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Old 01-07-2009, 08:47 AM   #1
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equipment ground vs neutral bars


Hi,
Since the two bars, (ground & neutral), are bonded within the service panel does it matter if the bare grounds and white neutrals live together or should I try to keep them each on thier own bar?

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Old 01-07-2009, 08:57 AM   #2
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equipment ground vs neutral bars


On the main panel it doesn't matter where they land. In a sub-panel they must be separated.

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Old 01-07-2009, 10:13 AM   #3
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equipment ground vs neutral bars


WHile it doesn't matter, I try to keep the on separate bars.
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Old 01-07-2009, 10:16 AM   #4
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equipment ground vs neutral bars


In the main panel is there 'Best Practice'? or does it really not matter?
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Old 01-07-2009, 10:25 AM   #5
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equipment ground vs neutral bars


It does not matter. The only reason one would suggest to have them separate is if there is a future possibility that this panel will not be the main panel. Main Panel is the panel containing the main disconnecting means. It is usually within 10 feet of the meter housing and would rarely be replaced as the main. But if one was to create separate apartments the main disconnect may move outside within the meter housing designed for duplex units. So we cannot give a definitive answer.
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Old 01-07-2009, 11:05 AM   #6
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equipment ground vs neutral bars


If this is the service equipment (location of the main disconnect)then neutral and ground are bonded there to complete the effective ground fault path to the source via the service neutral. Any bonding after the service equipment will create parallel paths or possibly place objectionable current on metal parts. There is one exception in residential depending on the code cycle your on.
You cannot put neutrals and grounds in the same termination. You can only have one neutral per termination. You can double grounds of the same awg in size per termination.
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Old 01-07-2009, 12:08 PM   #7
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equipment ground vs neutral bars


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Originally Posted by Stubbie View Post
You cannot put neutrals and grounds in the same termination. You can only have one neutral per termination. You can double grounds of the same awg in size per termination.
I believe there are also some that allow up to 3 grounds per slot, it should be listed on either the panel cover or near the ground/neutral bar as to how many are permitted in each slot. In addition to what stubbie said, I believe you cannot have more than one neutral in the same slot, grounds should be the only thing you can double or tripple up.
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Old 01-07-2009, 12:32 PM   #8
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I'm sure the old guard will be glad to hear it (and I mean that in a positive way) but every time I think I have my mind wrapped around this stuff I learn something new that I don't understand. Sheesh. I'm pretty confident that I can do fresh wiring to code - at least according to my inspector - but I really don't get the theory. Back to the books for me.
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Old 01-07-2009, 12:55 PM   #9
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equipment ground vs neutral bars


Quote:
In the main panel is there 'Best Practice'? or does it really not matter?
I'd say best practice would be to put them together. The wiring will be cleanrer if each cables ground lands close to it's neutral. If you split them up to go different directions it just adds mish mash.


Quote:
Main Panel is the panel containing the main disconnecting means.
Actually the term is service, service equipment or service panel. It is the point of the first disconnect. Your main panel is not necessarily your service panel.

Last edited by 220/221; 01-07-2009 at 01:08 PM.
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Old 01-07-2009, 05:36 PM   #10
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equipment ground vs neutral bars


Other have answered the question about why it is allowed, but I would add that on some panels, the ground bar is not directly attached to the neutral, but instead relies on the metal of the panel box for continuity. In these panels, YOU CANNOT attach a neutral to the ground bar, because neutral current would flow through the panel can.

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