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Old 07-18-2014, 06:00 PM   #1
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washing machine circuit to piggy back one 60w light?


I have a duplex property each unit has its own utility room.

In each utility room are the individual unit's own washer, dryer, hot water heater etc.

Each unit has it's own electrical panel.

Everything in utility room A are powered by circuits from panel A, while everything in utility room B are powered by circuits from panel B EXCEPT the overhead pullchain light bulb in B.

I didn't realize this until I had to trouble shoot something and found this by accident. This means tenant A has been paying the utility room lighting for tenant B all along...its probably insignificant, someone turns it on the few minutes each time to wash, dry or collect a load perhaps twice a week.

Still I would like to get it addressed. The distance to the panel is over 100 feet and very limited access to the attic.

Is it OK to take the currently dedicated circuit for the washer and splice off to power the pull chain light bulb?

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Old 07-18-2014, 06:58 PM   #2
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washing machine circuit to piggy back one 60w light?


Time to get rid of that old pull cord and install a comb switch and outlet.

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Old 07-18-2014, 07:03 PM   #3
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washing machine circuit to piggy back one 60w light?


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Originally Posted by miamicuse View Post
I have a duplex property each unit has its own utility room.

In each utility room are the individual unit's own washer, dryer, hot water heater etc.

Each unit has it's own electrical panel.

Everything in utility room A are powered by circuits from panel A, while everything in utility room B are powered by circuits from panel B EXCEPT the overhead pullchain light bulb in B.

I didn't realize this until I had to trouble shoot something and found this by accident. This means tenant A has been paying the utility room lighting for tenant B all along...its probably insignificant, someone turns it on the few minutes each time to wash, dry or collect a load perhaps twice a week.

Still I would like to get it addressed. The distance to the panel is over 100 feet and very limited access to the attic.

Is it OK to take the currently dedicated circuit for the washer and splice off to power the pull chain light bulb?

It is certainly doable and in this case its a good idea. I see no harm. However there is one irony. Code wise it may not be allowed since the NEC requires a dedicated 20amp circuit for the washer, and this circuit can not feed anything else, other than outlets within the same laundry area. If you were to run a #12 from the outlet to the pull chain light nothing remotely dangerous would happen (its no different then with any other circuit), but again, its one of those silly code rules that frowns upon it.
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Old 07-20-2014, 06:44 PM   #4
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washing machine circuit to piggy back one 60w light?


Is there another nearby light or receptacle that can be tapped into?
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Old 07-20-2014, 07:39 PM   #5
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washing machine circuit to piggy back one 60w light?


Jump and Island........
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Old 07-20-2014, 08:27 PM   #6
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washing machine circuit to piggy back one 60w light?


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Is there another nearby light or receptacle that can be tapped into?
That was the question which lead to the idea of tapping into the washing machine circuit.

Unfortunately there is no nearby circuit I can tap into.

Utility Room A
PANEL A - 240V circuit for dryer
PANEL A - 240V circuit for hot water heater
PANEL A - 120V circuit for washer PLUS overhead light for utility room A PLUS overhead light for utility room B.

Utility Room B
PANEL B - 240V circuit for dryer
PANEL B - 240V circuit for hot water heater
PANEL B - 120V circuit for washer

They already tapped into the washer circuit for BOTH overhead lights. Now I need to break it up so one tenant does not end up paying the electric bill for the other. There is nothing nearby that I can tap into. There is another 240V sprinkler pump circuit, a 240V well pump circuit.
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Old 07-20-2014, 09:28 PM   #7
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washing machine circuit to piggy back one 60w light?


Well, like Jump-Start said, removing the B fixture from the A washer circuit corrects that problem, putting it on the B washer circuit isn't any worse than it was before, plus nobody is paying for someone else's power. But technically, it's a code violation.
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Old 07-20-2014, 09:41 PM   #8
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washing machine circuit to piggy back one 60w light?


Rather then going all technical and anal retentative about it, give the one party a $5 reduction in rent which is a X multiple of what a 60W light costs to run 24/7.

Not kidding....
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Old 07-20-2014, 10:14 PM   #9
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Rather then going all technical and anal retentative about it, give the one party a $5 reduction in rent which is a X multiple of what a 60W light costs to run 24/7.

