Wiring Washer & Gas Dryer

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  #1  
Old 09-08-04, 05:31 AM
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Wiring Washer & Gas Dryer

I just moved into an older ranch house (40 yrs) with a basement about 3 months ago. I've replaced all the light switches and receptacles on the main floor and now I'm moving down to the basement.

The main concern I see is the washer and dryer circuit with the present set- up. A quick visual inspection reveals that I have 12-2 romex (with a ground) from a 20a breaker, run into a pull chain light . From the light, I have 12-2 going to a halfbath on the main floor, 14-2 to a flourescent fixture in the laundry, and 12-2 to a metal box w/receptacle on the wall for the washer. In addition, there is another metal receptacle box attached to the side of the washer plug box for the dryer. All boxes are loose because the cheap anchors they used to attach to the block wall are failing. In these 2 boxes I have plugged in a new Maytag washer, a 25 yr old Maytag Gas dryer, and a pump for my utility tub (I'm on a septic).

To correct this situation, I was going to seperate the lighting circuits from the washer/dryer/pump, and drop them down to a 15a breaker. Then I was going to run a new 12-2 romex cable from a new/seperate 20a breaker for the washer/dryer/pump.

I have a few quesitons:

1 - Can I use a ganged box with 2 - 20a receptacles (total of 4 power points), or should I use 2 different single receptacle boxes?

2 - First and foremost, I want this to be safe!!! Do I also need to add a GFCI on the upstream washer/dryer circuit?

Some of the wiring I've found in the basement is scary! Reverse polarity (black to silver and white to gold) in many receptacles, ground wires unattached to boxes, fixtures/recpetacles, etc...
 
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Old 09-08-04, 05:37 AM
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You can use a two gang box for this. As long as a duplex receptacle is dedicated to two appliances and is at/behind those appliances they do not need GFI protection.

As a side not, you do not need 20 amp receptacles. They are typically never needed in a residence, unless it is a single(not duplex) receptacle on a dedicated circuit. I have never, ever, seen a 20 amp plug on a washer or gas dryer.
 
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Old 09-08-04, 05:44 AM
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You are right to address these wiring problems. The combination of 12 gauge and 14 gauge wire on a 20 amp circuit is an obvious problem, as are the reverse polartity issues you mention.

Whether or not your laundry recepticles need to be GFCI protected depends on several factors. Is this a finished basement? A finished laundry room in the basement? If the laundry area is unfinished then most people would say that you need to use single recepticles to avoid using a GFCI.

Regardless of whether a GFCI is required or not, you can still use one for added safety. The problem that might occur if you use one is that the GFCI will nuisance trip. A nuiusance trip with a washer or dryer is not as bad as one on a refrigerator or freezer, where you might lose all the food inside, but it still is a nuisance nonetheless.

Why are you suggesting two duplex recepticles? If it is because the appliance cords have right angle plugs and won't fit in a single duples, then you might look for a duples recepticle where the individual recepticles are turned 90 degrees from their "normal" orientation.
 
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Old 09-08-04, 07:03 AM
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Thanks for the quick replies!!!

The basement is not finished, and the laundry room is not finished.

If I use 2 - 15a duplex receptacles in a 2 gang box, should I use a dedicated 15a breaker & 12-2 wire on this washer/dryer circuit? Or, should I use a dedicated 20a breaker with 12-2?

To answer racraft's question - Why are you suggesting two duplex recepticles? I need to plug in 3 devices: washer, gas dryer and the utility tub drain pump.

The receptacles will be located immediately behind the appliances so I will not use GFCI.
 
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Old 09-08-04, 07:35 AM
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A laundry area receptacle circuit must be a 20-amp circuit, with nothing but laundry area receptacles on it.

The only way you can avoid GFCI is to have exactly the number of receptacles that you have plugs. That is, there can be no unused places to plug something in. In this case, that would be one duplex receptacle and one simplex receptacle.

I recommend that you simply use GFCI here. Although not normally used for washing machines, a modern GFCI should serve you fine here. I also recommend you pick up the $6 green paperback "Wiring Simplified" in the electrical aisle at Home Depot. Nobody should be doing this much rewiring without a good code book. Read it cover to cover.
 
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Old 09-08-04, 07:43 AM
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I will pick up the book. That's another question I was going to ask - what is a good book to help me learn how to do these projects the right way!!!
 
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Old 09-08-04, 07:52 AM
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You might also want to pick up the Black and Decker Complete Guide to Home Wiring. The two books complement each other. Wiring Simplified has more theory and code, and B&D has more "how to".
 
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Old 09-09-04, 05:25 AM
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John - I bought the B & D book last night at Home Depot. Excellent publication. The illustrations are wonderful. I'm going to study it this week in preparation for my project this weekend.

Thanks.
 
  #9  
Old 09-13-04, 05:33 AM
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I tackled my problem and got the circuit up and running safely. What I found under the pull chain light is down-right scary. There was 12-2 running from the panel (20a breaker) to the light. From there, someone had twisted 3 additional 12-2 circuits onto the input from the breaker without using a wire nut! The neutral wires were damaged and also cobbled together in the same fashion. The grounds were twisted together but the box wasn't grounded.

To repair, I simply seperated the washer/dryer receptacles from the lighting circuits. I removed the pull chain light and installed a new junction box in it's place where I correctly spliced in a new section of 12-2. I ran this down to 2 new receptacles in 2 new single duplex boxes with 15a commercial quality duplex receptacles and conduit.

For the lighting circuits, I removed all the 12-2 originally installed. I installed a new 15a breaker in the panel and ran 14-2 to my lights. Also installed a new 4' flourescent fixture in place of the pullchain light. It was a little tricky at times, but I followed the instructions in the Black & Decker book - $20 well spent IMHO.

I don't know if this is possible, but the washer and utility sink pump seem to work better!

Thanks to all for your input!!!
 
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