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Old 06-30-2008, 01:03 PM   #1
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neutral and grounding buses


i just noticed that the neutral and grounding buses had been used interchangeably by the previous owner of the house and i kind of cleaned it up: concentrated neutral on the one where neutral was the majority and vice versa.

Q1: but, since it did work OK before, i was wondering if they can be used interchangeably ? my neutral bus is also running out of slots and i need to add a few more circuits so was wondering if i can use the grounding bus, which has more vacancy as it is, for some reason, bigger.

Q2: if the cannot be used interchangeably and the previous owner was sloppy, is there any way to find out which one is really which (since the majority principle i described above is not necessarily to be trusted - as is usually the case with all things in life).

thanks,

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Old 06-30-2008, 01:11 PM   #2
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neutral and grounding buses


If this is the main service disconnect panel, then they can be used interchangeably. If this is a subpanel, then they must be kept separate.

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Old 06-30-2008, 01:14 PM   #3
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neutral and grounding buses


thanks. why is it different, if you don't mind me asking ?
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Old 06-30-2008, 01:54 PM   #4
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neutral and grounding buses


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Originally Posted by amakarevic View Post
thanks. why is it different, if you don't mind me asking ?
In the main service panel, ground and neutral busses are bonded together. In a sub, they are intentionally isolated from one another for safety reasons. In the latter case, if they were bonded and the feeder neutral became broken or disconnected, the ground would be carrying the neutral current back to the service and possibly bring exposed parts to some potential higher than ground.
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