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Old 01-26-2013, 11:05 PM   #1
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Homeline 200A 20 space/40 circuit load center question


I am wiring in my new load center. I got a Homeline 200A main lug with a main breaker, 20 space/40 circuit model (So it's rated to have a dual-breaker in each space if desired.)

What I'm still just a bit confused about is connecting ground and neutral.

The box has two main lugs which are obviously for the hots, and a center lug which looks like it'd be for the neutral.

Once I hook these up, do I just hook my grounding conductors (to ground rods and plumbing/gas pipes) to the neutral bus somewhere?

And for my circuits, same thing? Do I just put the ground and the neutral on the same bus bars?

In other words, since this is my MAIN panel, do I just consider the neutral and ground bus bars the same thing in this panel, when attaching grounding conductors both to earth ground and to circuits?

The box has two bus bars, along each side of the main circuit connectors. It appears visually that these are both connected to the service neutral. There's no separate "grounding" bus bar in this panel. I'm guessing one can be installed, but I'm wondering what's required.

I already know that in a subpanel you need to isolate ground and neutral, and since I am doing a subpanel I'm planning for that, but this is the main service panel, and this is the one aspect of wiring that's always confused me just a bit.

Thanks!

F

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Old 01-26-2013, 11:09 PM   #2
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Homeline 200A 20 space/40 circuit load center question


Your ground to the earth ground, would be at the meter pan, not at the main panel. As for bonding to waterpipes, etc. check with your local AHJ regarding.

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Old 01-27-2013, 12:05 AM   #3
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Homeline 200A 20 space/40 circuit load center question


Quote:
I am wiring in my new load center. I got a Homeline 200A main lug with a main breaker, 20 space/40 circuit model (So it's rated to have a dual-breaker in each space if desired.)
Very common panel, except you can't have both a main lug and main breaker panel it's one or the other ... sounds like you have a main breaker panel which is good since it is the service equipment panel.

Quote:
What I'm still just a bit confused about is connecting ground and neutral
.

This is a very common area of misunderstanding. Neutral and ground are bonded in the service equipment panel (main panel) and no where else.

Quote:
The box has two main lugs which are obviously for the hots, and a center lug which looks like it'd be for the neutral.
Now your confusing me ... You said you had a main breaker panel now youre talking about main lugs .. are you talking about the big lugs on each side of the main breaker?


Quote:
Once I hook these up, do I just hook my grounding conductors (to ground rods and plumbing/gas pipes) to the neutral bus somewhere?
And for my circuits, same thing? Do I just put the ground and the neutral on the same bus bars?
Yep and there should be a green screw that you install in the neutral tie bar to bond the panel metal to the grounded conductor (neutral).

Quote:
In other words, since this is my MAIN panel, do I just consider the neutral and ground bus bars the same thing in this panel, when attaching grounding conductors both to earth ground and to circuits?
Yep but your circuit grounds are considered equipment grounding conductors and are for human safety.

The others that go to your earth electrodes are called grounding electrode conductors and are for property protection. Do not come out of your meter pan to your earth grounds unless it is required by your local building department. Most utilities would rather your earth ground come from the service equipment not the meter can.


Quote:
The box has two bus bars, along each side of the main circuit connectors. It appears visually that these are both connected to the service neutral. There's no separate "grounding" bus bar in this panel. I'm guessing one can be installed, but I'm wondering what's required.
Nothing more is required neutral and ground bond in the service equipment panel ( your calling it the main panel). Connect all your grounds and neutrals on the same bars if you wish. Just remember that only one neutral can be in a terminal hole not two together.
Quote:
I already know that in a subpanel you need to isolate ground and neutral, and since I am doing a subpanel I'm planning for that, but this is the main service panel, and this is the one aspect of wiring that's always confused me just a bit.
Probably the reason it confuses you is you dont recognize the fact that the grounding electrode system (GEC) and the equipment grounding conductors (EGC) for branch circuits are not the same purpose.. You probably just don't understand ground, grounding and grounded in general.
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Old 01-27-2013, 01:08 AM   #4
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Homeline 200A 20 space/40 circuit load center question


It sounds like you have exactly the same panel as I do.

Assuming that it is...your incoming power goes to lugs in the top section where the meter is...from the meter it feeds your breakers. On both sides are ground/neutral buses....they are tied together.

If this is your setup....yes, your earth ground gets tied to neutral in this panel....

Here is an early pic of mine....excuse the ugly wiring....I leave the wiring loops like that until I'm all done....then I go back and cut to length.....It's a lot easier shorten a wire than it is to lengthen it.

