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Grandfathering For Neutrals & Grounds?


dtontarski
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Based on Doug Hansen's book and the discussion of this topic on this forum, I always call out that neutrals require individual terminals. (no neutrals double tapped with neutrals or neutrals double tapped with grounds on the service panel's terminal bar)

Every once in a while I get read the riot act by an irate seller about this being grandfathered or that this passed inspection when the home was built and was never altered. Were neutrals allowed to be under the same terminals with grounds at some time? (I see this all of the time) How should I handle this type of objection? Is this grandfathered? I hear this term thrown out all the time around all kinds of wiring safety issues. Just what does "it's grandfathered" mean and how does or should this affect my inspection process and report writing?

Any advice on this would be appreciated.

Thanks.

Dave Tontarski

AKA David LadderMan

The Finger Lakes Region of NYS

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My standard response is, "It's not allowed now, it hasn't been allowed, and it won't be allowed. If you can show me in writing where it's been grandfathered, I'll happily admit that I'm mistaken and rephrase my report to state something like, "It was once allowed but is no longer allowed. It's unprofessional workmanship that should be cleaned up by a competent electrician (emphasis on competent) - not the same guy who did this initially."

S'funny how they nearly always hang up and say the same thing while doing so. When I was a kid, it would have earned me a trip to the laundry room, dragged by one ear, and the naptha soap bar would have found it's way into my mouth. I hear that's child abuse these days.

Times have changed.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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It's possible that any given older panel might have actually allowed more than one neutral per terminal. You would have to read the manufacturer's specs to be sure, which should be on the cover somewhere. The problem is they were often so poorly written that it isn't clear whether they allowed it or not. Most manufacturers did not. Jim has a e-document from an NEC code panel where an engineer at Square D laid out the reasoning for not doing it, and in it he complains that inspectors keep finding it done wrong in spite of their specs.

Can you post that again Jim?

All of that aside, Grandfathering means nothing to an HI in my opinion. Nothing. Grandfathering only matters to code inspectors. Just because some other inspector ignored it or missed it back in the day doesn't mean it's okay now. We have to advise our clients by the best current practices and standards, not what they used to be. If the seller won't fix it or the client chooses to ignore it, so be it...you told them.

Brian G.

Big Brother to the Client, Not Grandfather to the House [^]

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That's it. Thanks Bob.

This is my normal boilerplate for that issue, for what it's worth.

I found a number of neutrals placed under terminals with ground wires, and more than one neutral per terminal in places. While it is acceptable to have more than one equipment ground wire in a terminal, neutrals carry current and should be one to a terminal to avoid potential problems (as required per the UL listing, the manufacturer's specifications, and the National Electric Code). I recommend having a qualified electrician make any needed corrections to comply with the requirements noted (clause 12.3.10 of UL 67)(NEC 110-3(b) and 408.21).

Anybody else want to share?

Brian G.

Always Looking to Tighten Up the Ole' Boilerplate [:-graduat

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I usually explain it when I show 'em the photo of the neutral bar, but most clients won't really understand this stuff no matter what we say. I finally included the cites because I got tired of hearing back that it's okay the way it is (here are my sources, argue with them). Works great so far. [:-party]

Captain, I can't quite put my finger on it, but there's something wrong with the singular/plural thing in that first sentence. [?]

So Mike, where's your version? [:-magnify

Brian G.

Stuck in Neutral(s) [;)]

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Originally posted by Brian G.

Captain, I can't quite put my finger on it, but there's something wrong with the singular/plural thing in that first sentence. [?]

Brian G.

Stuck in Neutral(s) [;)]

Well, you see, it's like, the singular /plural thing but in reverse. You can use both singular and plural in one sentence if you are describing two separate things. More than one neutral (plural) on one terminal screw and the use of are (plural) meaning that there are more than one instance of this occurrence..

Captain

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Originally posted by dtontarski

Based on Doug Hansen's book and the discussion of this topic on this forum, I always call out that neutrals require individual terminals. (no neutrals double tapped with neutrals or neutrals double tapped with grounds on the service panel's terminal bar)

The actual source is UL 67. It's been a requirement for approximately 5,158 years.

Every once in a while I get read the riot act by an irate seller about this being grandfathered or that this passed inspection when the home was built and was never altered. Were neutrals allowed to be under the same terminals with grounds at some time?

Not as far as I know.

(I see this all of the time)

Me too.

How should I handle this type of objection? Is this grandfathered? I hear this term thrown out all the time around all kinds of wiring safety issues. Just what does "it's grandfathered" mean and how does or should this affect my inspection process and report writing?

Any advice on this would be appreciated.

I tell a quaint story. A few weeks ago, the city installed a stop sign at some railroad tracks a few miles from my house. I've been driving over those tracks for 17 years without stopping. During that time period Oregon law required every car to stop at every RR crossing whether or not a stop sign was present. No one ever stopped.

Now that there's a sign, suddenly everyone's stopping -- except me that is. I figure that, since I've lived here so long I ought to be grandfathered in.

The local constabulary doesn't agree with my interpretation.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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With forewarning that I am NOT very cryptic and with gratitude to those of the many who may recognize some of these clauses as their own though I no longer remember!

GRANDFATHERED:

When it comes to home repairs, "Grandfathered" is a term often tossed out by people who care more about their wallet than about your safety: as in "That 8 inch gap in the balcony railing doesn't need to be fixed because it's grandfathered. It was okay to do it that way when this house was built." Is it going to comfort you, when your child falls through that gap and is badly injured, that the size of the gap was "Grandfathered"? All "Grandfathered" really means is that no one can "force" you to change it, repair it, or replace it. Only you can choose what level of risk you want to live with. People with young children who could fall thru that 8 inch gap “shouldâ€

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That's a nice piece of boilerplate Walter, and I appreciate the contribution, but it's on the wrong subject for this thread. Got anything about more than one neutral per terminal?

I notice no one else has mentioned having a neutral and an equipment ground together in one terminal, which I believe is covered under the same rules. Please don't tell I'm the only one writing that up? 408.42 (not 408.21, my bad) says:

Each grounded conductor shall terminate within the panelboard in an individual terminal that is not also used for another conductor.

It doesn't specify only other grounded conductors.

Brian G.

Grounded Conductors Can Punch Your Ticket [:-skull]

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