I just bought an old home and I don't have the money to replace the wiring
or panel at this time, but I would like to make my system as safe as possible. My main question relates to the grounding and bonding of my system.
At my house the power feed comes into the meter outside and then runs under the crawlspace to the main service panel in a kitchen closet. There is no external shutoff to my service before it reaches this 100 amp breaker in the main panel indoors and no ground rod at the meter. There is a #6 grounding wire leading to a ground rod under the house, but many of the individual circuits did not include grounding wires when they were installed. On these circuits grounding wires were added and drop down from outlets
and connect with the bonded cold water pipes. The neutrals and grounding wires in the panel are bonded.
Many of these circumstances are not ideal, but it's what I have to work with at the moment. I know that the use of the added grounding wires to the water pipes makes my system not properly grounded and I am adding GFCI outlets at the start of each circuit to address that problem. But here are my questions:
An electrician who was giving me a quote for a new panel said that the neutrals and grounds were not separated in my panel and that this was problematic. I thought about it after he left and have become very confused because I thought the neutrals and grounds must be bonded in the main service panel. But is what the electrician said about the unseparated neutrals and grounds somehow true in this case?
Also, he said that no grounding wires should be connected on the load side of the GFCI's. I think that makes sense to me, but what do I physically do with the grounding wires. Most of the electrical boxes are small and metal. Do I just cut if off and wrap some tape over the exposed end? Otherwise it could touch and ground the metal box potentially.