Facts to Help You Understand Ground Bars

Ground bars are used in commercial and in residential electrical service panel boards to terminate all of the white return wires in the multiple load circuits inside the structure. These bars do not really have anything to do with the overload protection inside the circuit panel box. The overload protection is done by the breakers or the fuses inside the distribution panel box.

Essentially the voltage at the location of ground bars is considered to be zero. In single phase alternating currents the voltage in the black wire that is considered to be “hot” is generally 110 volts. Shock happens when a voltage induced current flow enters the body. With the zero voltage of the ground bars the chance of being shocked is very little but with the black wires the chances of being shocked are great.

Ground Bars and Currents

Electricity flows in currents and these currents have to start somewhere and they have to go somewhere. Just like small creeks and streams have a beginning, they also end up dumping all of the water they carry into a larger creek or stream at some other location. All of the electrical current that flows through your building and your appliances leaves the building by way of the neutral bar and is returned to the power line from whence it came.

Generally these devices are made from plated aluminum in the United States. Some countries prefer the brass neutral bars, but the conductivity of brass is only 28% of the conductivity of copper. The conductivity of aluminum is 43% of the conductivity of copper. This makes the plated aluminum be the better choice in the low price range.

Ground Bars Installation

The installation of these devices needs to be completed by a trained and licensed electrician. Electricity is a dangerous power that can kill you in a worst case scenario and can also damage all of your belongings in a least case scenario. Most insurance companies require that a licensed electrician installs and maintains all of the wiring, breakers, breaker boxes, and fuse panels within a building. Some city codes also regulate who can install these types of systems and who can repair them.

In order to install any of these electrical power systems you have to know what appliances will be operated off of what circuit inside the building. The breaker or fuse that is designated to distribute the current to a circuit needs to be large enough to do so without being tripped or thrown. If you have more appliances plugged into a circuit than it can handle, then you have the problem of the breaker constantly being flipped.

A flipped breaker means something is not right with the circuit and should not be just tripped back on and forgotten. If you have one of these devices that keep tripping you need to find where the overload or short in the circuit is located. One place to look is for anything you might have plugged into extension cords. You can overload an entire system by using extension cords.