Welcome to the DoItYourself Forums!

To post questions, help other DIYers and reduce advertising (like the one on your left), join our DIY community. It's free!

Neutrals pigtailed together in breaker box


Derstig's Avatar
Member

Join Date: Jun 2017
Posts: 296

02-12-18, 04:51 PM   #1 (permalink)  
Neutrals pigtailed together in breaker box

I have this case where 2-3 neutrals are grouped and pigtailed together and this is done twice so across 6 circuits, 2 neutrals connect to neutral bus instead of 6. Is this dangerous? I dont know why this was done but I can only guess that it was because breakers were moved and cable wasnt long enough because I can see the hot wires also pigtailed to the breakers. But in the case of hot wires there is obviously 1-1 pigtail between original wire and breaker.

 
Sponsored Links
pattenp's Avatar
Member

Join Date: Feb 2016
Posts: 672
VA

02-12-18, 05:07 PM   #2 (permalink)  
It's okay as long as the neutrals pigtailed together are all on one circuit served by one single pole breaker or a double pole breaker for a multiwire circuit where the neutral is shared. But your description of 6 circuits is of concern. If you have the neutrals from multiple circuits combined where they are not a single multiwire branch circuit can potentially over load the pigtailed neutral. Example is if you have two 20A circuits that are on the same panel leg and the neutrals are pigtailed together you have the potential of putting 40A on that pigtail. Two 20A circuits on opposite legs from each other only have a potential difference of 20A where using a shared neutral.

 
Derstig's Avatar
Member

Join Date: Jun 2017
Posts: 296

02-12-18, 05:12 PM   #3 (permalink)  
This damn house, seriously.... who did they hire here? The stuff I m discovering here is just amazing and I m not even electrician and I m sure if an electrician looked at this he would find a lot more red flags than I can.

no this is not a MWBC. 6 incoming neutrals from 6 different circuits turn into 2 pigtails to 2 final wires to 2 bus bar connections.

the problem is I dont know how to make such a large reorganize there without electrocuting myself. Is there a way to wrap the big hot wires from the street with something so I dont shock myself? Or is the only way to shut power off from outside but thats inside my meter and there is a lock on it.

 
pattenp's Avatar
Member

Join Date: Feb 2016
Posts: 672
VA

02-12-18, 05:19 PM   #4 (permalink)  
The only way to kill power to the panel is to turn off the main breaker to kill all loads and then cut the meter tab and pull the meter. I highly advise against this because power companies frown on this being done by a DIY'er. Most places you need to be a licensed electrician to do this.

 
pattenp's Avatar
Member

Join Date: Feb 2016
Posts: 672
VA

02-12-18, 05:28 PM   #5 (permalink)  
You can try to wrap the lugs with tape where the main service wires attach ahead of the main breaker. Doing this is not for the faint of heart but will offer protection from you accidently touching the hot lugs while working in the panel. The thing is not touching the lugs while taping them up.

 
Derstig's Avatar
Member

Join Date: Jun 2017
Posts: 296

02-12-18, 05:35 PM   #6 (permalink)  
oh boy....

Speaking of electrocution and taking precautions, you should have seen me today adding my first breaker. Rubber gloves, check, rubber car mats on my feet check, rubber shoes, check, wife on standby with a 1x1 with instructions to disconnect me from electricity, check.

no i m not wrapping around 600 volts (or is it even more?) of potentially thousands of kilo amps lol. I rather ask the electrical company and have them send someone over. I m sure there is a way this can be coordinated with them.

 
lambition's Avatar
Member

Join Date: Nov 2015
Posts: 600
VA

02-12-18, 05:50 PM   #7 (permalink)  
Residential electricity in the US is only 240V between 2 lines and 120V to the ground.
Don't have to worry about 600+V .

Working on residential electricity is quiet safe so long and you know how it works and what not to touch.

 
pattenp's Avatar
Member

Join Date: Feb 2016
Posts: 672
VA

02-12-18, 05:54 PM   #8 (permalink)  
It is not the voltage that kills you, it is the amperage.

 
lambition's Avatar
Member

Join Date: Nov 2015
Posts: 600
VA

02-12-18, 06:01 PM   #9 (permalink)  
It is not the voltage that kills you, it is the amperage.
Very true. I was talking about in terms of arcing possibilities.

Just work with main breaker off, then there is only 2 spots that you need to worry about.

 
Search this Thread