not easily accessible for running new cable.
 
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Old 11-23-11, 10:16 AM
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The house is less than twenty years old, so I would think that the range circuit should have been four conductor. I checked my own, the same range, and sure enough, only three, two hots and a ground (but my panel is bonded). They are soon replacing the range with a gas cooktop and electric oven, so I will use that opportunity to upgrade the feeder.

A few years ago, an electrical contractor I worked for did a 200 unit dorm building, and all the range feeder cables we installed were four conductor. But, each unit's panels were not bonded, as they were sub-panels, from a main I-line panel on each floor. Yeah, it works fine, but I think I will run a dedicated ground if the main feeder isn't going to be replaced soon. Thanks for the quick response!...Ray
 
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Old 11-23-11, 10:36 AM
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Ray a belated welcome to the forums. I see your journeyman so please pop in when you can to help us answer questions.
 
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Old 11-23-11, 11:45 AM
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I was almost embarrassed to ask such an elementary question, but lately I haven't been working a lot (damned economy, but that's another topic), and I keep running into things I've never seen. I work mostly industrial, and it's all pipe and pulling wire. You tend to get good at just a few things. I almost never do anything residential, and my hat is off to those who do good at it!

Thanks for the welcome! And if I can offer any insights, well, maybe it'll get me out from under my JEEP!
 
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Old 11-23-11, 12:24 PM
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No problem Ray, hope it goes well. In most states the residential code is adopted a couple years after it's adopted in commercial, so no surprise the '96 code wasn't in effect when your house was built. Here in Michigan we just recently switched off the 2005 code to the 2008 code.
 
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