Ground Strap Missing in Electrical Panel

If you’ve read my article on Electrical System Grounding – Explained you will know that all metal boxes in an electrical system need to be grounded. Electrical panels are no exception.

A ground strap is a common way to achieve the grounding of an electrical panel. This strap is a piece of metal that connects the grounding system to the panel itself. It usually runs from the neutral bus bar (the bar that has several holes and screws to secure neutral or grounding wires to) to the panel. The strap is connected to the panel on the other end with a screw. This strap runs from the neutral bus bar because in a main panel the neutral bar is grounded and the grounding wires are usually connected to the same bus bar.

Sometimes you will see that there is a ground strap and it is disconnected. If this is a sub-panel this is likely correct because the strap ran from the neutral bus bar to the panel. We don’t ground neutral wires at sub-panels. In a sub-panel though you should see some method that is used to connect the panel to the grounding system.

If you don’t see a ground strap at all, it may be because the grounding bus bar is directly connected to the panel with screws. This is OK. If the panel is a main panel you may see that a neutral bus bar has a green screw in it. This screw secures the panel to the neutral bus bar which should also be grounded. Look for a larger diameter bare copper wire connected to this bus bar that runs to ground somewhere in the home.

Ungrounded electrical panel

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