Electric dryer outlet how to test

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Old 07-06-06, 07:06 PM
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Electric dryer outlet how to test

How do you test the electric dryer outlet to see if it works if you don't have a voltage tester.I need a new dryer and can't decide on gas(what we have now) and electric.How do I test to see if it works If I can't do it without a tester how much do they run. Can I rent one.
 
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  #2  
Old 07-06-06, 07:10 PM
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Buy a two wire tester. They cost a few dollars at most big box stores. These have a small light that lights up when you have voltage across the light bulb.

Test between each hot terminal and ground and between each hot terminal and the neutral. Also test between the two hot terminals. You should get the light to light on every combination except between the neutral and ground.

You can also buy an ANALOG multimeter and use that for your testing. Do not buy a digital meter.

Although you didn't ask for it, I will offer advice on a dryer. A gas dryer will save you money in the long run.
 
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Old 07-06-06, 07:21 PM
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OK found one for 4.99 with 2 lights its made for 100V -300V one light for 120V another for 240V now How do I know witch one is ground and hot. Im use to 3 prong grounded outlest. This plug has 3 slots(my term for them) and one hole in the middle thats the ground right?. This things monted on its side so the slots and like this. 2 slots are to the right of the hole then theres 1 slot to the left of the hole. So How do I know whats hot and whats not. I can do it If I can just find out where to start.
 
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Old 07-06-06, 07:26 PM
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You have a three wire dryer receptacle. You ought to consider upgrading this to a four wire receptacle, but you are allowed to use what you have.

You have a combined ground/neutral. The L shaped slot is the ground/neutral. The two straight slots are the two hots.
 
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Old 07-06-06, 07:32 PM
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AH thats easy to remember I will go out tomorrow and get the tester and post bak with what I find.Now one last question. Are dryers still being made with 3 outlets on them or would I need to get an adapter If I can't find an electric dryer made for my kind of outlet.
 
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Old 07-06-06, 07:36 PM
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Uh racaft there all straght not ones a L shaped
 
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Old 07-06-06, 07:39 PM
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Three and four wire cord and plugs are available. You match the plug to your existing installation. All new wiring installations are four wire. If at all possible, you should upgrade your wiring to be four wire. It will be a safer installation.

You must follow the installation instructions that come with the dryer to the letter so that the installation will be correct for the receptacle.

Once again, you really ought to go with a gas dryer, as it will save you money in the long run and is better for the environment.
 
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Old 07-06-06, 07:40 PM
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Originally Posted by lexmarks567
Uh racaft there all straght not ones a L shaped
It does not sound like a dryer receptacle. What are the letters/numbers on it?

Does it look like one of these?
http://www.pdqsupplyinc.com/electric...eceptacles.htm

or

http://www.leviton.com/sections/techsupp/nema.htm
 
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Old 07-06-06, 07:45 PM
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It looks like the 385 in the first link it has the same kind of slots. This plug is in the back room so I guess I don't have a electric dryer hook up. it is 5.0AMPS 240 volts.So if I wanted to go with a 4 wire dryer hook up would I be able to Or do I have bigger problems. I gues this house when it was bult. You would put your stove and refirgerator in the back room. The house does not look that old all the other outlets in the house are up to code we even have GFCIs near the water
 
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Old 07-06-06, 07:52 PM
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The 385 receptacle is a 50 amp three wire range receptacle. You cannot use it for a dryer, no matter what you do.

If you want an electric dryer, you must install a new four wire circuit and a four wire receptacle.

Additionally, your comment about GFCIs near water makes no sense and means nothing. There is no requirement that receptacles near water be GFCI protected. I would be suspicious about what you consider as being "up to code".
 
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Old 07-06-06, 07:54 PM
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Yeah the fuse that controlls that outlet is a 30AMP fuse
 
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Old 07-06-06, 07:56 PM
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Sounds like the previous owner was cheap and didn't want to buy the proper receptacle for a dryer. Instead he or she used what was lying around. A very stupid thing to do.
 
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Old 07-06-06, 07:59 PM
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Originally Posted by racraft
Sounds like the previous owner was cheap and didn't want to buy the proper receptacle for a dryer. Instead he or she used what was lying around. A very stupid thing to do.
I better replace it. What needs to be done do I need someone to come out and re wire it or are there 4 wires in the wall behind this outlet that would allow me to replace with a 4 wire outlet.It would have to be 240V 30 amp as thats what the curcuit is.
 
