Neutral bus bar failed inspection


I have a photo here:
showing the electrical panel on our house that we
are trying to sell. The inspection showed this as an
exception. Do we need to get an electrician in there?

Thank you.

The ground and neutral wires should be seperated so each neutral wire has its own connection. It is generally ok for the grounds to be bunched up with each other although there is a limit as to how many there can be under one screw.

> ground and neutral wires should be seperated

That’s what I was afraid of.
Thank you for your response. Is this worth getting fixed?

That is, if you were a buyer of this house, would you fix this or just wait till you were already in the electrical box to work on something else?

I would have a licensed electrical contractor further inspect it and repair it as he saw fit, based on his education, training, experience and license. It would not be prudent nor ethical for me or any HI to advise whether to ignore this defect or not. It’s wrong…get an electrician.

As a seller, especially with the current real estate market, I would fix most anything I could or have it fixed by a qualified person. Why, I would ask myself, would I not fix something so easily repaired? I would be removing potential reasons to not buy my house. :smiley:


Did the Home Inspector quote the code section in his report?

If I were the buyer, I would request $ back at close to cover the cost of having it repaired. After close I would hire my own electrician (someone I trust) to do the repairs. I would be afraid that the seller would call the same repairman that made the mistake in the first place.

You stated however you are the seller. If they buyers are asking you to have it fixed, that seems reasonable (and not very expensive). If this was an inspection you had done, I’d probably have it fixed, then use that receipt along with the inspection report as a marketing tool. (see

PS. Just in case you are considering fixing this yourself…UNLESS you are an electrician, please stay OUT of the panel, and do NOT attempt any repairs in it yourself. What you don’t know, CAN kill you. It won’t cost very much to have it repaired. It’s not worth the risk to try to fix it yourself. A small slip of a screwdriver, or brushing your hand across the wrong thing is all it would take. I admit that it is an easy/cheap fix, but it’s one for a professional.

This is one of those quick easy $100 service call fixes that a potential buyer will want a $1000 cut in the selling price if not done.
Have it done yourself.

As already stated…It’s a very simple ten or fifteen minute fix for a licensed Electrician.

2/3 grounds are allowed per screw.

And only 1 neutral per screw.

Great advice. I’m going to get it repaired.

Just to be clear, this is the original wiring from the construction of the house back in Nov, 2000.

> Just in case you are considering fixing this yourself …

We can stop right there. I’m ignorant, but not dumb.
Thank you for the ‘heads-up’ advice anyway because you never know. As a professional in another area, I believe in paying professionals what they are worth to do it right.

> Did the Home Inspector quote the code section in his report?

I think that’s the UL 67 or 408.21 shown in the picture. I’ve seen other stuff in my research on the web that used that same 408.21 number when discussing this subject.

> As a seller, especially with the current real estate market, I would fix
> most anything I could or have it fixed by a qualified person. Why, I
> would ask myself, would I not fix something so easily repaired?
> I would be removing potential reasons to not buy my house.

Yup. I already made up my mind to fix it if the people here said that the white and bare wire sharing arrangement was improper. I’m anal like that with my car, house, etc. I fix evey little thing when I find it so that I always know that everything is as perfect as possible. I think it’s mostly cheaper in the long run. Mostly.

Thank you all. I’ll keep checking for additional responses.

408.21 is a bad citation. It refers to grounded conductors, AKA the neutrals.

I see an open terminal above the violation in question.

My report comment:

more than one “grounded conductor” (neutral /white) wire per screw on the neutral bus bar (double tapped/lugged) Each “grounded conductor” is supposed to have it’s very own screw on the bus bar, no other “grounded conductor” or “ungrounded conductor” (bare copper wire) should be under the screw with the “grounded conductor”.
{Some electricians (who haven’t done their homework) will tell you that it is OK to have more than one neutral (white) wire under a screw on the bus bar. They are wrong. It has long (at least as far back as 1967) been required by manufacturer’s instructions and Underwriters Laboratories Standard 67 for panelboards. See this link for a narrative description of the reason for single neutral wire - single screw. Double Lugged Neutral Narrative Also see this link for a visual interpretation. Double Lugged Neutrals Visual}. Ensure the electrician is familiar with UL Standard 67 requirements

Loose wires cause fires!

Quick cheap fix.

The UL Standard (67) would not apply to a lot of the installations where the neutrals are installed with more than one conductor under one screw.
110.3 (B) was adopted into the 1971 code cycle and reads just as it does today.

