Nashville Home Inspection - Electrical Panel Bonding
Please look at the picture below. What you are looking at is the inside of an electrical panel in a home. This is a common panel installation. There are many items that a Home Inspector should check while conducting an inspection of an electrical panel. One item they should look for is bonding of the electrical panel. Bonding is a name used to describe when the electrical panel is connected to the grounding components of the electrical system. Look in the picture below and see if you can see if and how the panel is bonded.
If you look closely and through the wires, you will see a copper metal "strap" fastened to the grounding bus bar and to the back of the electrical panel with a green screw. Bonding! The ground bus bar is connected to the metal electrical panel using the copper bonding strap. With this installation, should the electrical panel become active with current, the bonding strap provides a path of least resistance for electrical current to ground itself. So if a person touches this panel and the panel is active with current, the bonding strap will provide a better path of travel for the electrical current than the person. This is a protective device to protect people from electrocution.
The electrical panel can become active with current from a faulty installation or a fault where somehow a wire that is "hot" with current comes in contact with the panel. It is not common but it has happened.
Other types of bonding are also possible. The straps can be made of aluminum. Sometimes the grounding bus bar is connected directly to the panel itself and a strap is not necessary. And sometimes a large green screw simply goes through the grounding bus bar directly into the panel. All of these methods accomplish the same thing of connecting the electrical panel to the grounding bus bar.
This is one of the many items your Home Inspector should check for during a home inspection.
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