How To Look At A House
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What is a feeder conductor?
Saturday, March 6, 2021
Feeder conductors connect the load side of the service panel, or other downstream panel, to the final overcurrent protection device (breaker) for a branch circuit. So, for example, the cables connecting a service panel to a subpanel are feeder conductors. Feeders are sometimes confused with service conductors, which run from the service connection point with the electric utility to the service disconnect (main breaker) in the service panel are the service conductors.
It is important to know the difference between feeder conductors and service conductors because a raceway/conduit with service conductors cannot be shared with feeder or branch service conductors, while a raceway/conduit with feeder conductors can be mixed with branch service conductors. The reason for this is that service conductors do not have overcurrent protection, and a short between a service conductor and adjacent feeder or branch conductor in the same raceway may bypass any overcurrent protection for those circuits. Also, it is not allowed by the National Electrical Code (NEC 230.7).
The example shown above, with cables coming into the panel to a main disconnect below and branch circuits cables exiting through the same conduit, would be wrong if it is a service panel, but alright if it is a subpanel under certain circumstances. See our blog post What are the requirements for NM-cables entering an electric panel box? for more on that.
Also see our blog post Can you use an electrical panel as a feed-through raceway for wiring that is not connected it?
Please note that none of this information is meant to advise homeowners about how to open their panel and check for defects or repair them. We urge you to hire a licensed electrician.
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Here’s links to a collection of our other blog posts about ELECTRICAL WIRING:
• Which house appliances need a dedicated electrical circuit?
• Can a short circuit cause a high electric bill?
• What is the maximum spacing requirement for securing NM-cable (nonmetallic-sheathed cable)?
• Is it alright to just put wire nuts on the end of unused or abandoned NM-cable or wiring?
• What causes copper wires to turn green or black in an electric panel?
• What are typical aluminum service entrance wire/cable sizes for the electrical service to a house?
• Why is it unsafe to bond neutral and ground wiring at subpanels?
• Should I get a lightning rod system to protect my house?
• Why is a strain relief clamp necessary for the cord connection to some electric appliances?
• Does a wire nut connection need to be wrapped with electrical tape?
• What is the minimum clearance of overhead electric service drop wires above a house roof?
• What are the requirements for NM-cables entering an electric panel box?
• What is the color code for NM cable (Romex®) sheathing?
• Why are old electrical components not always "grandfathered" as acceptable by home inspectors?
• How can I find out the size of the electric service to a house?
• Can old electrical wiring go bad inside a wall?
• What is an open electrical splice?
• What are the most common electrical defects found in a home inspection?
• What is the life expectancy of electrical wiring in a house?
• What is an "open junction box"?
• How dangerous is old electrical wiring?
• I heard that aluminum wiring is bad. How do you check for aluminum wiring?
• What is "knob and tube" wiring?
• What is the code requirement for receptacle outlets in a closet?
Visit our ELECTRICAL page for other related blog posts on this subject, or go to the INDEX for a complete listing of all our articles.
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