No ground wires connected to ground busbar?

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  #1  
Old 06-19-19, 05:06 PM
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No ground wires connected to ground busbar?

Hello everyone,

I'm new to the forum and have recently purchased an older house (1960's). I was looking at the panel and it appears that there is a neutral bus bar, and an unused bus bar that is connected to the neutral bus bar. These are the only bus bars I see. Is my electrical not grounded? I was thinking about adding a breaker for my compressor. Can I ground it to the unused bus bar, or ground to the neutral bar? You can see the neutral bus bar on the right side of the panel and I took a couple more pictures zoomed in on it.

EDIT: I just realized the last photo makes it look like there is a bare wire going to the neutral bus bar. This is a neutral wire that was stripped too far back and is connected to the same terminal as another neutral wire, despite many others being available.

Thank you for your help!
Scott

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Last edited by PJmax; 06-19-19 at 06:10 PM. Reason: cropped/resized pictures
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Old 06-19-19, 05:19 PM
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You have a conduit system. The conduit is your ground.
 
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Old 06-19-19, 05:26 PM
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Thank you Joed. I've spent many hours researching this. I should've joined the forum sooner!
If I wanted to add a ground bus bar, can I just bolt it to the panel? Or can I use a clamp from the conduit to a ground bus bar?
 
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Old 06-19-19, 05:52 PM
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What's not clear here is if this is your service disconnect. If it is the neutral and ground are bonded and both neutrals and grounds can go to the existing bars - in this vintage jumper was usually by a short piece of copper between the panel and ground bar.
 
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Old 06-19-19, 06:44 PM
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Thank you for the response.

I'll take a closer look when my family isn't home and I can flip the breakers, but I didn't see any jumper wires between either bus bar or the panel, and the neutral bar seems to be insulated from the panel with plastic.
 
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Old 06-19-19, 06:53 PM
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If this is the first means of disconnect past the meter you do not need a dedicated ground bar. You can use unused holes in the neutral bus.

Those are both neutral bars. The second bar was not needed due to the few neutrals in the panel.

When you look in the panel look at the label to see where a bond screw or strap would be installed.
 
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Old 06-20-19, 09:00 AM
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Thank you again for the help everyone.

The neutral bus bar does appear to be the first disconnect after the meter. I took a picture of the label. I don't see any bars where it says "Equip ground bar". I also don't see a ground where it says "ground when required". Does this mean I can ground to the neutral bus bar if I add a jumper from the neutral bus bar to a lug on the panel?
 
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Old 06-20-19, 09:57 AM
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Hi, there should be a screw going through the buss strip and threaded into the panel. You could use an Ohm meter and test between Neutral and the panel and see if you have continuity.
Geo
 
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Old 06-20-19, 10:20 AM
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Thanks Geochurchi

I am getting 0 ohms from the neutral bus bar to the panel. Does this mean I can use the neutral bus bar for both the neutral and ground wires?
 
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Old 06-20-19, 12:31 PM
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I am getting 0 ohms from the neutral bus bar to the panel. Does this mean I can use the neutral bus bar for both the neutral and ground wires?
Not necessarily. That only means you have ground and neutral bonded together somewhere (which it is supposed to be).
You have to check if your panel is the first panel or breaker after the meter and if your neutral bar is bonded to that panel.

Your neutral bar does appear to be bonded, although it is not very clear in the picture.
If that really is a bonding screw and is the first panel after the meter, then yes you can connect ground wire to neutral bus bar.
If it is not the first panel, you have to remove the bonding screw and install a separate ground bus bar directly on the panel. Then move over any ground wire that may already be on the neutral bus bar.

Also, you cannot have more than one neutral wire under the screw. Your last picture shows neutral and ground wire in the same hole. You should separate them.
Ground wire may have multiple wires under the same hole as long as your bus bar's specification allows it.
 
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