Hot neutral ?

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Old 10-27-16, 09:50 AM
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Hot neutral ?

The other day I noticed that the lights in the half bath were dim, but I did not think much about it until the lights in the garage started to go off and back on then failed. The other half of the house was fine. I but my tester in a rec and it showed a half hot reading one red one yellow. I pulled off the CB panel and started looking at the neutral bar and sure enough two wires were burned with the shield burned off. I cut the burned wire off and reinstalled them back on the neutral bar and the problem is gone. The reason I'm telling this story is the house was build 13 years ago and it was fine until it was not, and I see a lot of pull this rec. do this do that but the first place I would check is the neutral bar. It is the easy to check and the last thing you want to have is a fire. You can always start going down stream if the bus bar is good.
 
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Old 10-27-16, 03:18 PM
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While you are at it, you should tighten all the screws and set screws holding down the smaller wires in the panel. Turn off each breaker before touching the screw next to it.

Only one neutral wire should be in any given hole in the bus bar. Two ground wires of the same size can share a hole but not touch each other.
 
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Old 10-27-16, 04:16 PM
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Yes... usually the panel is the first place to check and loose neutrals should not be found there..... especially two of them.

If they were in the same hole in the buss bar than your panel needs to be thoroughly checked for other problems.
 
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Old 10-30-16, 07:59 AM
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Hot Neutral

After looking at many post and articles about what is or isn't right about neutrals and grounds on buss bar's it seems a lot of the people know about as much as I do about the codes. I believe that only one ground can be under a neutral buss bar and you can have two grounds under a ground buss bar. I also have found out this may or may not be correct it depends on the year the house was built, and the year of the electrical codes you are using. After looking at my CB panel I have come away with if this guy was an electrician we are all screwed. He has neutrals and grounds under the same screw, more than one neutral under the same screw, well you get the idea. I have a 200 amp service and all the slots are filled, so what would it take to add a ground buss bar and put the neutrals under one screw? I believe this would bring it up to the 2011 electrical code. Does this make workable sense, or do I just leave it because under the old codes this was ok? The house was built in 2003. I live outside of Phoenix AZ any ideas about the cost and do I need a permit for this work? Thanks!
 
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Old 10-30-16, 08:46 AM
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what would it take to add a ground buss bar
$3-$5 and a screw driver. The ground bars are readily available for most panels at home stores and hardware stores. Your panel should already have tapped holes for the ground bar. Check the label inside your box for locations. Ground bars are usually panel specific so be sure to get one for your make and model of panel.
 
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Old 10-30-16, 09:55 AM
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You can have only one neutral in a hole or two ground wires. I've worked on many panels where the neutrals and grounds were mixed and two, three and four wires were sometimes together.

Adding additional ground bars to your panel is a good idea. I would keep the neutrals in the factory installed bars and just move the grounds.
 
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Old 10-30-16, 11:30 AM
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Hot Neutral

So, looking at the last two replies the place for the ground buss bar should be taped and just add the grounds to these bars. I have always done new construction when building up a box so bare with me. This is a large 200 amp Square D service. I would throw the main CB and number the CB to put back in the same place, and then move the grounds to the added bar and separate the neutral so only one is under each screw. I know I missed something so what did I miss? To get by without adding wire nuts on short wire what is the work around? Any help appreciated Thanks.
 
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Old 10-31-16, 11:56 AM
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I believe that only one ground can be under a neutral buss bar and you can have two grounds under a ground buss bar.
It all depends on manufacturer's instructions and that information can be found on the label inside the panel door or on older panels on the label inside the panel box. I believe today that all manufacturers restrict you to one neutral conductor per terminal on the neutral bus, but I know that Eaton actually allows up to three grounding conductors of the same size per terminal. You won't find any of this in the NEC.



After looking at my CB panel I have come away with if this guy was an electrician we are all screwed. He has neutrals and grounds under the same screw, more than one neutral under the same screw, well you get the idea.
Believe it or not, 35 to 40 years ago it was accepted practice to put both the neutral and ground from the same circuit under the same screw. Today most manufacturer's instructions have changed.
 
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Old 10-31-16, 01:53 PM
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Hot neutral

Just when and where I think that we should have consistency it seems we have very little. I have been reading and calling about this problem or lack of a problem depending on who you are talking to. It seems some but not all say it is not a good idea to but more than one neutral under a buss bar screw, until you talk to the next person. This conversation is all over the place, we are dictated by the NEC to do many things that seem strange, and yet one of the items that should be consistent is all over the place. It would seem that electricity is not a problem in one part of the country and it can kill you in other parts. I talked to the company who installed this panel back in 2003 and he said it is still ok to have more than one neutral and grounds mixed, but then everything you guy's are saying they should not be except when they can be. I hope I am not the only person out here that is saying what the? This all started when I had burned wire in the CB box, and I guess I will just make sure all screws are tight, and if the neutral and grounds are mixed or doubled up that is just the way things are. I believe I am done.
 
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Old 10-31-16, 03:33 PM
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The National Electrical Code is revised every three years. Revisions are made when accident/incident reports show a need for more stringent rules. That means that what was once deemed acceptable has been proven to be a hazard that needs to be addressed.

For the most part (AFCI circuit breakers notwithstanding) these changes and additions are NOT enacted on a whim of a single incident but various "code making panels" consisting of electrical inspectors from across the country study the incidents and discuss them to death. Only after a consensus is reached does the recommendation go to the entire code making body for review and possible enactment. It is not an easy nor a quick process.

All that stated, it must also be kept in mind that the NEC is a "model" code and has no power of enforcement. No one from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the parent group that publishes the NEC (and other safety codes) will come slap your hand or fine you for not obeying the recommendations made within the code. HOWEVER, when a legislative body such as a state legislature, county council or city council decides to adopt the provisions of any model code they do so by passing a LAW and that law specifies the penalties for not obeying the code(s).

The enabling legislation has the power to ADD TO or DELETE FROM the model code. This is why different jurisdictions will often have slight differences in their codes. They do not have any requirement to state WHY they changed the model code and sometimes the changes made by the legislation is done for purely political reasons. It does not matter what the NEC may state or what the code in a different jurisdiction may state, YOU must follow the LOCAL code enforced in your jurisdiction.
 
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