Multi strand aluminum ground wire

Narrative for this defect?This text will be blurred

What do you think as a narrative?



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How about just saying the panel is not properly bonded to earth ground. Recommend a “licensed” electrician, none of that qualified stuff.


I see neutrals & grounds on same bus

Even though I cannot see the left side buss, there are multiple things incorrect about that installation. When you know there are multiple deficiencies but don’t know if you can describe them all accurately, I suggest defaulting your narrative to a general & all encompassing “Improper electrical panel installation. We/I recommend full evaluation & correction by a licensed or qualified (whichever you prefer) electrician”.
That way you did what you were hired for & didn’t provide incorrect information. Afterwards, dissect all the different deficiencies & learn them well for the next time.

From what I can see (some are assumptions since I can’t see the entire panel), I would write:
Observed multiple deficiencies concerning sub panel. Some of the more significant deficiencies include but are not limited to:

  • Grounded (neutral) conductors & grounding conductors improperly bonded within the panel. (Should be separated)
  • Did not observe panel to be bonded to the ground
  • Grounded conductors (neutrals) improperly double lugged at buss terminal
  • White color conductors (typically reserved for grounded/neutral) not properly marked to identify as being used as ungrounded or “hot” conductor
    I recommend a licensed & qualified electrician fully evaluate the panel & correct all deficiencies necessary in their expert opinion.

This way if you didn’t want to or forget to mention another deficiency, you are covered by say “included but not limited to” & by recommending “Full evaluation & correction”. You also put the onus on the electrician as an “expert” to identify all deficiencies as well as putting it on the client to follow through with your recommendation.


Improper conditions viewed, grounds and neutrals share the same bus, ground bus was not isolated from the neutral bus and appeared to not be bonded to the panel.

Among the other problems in the panel.

A: The neutral and ground must not be bonded in a subpanel.
The ground conductor is floating in the panel. No real bond observed.

Observation: Stray feeder ground conductor exposed in the sub panel.
Recommend: A licensed electrical contractor protect equipment from the stray ground cable.

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There a multiple cables entering through a single connector which is not listed for the number of cables installed.
The feeder equipment grounding conductor (EGC) is not properly terminated on it’s own equipment grounding bus as required.
The bonding screw in the neutral bus needs to be removed.

Terminology is important try to avoid using the term “ground wire”. The bare conductor within the feeder cable is an EGC.


Thanks Robert.

That’s fine when speaking to an electrician or another HI. When talking to your client (most likely a home buyer) the use of trade jargon or acronyms may make you feel smart but is just confusing to them. You’re just going to have to explain it later in plain English (or the agent may try :frowning_face:) You won’t get many referrals if you make the client feel stupid. When someone asks you for the time they don’t want to know how to build a watch.


I agree with what you’re saying but in the context of this thread we’re discussing about writing a report. The report which will be read by a professional electrician should contain the correct terminology. That makes it clear what it is that the HI is calling out. It also tells the electrician that the HI knew what he was looking at.


I don’t write the report for the electrician. It is doubtful that he will ever read the report. I write for my client. If the electrician is truly a ‘professional’ he should be able to figure it out. The irony of that last statement is how many electricians call me to figure out how to install the correct smoke alarms in rental properties (the instructions are explicitly written by the county on the form - which tells me they never see the report).

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To each his own. When I was reviewing HI reports for a client the first thing I would do is read it. I don’t know of any electricians who would go out to a house to identity problems and make corrections based on a report and not actually read the report. My advice regarding terminology is my opinion no one has to follow it.

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Not to get too far off topic but there definitely seems to be a ideal middle ground between technical and laymens terms when it comes to electrical narratives.

If the buyer asks for repairs around here, it is almost guaranteed the sellers agent will send the relevant contractor the report. They often want “their” person to confirm your comments are reasonable or correct. Vague or made up terminology will take away from the legitimacy of your report. Therefore you better be clear, specific, and professional in your writing.

On the other hand you need to explain the defect to your client and their agent in words they can understand. If they are on site you can point to the defects or a picture on your device and say something like “The equipment grounding conductor, this ‘grounding wire’ here, isn’t properly connected… The reason this is important is…”. All they really need to know is something is wrong about a wire in the panel called a ground of some sort and that’s what an electrician needs to address. Overwhelm them with too much vernacular and they’ll get lost in it.

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Since the bond screw is installed and grounds and neutrals are mixed on the same bus I would hazard a guess that the unterminated conductor is not even needed.

I disagree. Without conveying the defect I could correct something was was never addressed in the HI report or something that was missed and the correction was not to the intended defect. I read the report and give advise or make corrective actions. More often than not nothing needs to be done since the HI was wrong.


Its a bloody mess.

It’s over. Enough said.

If I’m reading the tiny numbers right, that panel appears to be a GE TLM1212 which is rated for aluminum.
And in fact the two hots and a neutral appear to be aluminum stranded.

  • Type Convertible Main
  • Voltage Rating 120/240 VAC
  • Current Rating 125 Ampere
  • Maximum Number of Spaces (12) 1-Pole 1 Inch THQL/(6) 2-Pole 1 Inch THQL/(24) 1-Pole 1/2 Inch THQP/(10) 2-Pole 1/2 Inch THQP
  • Main Wire Size 6 to 2/0 AWG (Copper/Aluminum)
  • Enclosure Type NEMA 1, Indoor

Aluminum for subpanel wires and feeders is 100% allowed, 100% normal, not a defect of any sort.
There are problems in this panel, but not the use of aluminum.