How do know if a panel is bonded if you don’t remove the dead front. The standards of practice say we don’t have to remove panel covers.


You don’t…

Regardless of what the standards say, why would you not remove the cover?

It’s like walking roofs-some feel very uncomfortable doing it, so the standards protect the inspector from liability if he chooses not to. I walk every roof my ladder will reach, unless it’s metal, way too steep, or raining hard, or snow covered. I’ve waked some wet roofs right after a rain, just made sure to be extra careful.

Same with the cover. Since I have an electrical background, I am very comfortable removing the cover, and know how dangerous the inside of the panel can be. Many are not as comfortable, so they just disclaim it, and are covered by the SOP.

IMHO, it is impossible to perform a “thorough” inspection without removing the cover. My personal belief is that if you feel uncomfortable doing it, then you should get an electrician to come in and do that portion of your inspection.

Not doing it, and disclaiming it, is short-changing your client, IMO.

Mr. Pope is correct. You wouldn’t know if it’s bonded.

You wouldn’t know if it’s double tapped

You wouldn’t know if there are missing clamps

You wouldn’t know if there is arcing/corrosion

You wouldn’t know if there is aluminum wiring

You would probably just put a** ?** for the Electrical Section of your report

OK. Thank you for all your help. Do I have to look for Bonding on the main panel inside the house or on the service panel outside the house or both.

Thank you again.

Both. All panels, service disconnect, “main”, remote distribution (sub-panels), etc. Must be bonded to the Grounding Electrode System.

Ok. Thanks. What is confusing me is I though it is only at the 1st point of disconnect as stated here:

Notes on “Mains and Sub” Panels

Remember that the panel with the main disconnect is the service panel, and panels downstream (or on the load side) of the service panel are distribution panels. Neutrals and grounds should be bonded together ONLY in the service panel, and not in any downstream distribution panels. Please explain.


That is true. The neutral (grounded conductor) should Not be bonded to the ground (grounding conductor) at any point past the service disconnect. That means the neutral is isolated from the ground. BUT the Grounding Conductor (ground) is Still bonded at All panel downstream.
Note the Green Line (ground) is bonded at both panels.

Thanks Christopher. Sorry for the dumb questions but I am new to this electrical stuff. If can post or send me any pics of what you mean I would be thankful. I learn much faster with visuals.

Thanks again.

No problem. Electrical and HVAC are typically the toughest subject for home inspectors in general.

Here’s a good start. Also this website has a lot of good electrical info.

Grounding vs Bonding Part 1 of 12


I assume that you mean indirectly. A remote/subpanel does not require a direct connection to the GES but does require an equipment grounding conductor to be brought along with the feeder.

Correct. And the EGC is bonded to the panel.

Thank you Christopher: I will look at that. In what year was bonding added to the code. What year of house did not require bonding.


Dwayne, the service panel needs to be bonded to the neutral. The egc’s need to to bonded at every panel. You must decide what type of bonding you are referring to.

I’m not sure where you got this “quote” from, but it’s poorly written (IMHO) and lends to confusion.

“Neutrals” (grounded conductors) and “grounds” (equipment grounding conductors) should be considered as separate conductors and not “lumped” together in any educational material.

“Neutrals” are required to be bonded to GES at the service equipment and must remain isolated from grounded parts/equipment at all points past the service equipment.

All metal components of the electrical system are required to be bonded to the GES, which is normally accomplished through bonding of the “grounds” at load-side panels/boxes/equipment.

What you’re looking for is called the main bonding jumper (MBJ) which connects the neutral bus the metallic enclosure. The MBJ can be a green screw, a strap, a wire or a bus bar. The MBJ is installed in the enclosure that houses the service disconnecting means and can be either outside in a separate enclosure or panel, or inside.

This is good stuff, Chris.

A lot of home inspectors don’t understand the difference between grounding and bonding, and become confused between the two, which are very different