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I have a problem. I need to install three breakers, I have four free spaces left for the white wires, but only two free spaces for the ground wires. Is it allowed, under the code, to put two grounds into one space? I do not want to install a subpanel. By spaces I mean the screwed holes on a rail where the wires are connected. I am not sure whether I can install more of those connection modules, this panel seems closed on one end. I do have enough spaces to put at least 6 more breakers.


I have also noticed that some of the spaces have more than one wire in them, but they all belong to the same cable. I am not sure how the builders arrived at this imbalance, since for every white there should be one ground and the number of spaces for whites and grounds is the same.
 

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You might want to make a quick call to your local electrical inspector, but Im guessing you would be ok. I noticed the electricians did that in my panel in multiple places even though they had plenty of room. It was inspected after I did my wiring and the inspector didnt say anything.
 

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Yes, you can. On all panels that I have seen (I am an Electrical Distributor as well as an Electrician) they are rated for 3-14gauge wires or 2-12gauge wires. But, as always, inspectors may change the rules in your area.

Analogy: Your car might do 200mph, but the nice police officer may tell you to slow down :)
 

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Yes, it's generally OK to double grounds and neutrals in the same screw hole PROVIDED THEY ARE THE SAME GAUGE. Mixing #12 and #14 is not allowed because the #14 could become loose. The same should be OK for hot wire on breakers but I'm not sure how code see's this. As long as both circuits are the same gauge, there is no safety problem.


What is not OK (per Los Angeles City codes) is the use of wire nuts in commercial panels. I'm not sure of residential. I don't know why, they just don't allow it. If a wire is too short, you must move it or re-pull it.
 

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Cai, I agree with Todd & Glimmie -- it's OK. I've install several panels and many re-wire jobs and I can't seem to recall ever working on a panel that didn't have at least on terminal with two or more wires on them.


In your 2nd paragraph you mentioned an "imbalance" of wires...I assume you mean you see more ground (bare copper) wires than white ones? If so, this could be extra ground connections possibly going to cable splitters, DSS spiltters, water pipes etc. Extra white wires sometimes appear in panels if you have any GFI style breakers.


Good luck with your project & may I suggest you shut off the main breaker prior to removing your panel while installing the new circuits.


Regards,

Drew
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Glimmie

The same should be OK for hot wire on breakers but I'm not sure how code see's this
Only if specifically marked on the breaker label is this OK.


Cai, Every panel has a label that describes in detail what is allowed to be put into each connector. You should check that, although in general if they're two of the same guage and type (e.g., both Cu; AL won't be used on branch circuits anyway), it should be OK.


There's no NEC prohibition against wirenuts in residential panels, as far as I know, but it's universally regarded as bad practice (a sign the panel is overcrowded).


BTW, one can buy additional grounding bus bars for most brands of panel.


Be careful in there.
 
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