Nashville Home Inspection - Electrical Panel Bonding - 9.9.11

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Home Inspector with HABITEC Home and Building Inspections, LLC

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.

Bonding Strap

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.

Thank you,

Richard Acree

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http://habitecinspections.com

Comments in this blog posting are the copyrighted intellectual property of Richard Acree, President, HABITEC Home and Building Inspections, LLC, and contributing members of the Active Rain Real Estate network, and are intended to educate and otherwise assist home owners, sellers and buyers, building owners, sellers and buyers, realtors, real estate investors, property managers, and lenders in the process of owning, buying or selling homes or commercial buildings.  HABITEC is a residential (home) and commercial building inspection company serving Middle Tennessee including Nashville, Brentwood, Franklin, Murfreesboro, Smyrna, Mt. Juliet, Hendersonville, Dickson, Belle Meade, Columbia, Spring Hill and more!  In addition to building inspections HABITEC offers Environmental Services for mold assessments, radon testing and water quality analysis.  Additional information about HABITEC can be found on our website at http://habitecinspections.com, or call 615-376-2753. 

Richard Acree is the author of the HABITEC Home and Building Inspections ActiveRain Blog and founder of the ActiveRain Group Tennessee Home and Building Inspectors.  All are welcome to join and see more blogs like this one.  You can also join HABITEC on Facebook or Linked . 

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Anonymous
Chris S.

This is the best explanation I have had yet on bonding. Thank you.

Can you explain bonding to a water pipe and bonding bus. Is it the same as the picture above but just done in a different way.  If it is done this way, does it have to be a cold water pipe and could its location be hidden anywhere on the home where there is a cold water pipe.eike under a bathroom sink) Also how does the neutral bus play a role in all this.  Sorry to have so many questions.  I do understand the neutral bar and grounding the neuatral.  But the bus, bus bonding, neutral bus is all a little confusing to me.

I am just now becoming a home inspector and have been slight confused on this subjuect. 

Thank you for any extra info. you may have.

 

 

Feb 17, 2012 08:37 PM #1
Rainer
333,262
Paul Gapski
Berkshire Hathaway / Prudential Ca Realty - El Cajon, CA
619-504-8999,#1 Resource SD Relo

Thank you for sharing your blog; we need Real estate Professionals to share their comments and information regarding their markets and experiences. Thanks again from beautiful Sunny San Diego.

Oct 20, 2012 08:33 AM #2
Rainmaker
111,510
Richard Acree
HABITEC Home and Building Inspections, LLC - Franklin, TN
Home Inspections - Nashville TN

Hi Paul, thanks for the feedback.  We try to get the word out here at HABITEC Home and Building Inspections, LLC, where we offer home and commercial building inspections in Nashville and throughout Middle Tenneessee. 

Hello Chris, thanks for your questions.  And they are good questions.  Normally a common residential electrical panel has two bus bars inside the panel.   One is the grounding bus bar and one is the neutral bus bar.  In most cases the panel bonding device connects the grounding bus bar to the electrical panel.  Metal water pipes are (and should be) connected to the grounding electrode system, at least in newer homes.  It is best to do this within 5 feet of entry into the building but you will often see this at the water heater installation, especially if the water heater is installed in the garage.  I hope this helps.

Thank you,

Richard

http://habitecinspections.com  

Oct 26, 2012 05:48 AM #3
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Rainmaker
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Richard Acree

Home Inspections - Nashville TN
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