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Old 01-16-2009, 01:08 PM   #1
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GFCI Recepticle vs. Breaker


We're pulling new wire for the new washer and gas dryer location. Washer is getting it's own 20Amp circuit, Dryer draws 9A, but I'm tempted to install it as a 20 Amp circuit so it doesn't matter which appliance gets pugged into which circuit. Anyway, I know the code requires GFCI (washer/dryer in a bathroom), but it doesn't seem to mention whether that has to be GFCI at the recepticle or can be at the breaker as long as it's "protected". Does it matter? Breaker seems simpler/better to me.

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Old 01-16-2009, 01:18 PM   #2
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GFCI Recepticle vs. Breaker


Doesn't matter with a breaker or receptacle but the breaker is alot more expensive.

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Old 01-16-2009, 01:20 PM   #3
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...but the breaker is alot more expensive.
Next to the new washer and dryer $80 is breakers is a steal!
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Old 01-16-2009, 01:57 PM   #4
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This must be a gas dryer? Breaker is a better choice for the washer. If an inspector checks this, a washer should be on a dedicated washer 20 amp circuit. This means a single yoke not a duplex plug. These are not available in GFCI... But most inspectors do not follow this closely so the plug option can be used to save money.
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Old 01-16-2009, 02:29 PM   #5
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GFCI Recepticle vs. Breaker


In all my life, (and I'm really old) I have never seen a washing machine that requires a 20 amp circuit! Although I live in Canada, most washing machines that we use are manufactured in the US. They always come with 15 amp plugs! Do machines that are sold in the US come with 20 amp plugs?
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Old 01-16-2009, 02:41 PM   #6
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This must be a gas dryer? Breaker is a better choice for the washer. If an inspector checks this, a washer should be on a dedicated washer 20 amp circuit. This means a single yoke not a duplex plug. These are not available in GFCI... But most inspectors do not follow this closely so the plug option can be used to save money.
There is no requirement for a washer to be on a dedicated circuit. The NEC requires a separate 20A circuit for the laundry, it makes no mention of a washer specific circuit. You may run the washer and the gas dryer on the same circuit if you wish. And I would opt for the GFCI breaker.
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Old 01-16-2009, 05:38 PM   #7
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GFCI Recepticle vs. Breaker


It's the code so I follow it, but the 20-amp makes not logical sense. It's a 12-amp washer and a 9-amp (gas) dryer, so I can't put both on a single circuit. Seems silly to me to wire a 20-amp breaker for a 12-amp appliance, seems 15-amp would make more sense. But hey, it's the code. :-)
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Old 01-16-2009, 05:54 PM   #8
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A split recept. fed from two, 15 amp ganged breakers would make more sense in your case! Then 14/3 would be all you need to run!
What does the NEC say about this?
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Old 01-16-2009, 06:00 PM   #9
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GFCI Recepticle vs. Breaker


I prefer GFCI outlet as that was I don't have to go all the way to the breaker panel to reset it. Plus if it needs to be replaced the outlet is less $$ to replace

NEC 210.11(B) requires a 20a laundry circuit
This circuit can have multiple outlets, but they must be for the laundry area alone. The idea being (I think) if you ran a 15a circuit the washer would use the majority of the power. If you then plugged in an iron or something else you would quickly kick out the breaker. Of course that is still possible even with a 20a circuit

Your washer pulls a lot of juice - mine is only rated at 7.3a
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Old 01-16-2009, 06:42 PM   #10
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A split recept. fed from two, 15 amp ganged breakers would make more sense in your case! Then 14/3 would be all you need to run!
What does the NEC say about this?
Pretend I'm not an electrician. What's that then, two hot runs with a shared neutral? But that's two 15A circuits, no? Not a 20 Amp.
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Old 01-16-2009, 08:15 PM   #11
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Pretend I'm not an electrician. What's that then, two hot runs with a shared neutral? But that's two 15A circuits, no? Not a 20 Amp.
Correct, multi-wire circuit
By NEC code you need a 20a circuit
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Old 01-16-2009, 10:28 PM   #12
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Correct, multi-wire circuit
By NEC code you need a 20a circuit
Sometimes, even engineers make mistakes! In the case of the OP, he would have 30 amps available, instead of a mere 20 amps. Maybe someday the powers that be will see the errors of their ways, and make a revision!
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Old 01-16-2009, 10:51 PM   #13
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Correct, multi-wire circuit
By NEC code you need a 20a circuit
The NEC requires a 20 A laundry circuit, but it does not specify that this circuit be for the washing machine. If he wants, he can install a 15 A circuit for his washer.
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Old 01-17-2009, 09:06 AM   #14
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GFCI Recepticle vs. Breaker


A breaker does take slightly longer to trip due to conductor lenght. When I say longer I mean Hundredths of a second slower.
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Old 01-17-2009, 09:25 AM   #15
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The NEC requires a 20 A laundry circuit, but it does not specify that this circuit be for the washing machine. If he wants, he can install a 15 A circuit for his washer.
Right, so long as you have one 20a circuit servicing the area you can have other circuits. Since my washer only takes 7.3a I saw no reason to run a separate circuit for the washer. I also have a 3.5a sump pump on the circuit
My laundry room does have a dedicated circuit for a freezer & small beer fridge. It had a 2nd outlet from another older circuit but I removed it as it was not GFCI protected. We've never had a need for another circuits as our laundry area is separate from the rest of the basement
You have to meet min specs required by NEC code. Then decide what else you need in addition to the code for your needs or the area.

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