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can i use a ground rod in place of my neutral in my house panel?

can I replace the neutral in my house panel with a ground rod


When you say in place of, if you mean in stead of, the answer is NO! It may work for a while under perfect situations, but you will find times when your electrical equipment will not work properly,and most important, it is dangerous. This could cause equipment damage, electric shock, or death. The role of the neutral conductor is three fold: (1) the neutral carries the difference or balance of current between the two hot legs. For example, if leg A has 50 amps, and leg B has 40 amps, then the neutral will have 10 amps. (2) the neutral conductor is bonded to the earth or ground at the source only for personal protection purposes and in case of lightning strikes. (3) the neutral conductor keeps the voltage of all 120 volt circuits steady. The ground rod only will have a resistance that will vary with ground moisture, dryness, etc. Some lights will get dim while other lights will get bright. Some incandescent light bulbs will blow. Some electric motors will slow down while others will get faster. Because voltages will get low and then high, all electric appliances rated at 110 or 120 will be damaged eventually. If you try to use the ground rod only without a neutral conductor from main panel to power source, then all neutral current will seek for a path back to the source through the earth and every other source it can find. You will begin to receive shocks around the house. Sometimes it may be slight tingles while other times it may be severe.
As others have stated, it won't be code. However, even though I worked for years as an electrician, I never understood why not. Eventually, the grounds and neutrals go to the ground rod anyway. The only thing I can figure, is that way the breakers or fuses will not function correctly, Again, I don't see why they wouldn't, but I'm no electrical engineer. I just did things the way they were always done, not mine to reason why, ect. I'd stick to the proper way, unless there is some problem you're trying to sort out. Once, in my own place, I had to run the neutral to the ground of another circuit, since there was a grounding problem.
Even thou I have seen it done and seen break boxes with a very thick copper wire going from neutral bus bar to the ground bus bar. You would need to look up local code in your area. In my area they cannot touch. This is because majority of the homes also have the GFCI outlets, and GFCI breakers. This would trip fast if neutral and ground shared the same line within the house. If an outlet is to be in so many feet of a water source, it must be GFCI. Check your area.

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