Retrofit breaker box with bonding strap

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Old 06-30-16, 06:13 AM
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Retrofit breaker box with bonding strap

Disclaimer -- I am an avid DIYer, but novice with breaker boxes, so let me know if I need to clarify anything.

Hey everyone, I've got a question on adding a bonding strap to an existing breaker box. We are selling a house in Central Illinois, and the buyer's inspection report came up with the following notation:

"Garage Electric Panel - Is the panel bonded? No -- Panel bonding strap is not attached to the buss bar. All main electrical service panels must be bonded to the metal panel box. Repairs are recommended to correct this electrical safety hazard"

I am trying to figure out if this is a 10-minute DIY fix (I have ran new circuits before and generally know how to safely work inside a breaker box, just no expert); or if we are talking a large electrician bill. Or somewhere in between.

Inspectors photo is attached for reference.

On a side note, the inspector mentioned that there is a wire clamp missing. Is it simple to retrofit one? I am hoping it is as straightforward as removing the applicable wires from their terminals, popping in a clamp, routing the wires through the clamp, and re-attaching to the terminals. Am I way off base thinking that this is a 10 minute fix? Photo of this is attached as well.

Thank you all for your help!

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  #2  
Old 06-30-16, 06:30 AM
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The looks like your GEC going to a ground rod or another electrode. Is it solid copper? A black button NM connector could be snapped around it from inside the panel.

As far as the bond strap, it would help to see the rest of the panel and to know if it is right after the meter or is there a disconnect ahead of this panel.

Did the inspector say anything about the grounds aND neutrals in the same holes?
 
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Old 06-30-16, 06:58 AM
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Thanks for the quick reply pcboss!
Unfortunately we have already relocated to Indy, so I'm not able to check those items right now. We have a family member going over there to help us tackle some of the punch list, so I will see if he can snap some better pictures for me. I know it's tough to say for certain given the limited scope of the existing pictures, but are you saying it might be possible to take care of the wire clamp issue without even having to disconnect any of the wiring?
At this point I'm trying to decide which of the buyer's requests I want to address and which I don't. Given that I am trying to take care of this remotely, I am trying to knock out the low-hanging fruit and leave the rest.

As for the inspection report, the bonding strap and wire clamp were the only two electrical items he noted.
 
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Old 06-30-16, 07:26 AM
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The inspector saw the loose bonding strap and jumped to conclusions and wrote that up as a defect.

Case 1: Can you bend the strap up and around so the lower tapered end fits into an empty hole in the bus bar? (You might need to move some other wires to other holes so an empty hole is within reach of the strap.)

Case 2: There is another whole house disconnect switch or breaker (not pictured) upstream, for example under the electric meter. In this case the entire panel needs to be re-arranged with all the bare ground wires going to a different bus bar with its own strap or wire (as fat as the fattest branch circuit bare ground wire present) attached to the panel back while the bus bar with all the white neutral wires does not have a bonding strap or wire to the panel back attached. There would have needed to be a 4 wire cable (or 3 wires in a metal conduit) feeding the subject (and pictured) panel.

If you assume case 1 and also install the clamp to protect the wires going through the hole with sharp edges, chances are the inspector will also assume case 1 and simply check off the items he wrote up as now being fixed.
 
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Old 06-30-16, 09:35 AM
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We need to determine if this is a main panel or a sub panel before adding any more "fixes".
So we 'll wait to see pics or get further info from the OP.

The connector you can use for the wire in the bottom of the panel can be snapped in with the wire in place and from inside the panel.

Arlington Industries 1/2 in. Plastic Push-In Button Connectors - Home Depot
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Old 06-30-16, 05:22 PM
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You probably need the 1/2" button for that wire.

Thanks for the picture Pete,
 
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Old 06-30-16, 07:01 PM
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But is this the first panel after the meter? I don't see that asked or answered or did I read too quick. From the picture I'm pretty sure it is the first but if this is not the first panel and is 4-wire it shouldn't be connected. If it is not the first panel and 3-wire how hard would it be to add a GEC and ground bar to bring it up to current code?
 

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Old 06-30-16, 09:36 PM
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PC asked for pictures and the OP agreed.
 
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Old 07-01-16, 06:25 AM
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Thank you all for the help!
Here are some more pictures of the box. Let me know if I need to get a clearer picture taken of anything. FYI - these are pictures our inspector took when we bought the house 3 years ago, as I am not there to take more pictures right now. The only thing that has changed since these pictures were taken was the addition of one circuit to the breaker.

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Old 07-01-16, 02:59 PM
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Your inspector was no Ansel Adams, grin.

What happens to the large white wire on the right side of the panel? It looks unused. It also looks like a black goes to the neutral lug at the top left.

Is this the first panel after the meter?

Where is the house? I am only seeing possibly one grounding conductor.
 
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