Ground Wire in a Nearly Full Load Center

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  #1  
Old 04-14-15, 11:08 AM
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Ground Wire in a Nearly Full Load Center

I'm running a new circuit for a sump pump and have a question.

I have an old Cutler Hammer panel that's pretty full. There is a 20amp breaker that's unused so I wanted to use that for the dedicated circuit for the new pump. Most of the existing ground wires are wrapped around the screws on the romex clamps where they enter the panel. I only have one open screw on the neutral plate (it's just a plate with pan-head screws - not a bus bar).

My question is, could I still wrap the ground around the clamp's screw so that I'd only need to run the neutral down? Or do I really need to take it down to the plate with the neutral?

I've got a copy of NEC 2011, but not being an electrician, it's like reading Chinese.

Thanks.

P.S. I just wanted to add that I am using new 12-2 romex.
 

Last edited by Adam63; 04-14-15 at 11:13 AM. Reason: Clarification
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  #2  
Old 04-14-15, 12:40 PM
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The best course of action is to buy and add-on ground bar kit ($10) and screw it to the panel box in the tapped holes. Any of the existing or new ground wires can go to the new ground bar. Neutral wires must go to the neutral bus, one-per-screw.
 
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Old 04-14-15, 01:17 PM
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Thanks Ben.

One problem is, there are no tapped holes in my box (58 years old). If I were to drill/tap some holes to mount a new ground bar, would this be okay? Is being grounded to the box by the screws enough or do I need to run a heavier gauge wire from the ground bar to the neutral bus?
 
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Old 04-14-15, 01:44 PM
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Some Cutler panels require holes to be drilled for the bars.
 
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Old 04-14-15, 01:46 PM
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Is it okay to mount it to the side of the box or does it need to be on the back?
 
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Old 04-14-15, 02:27 PM
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Either would work. Make sure the cover will fit after the bar is installed.
 
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Old 04-14-15, 02:28 PM
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There should be (usually) pre-tapped holes for it in the box. That is where it goes.
 
  #8  
Old 04-14-15, 06:27 PM
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Suggest scraping the paint off the back of the box where the new ground bus bar would go. That would improve the electrical contact.
 
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