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Old 11-16-2010, 08:58 AM   #1
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Washing machine and dedicated circuit.... ?


So I know it's not code for let's say ... the refrigerator to have it's own circuit, but 90% of people I've spoken with says it's a good idea.

What is the general consensus on the washing machine?

In 788 pages of CT Electrical code, the word "washing machine" appears about 10 times. In 1 place it is referring to "agricultural buildings" which I don't think we can qualify my little Cape Cod as .... the other 9 all just seem to say:

"Cord-connected appliances such as washing machines, clothes dryers, refrigerators and the electrical system of gas ranges, and so on, shall be grounded by means of an approved cord with equipment grounding conductor and grounding-type attachment plug".

OK, so it needs a grounded plug ... kinda figured that!

My house is from 1930 with an addition from 1950 so I find funny things all the time - this is to be expected. Here's one of the funny things:

Breaker X in my panel runs over to the washing machine. From what I can piece together the person doing the wiring in the addition thought it would be a good idea to tap into the junction box over the washer and run a cable to the:
A: Wall outlet in the guest 1/2 bath
B: Wall outlet in the big closet in the den

The rest of the den and the rest of that bathroom have their own breaker... just these 2 outlets were connected for some odd reason.

I'm due to do some work in there in the spring I'm not feeling all warm and fuzzy about the fact that these outlets are shared and I'm thinking about changing it. The load is minimal, I don't think I've ever used the outlet in the closet and sometimes my wife uses the one in the bathroom for a hair dryer, but that's in the morning and the washer never runs in the morning but still .....

So what do you all think? Should the washing machine have it's own breaker?

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Old 11-16-2010, 10:00 AM   #2
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Washing machine and dedicated circuit.... ?


The bath needs to be on dedicated 20 amp circuit so that part is wrong for sure. Not sure if washing machine or laundry area needs a dedicated circuit. Try searching 'laundry" in the code book. I Canada we need a circuit dedicated to the laundry room.

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Old 11-16-2010, 10:04 AM   #3
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Washing machine and dedicated circuit.... ?


Hm - you might have something with the "laundry "idea.

(2) Laundry Branch Circuits. In addition to the number
of branch circuits required by other parts of this section, at
least one additional 20-ampere branch circuit shall be provided
to supply the laundry receptacle outlet(s) required by
210.52(F). This circuit shall have no other outlets.

I can't remember if it's a 20 amp breaker or not. Could be a 2-part problem real soon
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Old 11-16-2010, 10:24 AM   #4
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Washing machine and dedicated circuit.... ?


Yes, the laundry requires a 20 amp receptacle circuit, not shared outside the room and no lighting loads.
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Old 11-16-2010, 10:44 AM   #5
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Washing machine and dedicated circuit.... ?


All right I guess it's Chop off the branched cable.... swap the 15 amp breaker w/ a 20 for the washer, should probably run new romex while I'm at it.

Then crawl into the crawl space and dig out the connection for the bathroom light, couple it w/ the bathroom outlet, run that to a new 20 amp breaker which I'll have to put in an empty slot.

Finally I suppose I could either lump the outlet in the den closet w/ the den lights and the rest of the den outlets or eliminate it altogether.

Sweet! Forget about the easy fix hahaha.
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Old 11-16-2010, 12:57 PM   #6
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Washing machine and dedicated circuit.... ?


The 20 amp circuits need #12 cable. You can't just swap the breaker if you #14 cable.
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Old 11-16-2010, 01:33 PM   #7
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Washing machine and dedicated circuit.... ?


Do not switch from a 15amp circuit to a 20 unless you replace every piece of wiring switch and outlet on that circuit.
If you have room in your box, pull out the outlet by the washer, cap it off and run a new circuit.
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Old 11-16-2010, 01:54 PM   #8
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Washing machine and dedicated circuit.... ?


Thanks - I don't know why I didn't consider that. The run to the washer is exposed pretty much the entire way across the basement and looks to be a pretty straightforward tearout. The outlet looks to be ancient as well, this should be a good upgrade.

There's 2 or 4 empty slots in the pane, I can't remember. Either way, the whole living room is on one breaker, it'd be another nice side project to split it. Hopefuly I can find a way to use the other 15 amp for that.
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Old 11-16-2010, 03:00 PM   #9
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Washing machine and dedicated circuit.... ?


Quote:
Originally Posted by michaelcherr View Post
Do not switch from a 15amp circuit to a 20 unless you replace every piece of wiring switch and outlet on that circuit.
If you have room in your box, pull out the outlet by the washer, cap it off and run a new circuit.
Why would he need to switch out the devices? Unless this is a simplex receptacle it does not need to be rated the same as the circuit. Fifteen amp duplex receptacles are rated for 20 amp feed-through.
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Old 11-16-2010, 03:10 PM   #10
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Washing machine and dedicated circuit.... ?


No, you cannot use a receptacle rated for 15amps on a 20 amp circuit.
I've replaced enough electrical fire damaged receptacles to know this for a fact.
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Old 11-16-2010, 03:24 PM   #11
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Washing machine and dedicated circuit.... ?


Quote:
Originally Posted by michaelcherr View Post
No, you cannot use a receptacle rated for 15amps on a 20 amp circuit.
I've replaced enough electrical fire damaged receptacles to know this for a fact.
Funny, the only difference is the shape of the slot configuration. The NEC also disagrees with you too.
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Old 11-16-2010, 03:36 PM   #12
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Washing machine and dedicated circuit.... ?


I thought the 15amp receptacle was only OK on 20 amp circuits if it was NOT the only outlet on the circuit. Since the washing machine has to have it's own - it would be the only one and would need to be a 20amp receptacle?
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Old 11-16-2010, 04:25 PM   #13
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Washing machine and dedicated circuit.... ?


Quote:
Originally Posted by michaelcherr View Post
No, you cannot use a receptacle rated for 15amps on a 20 amp circuit.
I've replaced enough electrical fire damaged receptacles to know this for a fact.
Where are you located ?
It is allowed in the US under NEC, as long as it is a duplex receptacle
15a rated for 20a pass thru
You will rarely see a true 20a on any new house
Unless the owner for some reason requests it
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Old 11-16-2010, 04:43 PM   #14
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Washing machine and dedicated circuit.... ?


Is the basement/laundry area finished? I'm guessing not based on age of house and comments about an "easy run". I'm 95% sure all outlets in unfinished basements need to be GFCI protected. So you'll need a GFCI outlet (what I would do) or a GFCI breaker.
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Old 11-16-2010, 05:15 PM   #15
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Washing machine and dedicated circuit.... ?


Quote:
Originally Posted by michaelcherr View Post
Do not switch from a 15amp circuit to a 20 unless you replace every piece of wiring switch and outlet on that circuit.
If you have room in your box, pull out the outlet by the washer, cap it off and run a new circuit.
Or you can leave the existing receptacle there and run the new 12 gauge circuit to a new receptacle nearby.

Nothing forbids you from having other receptacles in the laundry area fed by another circuit that may serve other rooms or that may have lighting loads or that may be 15 amp.

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