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Old 01-27-2013, 09:49 AM   #5
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Homeline 200A 20 space/40 circuit load center question


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Originally Posted by gregzoll View Post
Your ground to the earth ground, would be at the meter pan, not at the main panel. As for bonding to waterpipes, etc. check with your local AHJ regarding.
Not the way most of us do it. Grounding electrode conductors originate in the panel.
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Old 01-27-2013, 10:07 AM   #6
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Homeline 200A 20 space/40 circuit load center question


To add to that, some POCO's do not allow GECs to be terminated in the meter socket.
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Old 01-27-2013, 12:56 PM   #7
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Homeline 200A 20 space/40 circuit load center question


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To add to that, some POCO's do not allow GECs to be terminated in the meter socket.
Here you have a Earth ground at the Meter pan, and a Bonding ground to the Cold Water pipe from the main panel. Only time in my area that they ground to earth from main panel, is if PEX or plastic piping is used in the structure for Cold Water.
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Old 01-27-2013, 01:12 PM   #8
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Homeline 200A 20 space/40 circuit load center question


Thanks for the info.

So at my main service panel (circuit breaker box with main breaker) I can just bond the neutral bus to the metal case with the ground screw, then hook BOTH my neutrals and grounds from branch circuits (and my subpanel feed) to the same bus. (one wire per hole of course)

Thanks for the terminology lesson. Yes, it's a main breaker panel. There is a new meter socket installed on the outside of the house, with the service drop coming into it, and then from there into the house via PVC conduit into the main breaker panel.

Everything I've read around here in MN says I hook the GEC to the main breaker panel, not to the meter box. The plumbing ground would also be connected here. So I'll just connect both to the main service panel, by drilling a small hole in the house and feeding the wire in. I'm sure the inspector will let me know if it has to be altered.

I do use PEX in some plumbing in my house, so I was thinking I should ground to the main (hard water) line, to the soft cold water line leaving the softener, to the hot line leaving the water heater, and to the gas pipe feeding the water heater.

My water softener uses PVC connections so it would not conduct a ground from the main line from the city to the cold water line.

Since I am using PEX in some parts of my plumbing, this still won't ensure all plumbing fixtures have a connection to ground. What do I need to do about this if anything?

Thanks!

F

Last edited by fdmillion; 01-27-2013 at 01:20 PM.
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Old 01-27-2013, 03:20 PM   #9
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Homeline 200A 20 space/40 circuit load center question


Quote:
So at my main service panel (circuit breaker box with main breaker) I can just bond the neutral bus to the metal case with the ground screw, then hook BOTH my neutrals and grounds from branch circuits (and my subpanel feed) to the same bus. (one wire per hole of course)
Yep that would be correct. If you run out of terminals you can connect two ground wires from branch circuits in the same hole as long as they are the same gauge.


Quote:
Thanks for the terminology lesson. Yes, it's a main breaker panel. There is a new meter socket installed on the outside of the house, with the service drop coming into it, and then from there into the house via PVC conduit into the main breaker panel.
Yes that is probably the most common service entrance you will come across whether lateral or overhead.

Quote:
Everything I've read around here in MN says I hook the GEC to the main breaker panel, not to the meter box. The plumbing ground would also be connected here. So I'll just connect both to the main service panel, by drilling a small hole in the house and feeding the wire in. I'm sure the inspector will let me know if it has to be altered.
Yep

Quote:
I do use PEX in some plumbing in my house, so I was thinking I should ground to the main (hard water) line, to the soft cold water line leaving the softener, to the hot line leaving the water heater, and to the gas pipe feeding the water heater.
You are making it too complicated run a #4 awg bonding wire to your cold water supply metal pipe very close to where it exits the house from the service equipment. The NEC requires this to be no more than 5 feet but some jurisdictions want it closer than that. Also the metal supply pipe must be in contact with the earth for 10 feet before it enters the house. You can bond across the hot water tank (hot to cold). You do not bond the gas pipes unless there is specific requirements from your inspector and building codes department.

Quote:
My water softener uses PVC connections so it would not conduct a ground from the main line from the city to the cold water line.
The inspector probably would allow a bonding wire across the softner but it likely is not required.


Quote:
Since I am using PEX in some parts of my plumbing, this still won't ensure all plumbing fixtures have a connection to ground. What do I need to do about this if anything?

Thanks!
Nothing is required to bond all plumbing fixtures connected by pex


Last edited by Stubbie; 01-27-2013 at 03:23 PM.
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