Main panel as a sub panel

Reply Wed 30 Apr, 2014 02:31 pm
A home inspector made this comment about the breaker box in a house I have purchased.

"The main panel is feed [sic] through a main disconnect breaker. This makes the main panel a sub panel. The panel is not wired as a sub panel. The grounds and neutrals should be on separate buss bars and the bonding screw removed. Recommend properly wiring panel."

What is the concern here and what should be done about it?
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Type: Question • Score: 3 • Views: 773 • Replies: 3
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Reply Thu 1 May, 2014 09:59 am
Home Inspectors are not always experts in one particular trade. Sounds like it's time to have a licenced electrician look at the main.
Reply Thu 1 May, 2014 10:35 am
Thanks for the reply. I do not see separate buss bars and see both neutral and ground wires attached to the only buss I see. My question, at this point, is this a danger or a concern for some other reason?
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Reply Fri 16 May, 2014 09:04 pm
The inspector is correct. If your service comes in from the utility and goes to a Main Breaker enclosure and that breaker then supplies a Sub-Panel where your branch circuit breakers are located, the Service Neutral should be bonded at the Main Breaker enclosure and not bonded at the sub-panel. If you bond the neutral to the enclosure (ground) at the sub-panel you create a parallel path for current returning on the branch circuit neutrals (GCC) and the Ground conductor between the Main and the Sub-Panel. The Ground Conductor is not a circuit conductor and should only carry fault-current to allow the Main to Trip. You should correct the bond( between Neutral and Ground) connections so they are together at the Main and separated at the sub-panel. There is current returning on grounded surfaces which can create a serious shock hazard.
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