Recommend changes, or call as deficient?

The home was built in 1997 within a small city.

The service comes into a 200 Amp Cutler H panel on exterior, and a 100 Amp breaker feeds the sub distribution panel in the storage area.

In the storage area sub, the conductors come into a 100-Amp breaker at the top of the panel with a 3-wire feed. The rest of the breakers are below, all 20 Amp.

Are there different requirements because the conductors feed the breaker, not the panel itself ?
Should I comment that ‘by today’s standards a 4-wire,’ etc, would be needed’ – or call it as deficient and defer to electrician.

By my understanding, the sub should have a 4-wire feed, but what year did this start?
Not sure which year of the NEC was in effect when home was built, mid 80’s by guess

Harry HomeOwner is the Seller and did all the original wiring when the home was built, I need to be able to explain what I state. :mrgreen:





Ground and neutral should be separate at the sub-panel.
I recommend a Licensed Electrician examine and evaluate if correction should be made.

Improper sub-panel. Should have 4 conductors with a floating neutral (grounded conductor) and should be separate from the EGCs.

In TX that would be a defect.

Even by earlier standards, it’s wrong Linda. A neutral has to be run with the feeders, regardless of the code cycle being followed.

Earlier installations would have three conductors (H+H+N) and use the conduit as the ground.

What I see in your pictures is H+H+G, so all 120V circuits must use the ground as the return path.

Thank you, guys. I appreciate it. !!
Have a great ‘what’s left of Sunday !’

Maybe Paul A. can join in and confirm that all that is needed is a neutral cable (insulated) added in there also with necessary neut/gnd bus configuration done. Lots cheaper than running a new 4-wire cable.

Depending on the distance, it’s usually easier to pull all new conductors, rather than trying to pull a single through a filled conduit. . .

We have very little conduit here in residential.

Lol…I just saw this. What am I joining in about…Give me the short version and i will reply to it…lol

Hello Linda,

Basically if the service panel with the service disconnect is outside in this example and the panel which is a remote distribution panel 'sub-panel" is located in the same structure then indeed a 4 conductor cable would be required. This dates back well before 1980 with regards to remote panels within the same structure . Yes, I would instruct them to wire it properly as you many case to neutral connections where they should not be which creates objectionable currents and poor circuit circulation…hey I like that…Circuit Circulation…lol…

Don’t get the allowance in the pre-2008 NEC where you can have a 3 wire feeder to a detached structure with this example. So yes, it needs to be a 4 wire setup.

Also dont be afraid to call out the non-reidentified white conductors on breakers and non-identified grounded conductor in the main panel as well. Also appears to be quite a few 408.41 violations…could be problematic if any multiwire circuits are present as well. Also is that panel listed for the tandom breaker within the enclosure…those kinda things.

ok, lol… you want the short version from us lol… but we get long versions from you lol…

Here it is short and simple:

Is it ok to run a new insulated neutral conductor (properly sized) to a sub panel to in effect “upgrade an old 3-wire cable”.

Has H-H-G
and will be upgraded to H-H-N-G with the N being a new seperate run.

This is assuming that the necessary configurations are also done for the neutral and ground circuits on the busses.

I am an electrician by craft for over forty years now and I can assure you that running that neutral as a bare conductor has never been allowed on the load side of the Service Disconnecting Means except for certain specific circuits and a feeder was never one of those circuits. So the bare neutral should come out and an insulated neutral with an appropriately sized Equipment Grounding Conductor (EGC) should be pulled in if the conduit is large enough to have 2.5 times the total internal cross sectional area of the four conductors. That would keep the conduit fill to the allowed forty percent fill for three or more conductors.

Tom Horne

I had called for the panel:

  • to have a 4-wire feed, not 3
  • multiple grounded neutrals under one screw terminal
  • remove the bonding strap
  • rework the bus bars for grounds only, grounded neut only

and, that is a CTL panel and should not have the tandem/wafer breaker.

Also, at the main panel we didn’t find a ground wire to a ground rod. No ground rod found, in fact. There was underground service to the meter, but nothing found to the soil level for the SE panel.

It had several issues

Gives me headaches late at night !! :shock:

[FONT=Comic Sans MS]Appreciate all the help !

And, if a new wire is added to the others, it should be in the original conduit / bundle - correct? Can’t just stretch between the two panels however it’s handy to install ?[/FONT]

That is correct. . .

Linda -

Probably the MOST important issue here is: YOU are the CURSORY screening process (the school nurse) that determined the football player is having a heart attack AND sent him to the ER at the hospital to see the CARDIOLOGIST for service and repair.

You point out some of the SYMPTOMS, but you DON’T tell the Heart Specialist what to do OR how to do it, OR you can be in DEEP **** if it ain’t right OR your REPAIR screws something up.

You’ve got several issues in NEED of REPAIR. Therefore;

"There were electrical conditions present in the panel(s) that in my opinion indicate there has been a liberal approach to proper installation practices, SUCH AS: xxxxxxxxxxxx; yyyyyyyyyyyyy; zzzzzzzz.

This type of installation has the potential to become problematic in the future. I recommend having a licensed and competent electrician read ALL of the inspection report; evaluate the buildings FULL electrical system and its conditions; then service, repair or modify any unreliable conditions or deficiency’s in a safe and proper manner prior to closing".

Too many of our guys try to BE the FINAL WORD, and they’re not.

Just a thought, was the Storage Area attached or a detached area/building?

Just throwing a comment in on the need for it’s own GES if detached for those reading, as each building needs it’s own Grouding Electrode System.


I agree with Dan. Tell them what you see as wrong and then recommend an electrician make the corrections. Don’t tell them the fix.
If you happen to leave something out, then they will come back to you and ask you to pay for the additional work, or worse, ask you to come to court because the home burned down.
List the defects and recommend the appropriate contractor make corrections and your done.