Not kidding....
That would be an easy solution but it's a no go.

The landlord tenant agreement makes this complicated and I could be liable in the future for being responsible for the TOTAL of ALL electric bills of tenant A if he/she decides to make this difficult. I can't simply shake hands with tenant A and reduce rent by $5 or whatever without an addendum to address it.

Furthermore, it's a problem that will still be there after the current tenant moves out and a new one moves in. So I see whatever temp arrangement as just "temp".

My RE attorney said my options are (1) separate the wiring so no one is paying for someone else's electric, or (2) me the landlord pay for all electric for both tenants and raise the rent to offset. There is really no in-between solution that may not bite me in the future.

Now there is one possible alternative which is to use battery powered LED lights for both and I go change battery every few months or whatever.
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Old 07-20-2014, 10:47 PM   #10
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washing machine circuit to piggy back one 60w light?


Miami.... Thanks for the explanation.... makes technical/practical sense, given impractical contracts or city regs.

Honest, I was going to suggest a battery powered light also....get rechargeable batteries....

EDIT: Costco has LED clip up battery lights right now with motion/ocupancy sensors for maybe 20 bucks.

Good luck....... Boy... is that the same Miami property with that cemented in big J-box collector.......
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Old 07-20-2014, 11:35 PM   #11
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washing machine circuit to piggy back one 60w light?


Maybe a silly question but I'll ask it. 240v lighting a possibility for this situation?
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Old 07-21-2014, 12:25 AM   #12
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washing machine circuit to piggy back one 60w light?


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Maybe a silly question but I'll ask it. 240v lighting a possibility for this situation?
Muli volt ballast, for LED or fluorescent, but tapping into a dryer circuit makes things even more difficult if not a bigger code violation in itself.


I take it the laundry circuit from panel B also taps the light in unit B and A? When was the unit built? If that's the case you already have a 'technical' violation. In that case you really are better off just moving lamp A to washer plug A.

Worse come to worse you could ask your local AHJ (electrical inspector) to see if they will make an exception. But in all honesty I highly, highly doubt anyone will catch this or let alone be penalized for it.

I have to agree though, with the way tenant laws are written if it ever gets proven they are paying for a neighbor's 60 watt light (even if its a 7 watt LED), they do have the legal ground to sue for more than that light will ever draw Both rules sound insane, but that's the way our laws are written

Last edited by Jump-start; 07-21-2014 at 12:27 AM.
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Old 07-21-2014, 12:32 AM   #13
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washing machine circuit to piggy back one 60w light?


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I take it the laundry circuit from panel B also taps the light in unit B and A? When was the unit built? If that's the case you already have a 'technical' violation. In that case you really are better off just moving lamp A to washer plug A.
No everything in unit A and B are completely separated and done correctly except that single light in the utility room.

Built in 1955.

It is unusual for a duplex to have two separate utility rooms, each with it's own washer, dryer and hot water heater. Most of the time the two units share the same washer and dryer. Whoever originally built it must had intended for a real "mother in law" living next door.
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Old 07-21-2014, 12:55 AM   #14
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washing machine circuit to piggy back one 60w light?


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No everything in unit A and B are completely separated and done correctly except that single light in the utility room.

Built in 1955.

It is unusual for a duplex to have two separate utility rooms, each with it's own washer, dryer and hot water heater. Most of the time the two units share the same washer and dryer. Whoever originally built it must had intended for a real "mother in law" living next door.
I mean if washer circuit B powers the laundry light in unit B that is no different than you putting lamp A on the A washer circuit.


The AHJ might actually let you do it. Worse come to worse, if someone give you a hard time you could just remove the pull chain lamp and install a plug in light with a pull chain and plug it into the washer outlet. The NEC has no control over what gets plugged in so technically it would neither be a violation, nor would unit B tenants pay for the other tenants lights.
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Old 07-21-2014, 03:08 AM   #15
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washing machine circuit to piggy back one 60w light?


I wouldn't hesitate to put the light on the laundry recep. circuit. If I wanted to do it technically legal, I absolutely would provide a plug-in light of some sort like Jump-start said.

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