Subpanel Question

acroberson

Active member
Jul 9, 2010
26
#1
Okay so I have a few more electrical problems associated with putting in a new light. It seems that my electrical panel that all my my pool equipment runs to is run straight off my service. My service goes into the garage and attaches to the main panel but also goes to the subpanel that's about 8 feet away in conduit by the pool. I assumed it was subpanel but all my neutrals and grounds were on the same busbar so I traced it back to the service via the conduit. I can't figure out if this is safe enough or not to have a pool light attached to it.
Any help is appreciated.
 

danpik

TFP Guide
Jun 4, 2012
1,682
western NY
#2
I am a little confused by how you described your panel setup. From what I read..you have two panels feeding the pool?...or just one?

Regardless, I can still answer some questions.
Any panel after your main service/disconect panel is considered a sub panel. In your main panel both the neutral and ground bars are to be bonded. Any panel after that needs to have a separate ground and neutral wire along with the hot leads. The neutral needs to be "floating" which means it is not bonded in any way to anything in the groung system. There was a time that this was not a requirement. I know that back into the late 70's, when I started to work with electricity, that a floating neutral was an NEC requirement. I do not recall when this was put into the code. The problem with the neutral being bonded to the ground system is that the bare ground wire can become a current carrying conductor during normal use. If you could post pictures of the insides of your sub panel(s) it would help to determine the best way to correct this.
 

jblizzle

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 19, 2010
41,197
Tucson, AZ
#4
Sounds to me that both panels are connected to the service in the meter? So it is not really a sub panel.

Not sure if that is legit or not. At a minimum the pool panel would require it's own grounding rods I think.

probably worth changing it to a true sub panel off a breaker in the main panel.

Posted with Tapatalk ... sorry if I sound short ... hate typing on phone ;)
 

acroberson

Active member
Jul 9, 2010
26
#5
Correct both my house panel and my pool panel are fed straight from the meter. Yes I do have 2 grounding rods but the wire is very thin. Its like they took the ground out of 12/2 romex and tied the grounds in with that. Sorry about late reply.
 

Samantha Sabrina

Well-known member
Apr 11, 2012
346
Bloomsdale, Mo
#6
Hmmmmmmm, was this wired by an licensed electrician?

If so then I would assume it was done to local code, sometimes local codes do not follow NEC guidlines, or they tend to lag behind when changes and updates are made.

My main disconnect below the meter, (on the pole), has space to add additional breakers below the main, so I can run seperate circuits straight from the main disconnect box properly without having to find a spot in the house service panel.

the bare copper wire the power company uses here when they set a pole is not very large either, (maybe 10ga at most), but they staple the gound wire to the bottom of the pole before they drop it in the hole, and it runs up both sides of the pole, one side to the transformer and the other side to the disconnect box.
 

danpik

TFP Guide
Jun 4, 2012
1,682
western NY
#7
acroberson said:
Correct both my house panel and my pool panel are fed straight from the meter. Yes I do have 2 grounding rods but the wire is very thin. Its like they took the ground out of 12/2 romex and tied the grounds in with that. Sorry about late reply.
OK, you have two branch feed wires coming from the meter socket. One to each breaker panel. There is no disconnect box near the meter socket? I would be surprised if that meter socket is rated for two branch feeds. My suspicion is that someone double tapped the load lugs in the meter socket.
Could you post some pictures of your meter socket and panels?

Anyway, getitng back to your original question on hooking up the light. I don't see a problem with hooking up the light provided you follow the manufacturers directions. with out a doubt they will include hooking to a GFCI circuit and also being properly bonded to the bond grid around the pool.
Ground rods in this instance are of no use as they are primarily used for high current events such as lightning strikes. Surge supressors also can rely on them in the event of a high current event thru the electrical system. Minor electrical events such as a short circuit in a motor rely on the ground path back to source to trip the over current device (breaker).