Answers to Electrical Questions About Connecting A Ground Wire In A Federal Pacific Panel, Connecting A Ground Wire To Your Dryer and Installing a Tankless Water Heater
October 24, 2008
Judith Geiger asks:
I need to know where to connect the green (ground) wire from the Romex cable for a new 20 amp circuit. i have a Federal Pacific 200amp panel box installed when the house was built in the 50’s. I know where to attach the black wire (to the screw on the circuit breaker) and the white wire ( to the screw at the bottom of the box as the other circuit breakers already have) But there are no other green wires in the panel box. Perhaps when the house was built the wiring did not have this extra wire. Where do I attach this wire? To the bottom screws along with the white one? Thank you for your answer.
The first thing that I recommend is replacing that Federal Pacific panel. I believe Federal Pacific lost their underwriters laboratories (UL) listing in the 70s. These circuit breaker are well known for not tripping or working properly. In my opinion, these panels are a major fire hazard and should be replaced immediately.
As for the ground wire connection, this depends. Your ground and neutral are connected together at the first point of disconnect only and separated everywhere else within your electrical system. The bare copper wire is also a ground wire and this is more commonly seen in NM cable (romex). If there are other ground wires connected with the neutrals (white wires) in your panel, then you may connect it to your neutral bar. If there are no other ground wires connected to your neutral bar, then you should connect the ground to the frame of your breaker box. If there are no other ground wires in your breaker box at all, then I recommend hiring a licensed or qualified electrician to properly ground your electrical system.
Jennifer Watkins asks:
I followed your steps, but I’m not sure I did it correctly because my dryer isn’t working. The area where I think I might be messing up is the grounding wire. When I removed the 4 prong wires, the green wire (not the green wire connected to the 4 prong plug, but a separate one) was screwed to the side of the panel (with a green bolt). I cannot tell where that wire leads. Am I supposed to unscrew that from the green bolt and connect it with my middle/neutral wire on the middle terminal? I tried that, but still got no power?
Don’t unscrew this wire and connect it to your neutral. Instead leave it where it is connected and install a new piece of #10 AWG green wire between the neutral terminal and this ground bolt. However, this will not solve your problem. I’ve learned that when you move your dryer, all of the lint tends to clog the exhaust right below the dryer door. This will cause your dryer to shut down on over temperature. However, I am not a dryer expert and I recommend hiring an appliance repair person.
Have you checked power at your dryer receptacle? Check to see if the circuit breaker is tripped. Try turning the circuit breaker off and back on again.
Chris Andersen asks:
I am looking to install a tankless electrical hot water heater. My panel is a cutler-hammer and is a 125amp max. The model I am looking at calls for 88/100 amps. Am I able to install this water heater?
Great site for us weekend warrior’s.
If this is the only breaker box for your house, then you probably can’t do this. If you want to install a tankless water heater, then I recommend hiring a licensed or qualified electrician to upgrade your electric service to 200 amps. This will give you plenty of power for future expansion and help increase the re-sale value of your home.
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