OT home wiring

I know that are a lots of electrical types out there so a quick OT question.

Stopped by a friend's cottage and she asked me if I would add a circuit in her garage so she can have a freezer etc..

It's a really old cottage. The mains are not the basic lay out. The neutral and ground buses are on top of each other and what I found strange is that all of the ground and neutral returns for a given circuit go to the same bus. That is the neutral and ground is wrapped and returned to one bus or the other. No rhyme or reason as far as I can tell. She thinks I'm an electrical genius because she listens to an old pair of two-way speakers I made years ago(hehe). I don't want to break the spell. What's up? What do I do now?

(yaya, I know-call an electrician)

I remain,
What you describe is not strange at all. In fact, it's common practice to wire the neutral and ground wires to the same bar. Take a look at panels with romex wiring - the greens and whites terminate on the same bar in most cases. The reason is that the ground and neutral serve the same function - to complete the circuit to ground. With the neutral, the circuit is completed when you flip the switch. With the ground, the circuit is completed when there's a fault (the hot wire breaks and touches the chassis, e.g.). So both N/G terminate, ultimately, in the same place.

On previous posts, I suggested wiring N/G on seperate bus bars in the panel. Two reasons: one is that today's electronics generate harmonics (additional current) and feed the neutral. Second is that induced current from EM/RFI can be picked up by ground wire planes. By separating the two, their respective currents will (hopefully) be drained to ground, reducing the probability of common-mode noise.

But if all you want to do is run power to the garage, then simply install a new breaker, run the black, white and green (if required) wires underground to the garage and connect the outlet. Connect the ground wire and the neutral to the N/G combo-bus in the panel. It will work fine. Just check with local codes for the proper raceways they allow for outside power feeds. If metallic raceways are permitted, then the raceway itself is the ground - just bond it to the panel with the appropriate hardware (locking collar, bonding screw, etc.). If PVC or plastic is required, then you'll need the green ground wire.

One other thing: distance is a factor with respect to voltage drop. Freezer motors don't like low voltages (tough on start-up) so if you're going more than 50 feet, use #10 wire instead of standard #12 or #14. And install GFCI outlets in the garage whether the code requires them or not.
Thanks much Gs.
I guess the handful Ive looked at have run g/n separate amd the basic books seem to show it that way too. Good to know.
I won't waste time changeing em.
I remain,
The grounds and neutrals often go to the same buss. The exception is that when connecting to a subpanel then they are required to be connected to seperate ground and neutral busses.

I would recommend against using ground fault protection on the freezer recepticle. Any sort of motor is easily capable of tripping a gfi (usually during shutdown) and you don't want a refrigerator or freezer losing power because of a false trip. For a test, plug a vacuum cleaner into one of your gfi's and see how often the gfi trips when you switch off the vacuum. Use a (non gfi) single recepticle for the freezer (it can't be a duplex) and provide a seperate gfi protected recepticle for the required general use recepticle.
Hi Alex:
Thank you for the input.
Is it code that it can't be a duplex? I don't think the freezer need a sep. circuit.

Please, PLEASE take this advice: If you are not 100% familiar with the NEC and residential wiring practices, hire a licensed electrician! Wiring is NOT a HOBBY!! As a licensed home inspector and electrical inspector I have seen hundreds of homes wired with dangerous handy-man wiring, and several instances of past electrical fires! It only takes one mistake and one set of circumstances to cause terrible loss or even death! Clueless, I strongly advise you to invest the $125 or so for a professional to add your extra desired circuit. Gs, no offense, but your description of wiring practices and electrical to me wreaks of handy-man caliber knowledge. You should be careful to whom you give residential electrical installation guidelines to!