Ground Wires Inside a Panel

Inspected a main service panel where whoever wired the panel had “saved space” by pigtailing three branch circuit ground wires together inside the panel so each pigtailed bunch could be connected to the neutral/ground bar via one ground wire. The result was that several ground wires were connected under a single screw (okay), but each of those single wires was connected to a bundle of at least three other ground wires inside the panel. This bundling of ground wires appeared to have been done so there would be enough connector screws – every screw on the neutral/ground bar was occupied, either by a single neutral wire or multiple ground wires.

Is it okay to pigtail branch circuit ground wires inside a panel so multiple circuits are grounded to the neutral/ground bar by a single wire?

How were they spliced?

One group of 3 pigtailed wires had a wire nut, another a barrel crimp.

Ok, not a code enforcement officier, so bare with me.

2005 NEC 250.122 © - Size of EGC’s in Multiple Circuits.

Paraphrase: Allowed for raceway or cable, as long as the ECG is sized to the largest over current conductor.

Back To Your post: Was any groupings of mixed sized conductors, and was the final conductor the largest one, and sized for those circuits largest OCP?

In general, all electrical work must follow the manufactures instructions (2006 NEC 110.3(B), and must be a quality of work in that is neat and professional (2006 NEC 2006).

So for the $64k question, did it appear unsafe, and messy?


Everything was 12 gauge wire and very neat.

I run into it a lot, “ECG abuse”. Rather than installing a larger ground bar, some electricians install a large lug and cram like 5 ecg’s under it. I’ve asked why, but I get “grey area” lingo, and it will pass the AHJ, so I stop asking.

Nice to see it’s happening on the west coast as well. :wink:



As long as the pigtail is as large as the largest grounding conductor in the bunch, there can be as many as the splicing device is listed for.

In the interest of a small error correction and clarity in posting.:smiley:

EGC=Equipment Grounding conductor:)


Ha Ha, two posts, and I spell it two different ways. Good catch!


In a previous life I used to repair ECG equipment so it knda stuck out like a sore thumb for me.:wink:


Ok I am one of the Electricians out their that do not like the idea of EC’s putting multiple EGC’s under a single wirenut and running a single EGC to the lug…in my mind ( without respect to CODE ) it is poor workmanship in my opinion.

I would prefer to see multiple wirenuts and splices within the panel with each individual EGC going to the terminal buss…regardless of what others will say…to me just POOR installations…WHY???

Because most all panels allow multiple EGC’s under the same lug to the max allowed by the enclosure…in a normal 200A panel i have NEVER run out of space to do it properly…so…some will say…but PAUL we are looking at old panels…SO…WHAT…

NO EXCUSE for poor workmanship…WHY…are we SURE the old installation grouped these EGC’s together and the 'pigtail" is sized correctly as previously listed…we can’t guarantee ANYTHING as people do the darndest things…so LOOK for it…KEEP an eye on it…

When i see bundling of the EGC’s…I see #10AWG’s and #12 AWG’s together…usually ecceeding the allowance of the wirenut anyway…but then the pigtail is a # 14 AWG…that would be an incorrect installation and worthy of MY REPORT…

When it comes to electrical inspections…do not fall in to a laxed mode…while it seems some electricians around the country get upset when an HI puts some things in a report like Double Tapping…BUT as an electrician…I get paid to fix it…it is simple but the HI is doing their JOB…

so NOT be swayed because you feel you will upset a local EC…they can GET over it guys…maintain the COURSE !

P.S…Tom cramming them into that LUG would increase the allowance of that LUG probably…as if the lug is allowing multiple wires…it will SAY SO…if it is old…do not assume it will…if the HAIR on your neck sticks up…write it…then defer it and let the EC field the question…




Hey Paul, as a EC, I love Home Inspectors, I get a lot of gravy work from them. Straightening out a DIY’s mess pays real well.


we are of like minds then…great minds think alike…but I am sure you have heard the stories of electricians having fits with HI’s…i think it is just due to a lack of understanding is all.

When a house is built the electrician may go in their one time…YET a HI will probably ( we hope ) go in many times through its sales life…those additional eyes are sooooooo valuable…