Is there a ground bus in this panel? It is an old GE panel. I see the white neutral bus but not the ground bus. Please advise on whether there's one .

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    It is possible your home electric system uses metal conduit which is used as ground wire, so no ground bus is needed.
    – crip659
    Aug 9, 2022 at 10:13
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    Can you edit your post and add clear pictures of the top and bottom portions of inside the panel (i.e. where the wires exit), as well as a clear picture of the label on the inside of the panel's door please? Aug 9, 2022 at 11:41

2 Answers 2


Place the grounds with all the other grounds

We can't see much in that picture, which I gather is from a home inspector's review package. They love giving thumbnail photos like that.

You may see a whole bunch of other ground wires going to a ground bus. That's where this ground goes.

If you don't see a bunch of ground wires, one of two things is the case. Either the house was wired with no grounds at all... which wouldn't make a lot of sense since grounding came in starting in 1955 and was mandatory on all circuits (except dryer and range) by 1966... and the panel looks newer than that.

Or, you didn't pull a permit for this work, and so, you never had the conversation with the inspector "We use conduit here". In which case the EMT metal conduit is providing ground for all the circuits - the conduit pipe is the ground. In that case the Romex circuit you just ran is illegal for your community, and you have nowhere to ground because the conduit is supposed to be the ground. But nobody mentioned that on those Youtube videos, did they?

So if all the other circuits are in EMT metal conduit, the right answer is to run this circuit in EMT metal conduit. Noting that a 30A circuit can share a conduit with up to 2 other circuits - so you may be able to use existing conduit route to pull your new wires, and don't need to bust up drywall for a homerun to the panel. EMT is better.

You need to follow the rules for split-bus/Rule of Six panels

What I can see from the photo is your panel is a "Split Bus" panel. It has six full-size breakers on the left of photo, called the "Main Breakers" section. It also has a number of smaller breakers on the right of photo, called the "Lighting Area". What is that all about?

This was a cheat made legal. At the time, breakers larger than 60A were prohibitively expensive. Yet they wanted to offer 100A, 125A, 150A and 200A services. So they allowed up to 6 breakers to be the "main breaker" effectively. So that area is built with several breakers each less than 60A. Got it?

Here's the problem. Every house requires a calculation described in NEC Article 220 called the "Load Calculation". This is a best effort to determine the service needed to power a particular house, allowing for trivial overloads that are not of concern. It's pretty good, actually. So they said "It's OK if the Main Breakers add up to more than the service size, because the Load Calculation keeps us safe." See the problem?

This doesn't account for people adding stuff later!! Everyone adding stuff to a Rule of Six panel is supposed to re-compute the Load Calculation based on the new loads, because that is THE ONLY way to avoid overload. But as you can guess, no one does. That has led to many fires, and that is why that type of panel is now outlawed.

Yours is grandfathered and you can continue it in service, but you must do that Load Calculation allowing for your new loads. You can use "Load Shed" type devices to reduce total panel load; at the very least a $30 generator interlock can interlock two breakers so they can't be on at once; that removes the lesser of the two from the Load Calculation. (e.g. dryer and EV).

You must also follow the literal Rule of Six: there can only be six hand movements to shut everything off in the Main Breakers section. So if you were thinking of replacing a Main Breaker with a quadplex, that can't happen since you already have six. Of course you can replace a main breaker with a different sized breaker.

Note that the various 1" wide breakers are NOT interchangeable, no matter how much the hardware store guy swears they are. They will physically interchange, but they can burn up the bus stabs if you try. We see it all the time. Old legacy panels like that do have commodity breakers available, ask and we can advise.


Your photo is very fuzzy but from what I can tell, there are at least a few white PVC NM cables in your panel. Those almost certainly have a ground wire in them. (Or certainly, I don't think white PVC cables were ever made without a ground). Where do those ground wires go? What are they connected to?

(This is more of a comment but I wanted to include the photo) enter image description here

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