A close examination of the label on the inside of most of those panels will give the number and size of conductors allowed under any one screw. No where on these instructions that are included in the labeling in these panels does it state that these conductors must be of any particular kind of conductor.

This is the very reason that the verbiage was included in the text of the NEC (408.41 of the 2005 cycle) so that it could be enforced. Before the verbiage was included in the text (408.21 of the 2002 cycle) there was no way that the rule UL Standard 67 could be enforced simply because of the verbiage found in 110.3(B) “shall be installed and used in accordance with any instructions included in the labeling.”

When doing home inspections one needs to be very careful when quoting codes and standards. Should the building have been built during a cycle of the NEC that the quoted violation was not in affect it could lead to some very ugly circumstances.

We must remember that the electrical contractor and the electrical code official are bound by the adopted code at the time of the installation. With most of these panels there is no distinction of which type of conductor can be installed under screws in the installation instructions printed on the label that is installed by the manufacture on the inside of the panel.

Please understand that I am not tell anyone to call it out or to not call it out but unless there is some sign of heating or arcing I would personally make no comment at all unless the home was built after January 1, 2002.

I woke thinking about this panel so I got up to take another look. I don’t see any kind of conductor supplying either to the terminal blocks from the supply if the supply is coming in from the top. I don’t see anything big enough coming in the back that could be feeding this panel.

I see that neutrals and equipment grounding conductors are hitting both sides of the panel leading me to believe that this could be the main.

If this is the main coupled with the lack of a neutral and grounding electrode conductor I would be concerned with the lack of a main bonding jumper. I can not see a conductor that ties the two terminal bars together and they both have a neutral connected.

What is a main bonding jumper?
Bonding Jumper, Main. The connection between the grounded circuit conductor and the equipment grounding conductor at the service.

What can be a main bonding jumper?
250.24 (B) Main Bonding Jumper. For a grounded system, an unspliced main bonding jumper shall be used to connect the equipment grounding conductor(s) and the service-disconnect enclosure to the grounded conductor within the enclosure for each service disconnect in accordance with 250.28.

250.28 Main Bonding Jumper and System Bonding Jumper.
For a grounded system, main bonding jumpers and system bonding jumpers shall be installed as follows:
(A) Material. Main bonding jumpers and system bonding jumpers shall be of copper or other corrosion-resistant material. A main bonding jumper and a system bonding jumper shall be a wire, bus, screw, or similar suitable conductor.
(B) Construction. Where a main bonding jumper or a system bonding jumper is a screw only, the screw shall be identified with a green finish that shall be visible with the screw installed.
© Attachment. Main bonding jumpers and system bonding jumpers shall be attached in the manner specified by the applicable provisions of 250.8.
(D) Size. Main bonding jumpers and system bonding jumpers shall not be smaller than the sizes shown in Table 250.66.

As outlined in the above sections of the NEC the main bonding jumper must tie the equipment grounding conductors to the neutral within the enclosure and it must be a wire, bus, screw, or suitable conductor and it must be sized by 250.66.

The panel enclosure (the gray metal) is not part of what is listed as a main bonding jumper. In .24 (B) it even tells us that the enclosure must be bonded to the main bonding jumper.
Click here to see how the main bonding jumper must be installed when using two terminal bars in a main panel. This is a Cutler Hammer panel that is listed and labeled by UL as service equipment. Here part of the main bonding jumper is a bus that is engineered to carry the rated current of the panel. The enclosure is not rated to carry current. Any metal pipe that enters the enclosure must be bonded to the grounded (neutral) conductor as outlined in 250.92 unless it enters through a threaded hub. This is the equipment grounding requirement to bond to the grounded (neutral) inside the service equipment.

The panel in the original post has some far more serious problems other than the multiwire terminations. Each of these problems can be found in both the NEC as well as the UL listing of the equipment.

What will you do before you remove the white insulated wire so it can be relocated into an open terminal?

I won’t be doing anything since I’ll be hiring someone who knows what they are doing (not me) to repair this.

However, since you asked the question; what should “I” do? To be honest, I don’t understand the question since it sounds like a trick question. The answer can’t be as simple as de-energizing the circuit (can it?).

I hate to revive the thread unnecessarily, but I would still like the answer (since you posed the question).

Again, thanks to all, I had this repaired by a qualified electrician and we passed the subsequent inspection.

You should have said that" “I will turn off the power first” where’s the after pictures and the rest from the report ,that are really good for discussion here. How much did it cost you?