• OBinspeX

Double Tapped Neutrals - Why is it on the report?

The electrical panels in the home are opened up to inspect what's happening inside. One of the more common defects I mention is double tapped neutrals.

What is a double tapped neutral?

A double tapped neutral is when 2 neutral (white wires) are terminating under 1 screw on the neutral bus bar which is the vertical piece with all the screws in it.

What's the issue?

There seems to be confusion on if this is an issue or not. There are 2 main reasons why this is called out

on my home inspection reports.

1. When two or more neutrals on are under 1 screw it prevents them from being isolated if an electrician or homeowner decides to work on that circuit. Some will argue they can unscrew and loosen it to isolate it, well this is true, but the other neutral circuit could be under a load which becomes a safety hazard.

2. When copper is heated and cooled just like anything it naturally expands and contracts. When this happens connections may become loose, which could lead to a fire. Overheated conductors are not uncommon to find when they are double tapped.

but, but its Grandfathered in!

Even though I do not inspect to our grandfathers rules this has not been accepted for many years. The 2002 National Electrical Code (NEC) emphasizes this, but has not accepted this practice for many years.

408.21 Grounded Conductor Terminations.

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

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