Ground connections not to code - how much to worry?

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Old 12-02-18, 06:39 PM
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Ground connections not to code - how much to worry?

I spent some time in my panel this weekend installing AFCI breakers (not required but I wanted them for safety...). It seems that my panel doesnít have enough terminals to properly terminate neutrals 1:1 even if you triple up grounds. Itís an older Westinghouse BR panel circa 1987. (Rated for 30 circuits, only has 31 terminals between the connected neutral and ground buses.)

Because of this a large number of ground wires (~10) are twisted into a massive, tight cable and inserted into a single large terminal. Now I know thatís not to code, but honestly how dangerous could that be at this point? I checked and it (and everything else) is solidly connected to the terminal. The panel has been inspected at least once when I added a circuit and pulled permits. And the home inspector never flagged this.

I added a new ground bus bar while I was at it and moved enough untwisted grounds around so the neutrals are all 1:1 now. I could eventually sort out the twisted ground bundle but I ran out of time to do so this weekend. Iím tempted to leave it until we finish our basement in the spring and let the electrician deal with it then if need be. Particularly as Iím closing in on the rated capacity and may just pay to swap the panel for a new one anyway as part of that. (Or Iíd need a subpanel.) Am I wrong that this would be safe for now?

Also, just to triple check...I donít need a jumper to the new ground bar, correct? No neutrals are landing there. I did have to drill one of my own holes (am using the supplied screws) as the Eaton ground bar holes didnít line up, but both screws are tight and I read 0 ohms of resisstance from the new bar to the old one.
 
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Old 12-02-18, 07:10 PM
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Not to code, but not an imminent hazard either.

No jumper needed.
 
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Old 12-02-18, 08:41 PM
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Because of this a large number of ground wires (~10) are twisted into a massive, tight cable and inserted into a single large terminal.
I have seen that very often in the old panels. (mid 60s to 70s) The ones I saw did not have ground bus bar at all and just and 2 or 3 lugs screwed to the panel and all ground wires twisted to 1 or 2 lugs. I guess inspectors did not have problem with that back then.
While it is not to the code, it should work fine as is.
The code doesn't really say how many ground wires you can put under the lug, but it is determined by the manufacturer's spec. Which usually states maximum of 3.

Also, just to triple check...I don’t need a jumper to the new ground bar, correct?
Don't need jumper if ground wire is connected the chassis of the panel through ground bus bar or a lug. Also neutral needs to be bonded to ground if it is the main panel.

I have seen main panel that did not have neural bonded to the ground, which is not right.
 
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Old 12-03-18, 05:08 AM
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Hi, pretty common practice back then as well as doubling neutrals, codes change over the years.
Geo
 
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