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Double Tapped Neutrals & What To Do About Them

Are you familiar with this common inspection list item?


You may have heard the term "double tapped neutrals" before, especially if you have had an inspection done in the selling or purchasing process of your home. But what does that term mean and why is it a problem? In this blog post, we will explain what double tapped neutrals are, what hazards they can bring, and what steps you should take to ensure the safety of your home when it comes to this situation.


What are double tapped neutrals?

example of double tapped neutrals
Example of double tapped neutrals. Notice the discoloring on the double tapped white (neutral) wires from overheating.

A double tapped neutral is a condition where two or more neutral wires are connected to the same screw or terminal on the neutral bus bar in the electric panel¹. The neutral bus bar is a metal strip that distributes the neutral current to the circuits in the panel. You can see an example of double tapped neutrals in the picture here where multiple wires are under the same screw. Notice the discoloring caused by overheating.



Why are double tapped neutrals dangerous?

Double tapped neutrals are a violation of the National Electric Code (NEC), which has prohibited this practice since 2002¹. There are several reasons why double tapped neutrals are unsafe and should be avoided:


- Double tapped neutrals can cause loose connections, which can lead to overheating, arcing, and fire¹.

- Double tapped neutrals can interfere with the proper functioning of the circuit breakers, which are designed to protect the circuits from overloads and short circuits.

- Double tapped neutrals can create an imbalance in the electrical system, which can affect the voltage and current levels and damage the appliances and devices.


What should you do about it?

If you suspect or discover that you have double tapped neutrals in your electric panel, you should contact a licensed electrician as soon as possible to correct the issue. A qualified electrician will be able to inspect your panel and perform the necessary repairs. Some of the possible solutions are:


- Moving the extra wires to another terminal on the neutral bus bar, if there is enough space.

- Installing a new neutral bus bar.


Do not attempt to fix double tapped neutrals yourself, as this can be dangerous and illegal. Only a licensed electrician can ensure that your electric panel is safe and compliant with the NEC.


Conclusion

Double tapped neutrals are a common and serious electrical problem that can pose a fire hazard and damage your electrical system. If you have an older home or an amateur installation, you may have double tapped neutrals in your electric panel. To prevent any potential risks, you should hire a professional electrician to inspect and fix your panel. At Gloudeman Electric, we have the experience and expertise to handle any electric panel issues, including double tapped neutrals. Contact us today for a free remote estimate. We are here to help you with all your electric needs.


(1) Double Tapped Neutrals: This Isn't A New Rule - Structure Tech Home .... https://structuretech.com/double-tapped-neutrals/.

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