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Old 07-06-06, 08:02 PM
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It is doubtful there are four wires present, although there could be.

Code prohibits you from installing a three wire receptacle, although nothing (but common sense) stops you from doing so.

The proper solution is to rewire with new four wire cable and a proper receptacle.
 
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Old 07-06-06, 08:14 PM
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Now how would I replace it if there is 4 wires there. Are the screwed in to the receptacle like a normal outlet.and how is it atached to a wall where that hole is in the middle thats the screw hole right.If its 4 wires and its hooked up like above I could do it but if theres only 3 wires that I will need to call someone to correct the problem.
 
  #16  
Old 07-06-06, 09:09 PM
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Originally Posted by racraft
Buy a two wire tester. They cost a few dollars at most big box stores. These have a small light that lights up when you have voltage across the light bulb.
The 2 wire testing will tell you have power whether it is the right voltage or not you need a meter to be safe


Originally Posted by racraft
You can also buy an ANALOG multimeter and use that for your testing. Do not buy a digital meter.
Please do elaborate on this one. I think its because you just hate digital meters. I am assuming you are talking about loading. For this application the 2 wire tester will load it more than either multimeter.

If the dryer were on running I would also agree with the choice of analog (because of how the meter achieves its measurements). But there is nothing plugged in here.
 
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Old 07-06-06, 09:15 PM
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Originally Posted by racraft

Additionally, your comment about GFCIs near water makes no sense and means nothing. There is no requirement that receptacles near water be GFCI protected. I would be suspicious about what you consider as being "up to code".

The code for my house said we had to have it in every bathroom and by the kitchen sink. Ironically there isn't one near our mop sink and that passed
 
  #18  
Old 07-06-06, 09:20 PM
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As for the 4 prong outlet, he would not have a ground and if code will allow for that and he really doesn't want to spend the money I would just put a 3 in.

You would have to add a ground wire to install the 4 wire prong.

The 3 pin has to 2 hots and one neutral, The 4 wire will have 2 hots one neutral and one ground

Assuming he is not impling you get 3 phase service
 
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Old 07-06-06, 09:28 PM
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Originally Posted by lexmarks567
How do you test the electric dryer outlet to see if it works if you don't have a voltage tester.I need a new dryer and can't decide on gas(what we have now) and electric.How do I test to see if it works If I can't do it without a tester how much do they run. Can I rent one.

If it is a gas dryer now, you probably have a 20-A ckt.
Plug in a lamp or radio and see if it works.
Then go to the hardware/"big box" store and spend the 10 bucks for a plug in tester, it has all the lights and will tell you if the rec. is wired correctley.
If you want to change to an electric dryer........ Now you have some issues.
 
  #20  
Old 07-06-06, 09:37 PM
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I think he means that he has a gas dryer and because of that his house is wired for a 220V outlet that he has never used and wants to verify that it actually does work
 
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Old 07-06-06, 09:39 PM
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Originally Posted by racraft
The 385 receptacle is a 50 amp three wire range receptacle. You cannot use it for a dryer, no matter what you do.

If you want an electric dryer, you must install a new four wire circuit and a four wire receptacle.

Additionally, your comment about GFCIs near water makes no sense and means nothing. There is no requirement that receptacles near water be GFCI protected. I would be suspicious about what you consider as being "up to code".
Well I thought it was required by law or code thats what the inspecter said and made us replace them with GFIC.Theres one near the laundrey tube one near the bathroom sink and one near the kiction sink. Is was saying its up to code cause this house as all the normal grounded 3 prong outlets I thought that was up to code maby im wrong. I'll stay with gas I thought the outlet was a dryer outlet but its not I could replace it with a 3 wire outlet and not be up to code or go with the 4 wire but if there is no 4th wire inside that wall than forget it Im not messing with 240V. I just leave it.I guess when this house was buit you would put your stove and refridgerator in the backroom and the kiction was your laundrey room.Now because I was curius to see I poked my nose behind the stove and did not see anything but a normal wall outlet.
 
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Old 07-06-06, 09:41 PM
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Originally Posted by hotrodder89
I think he means that he has a gas dryer and because of that his house is wired for a 220V outlet that he has never used and wants to verify that it actually does work
CORRECT I just wanted to see if it worked in case I wanted an electric dryer.I have gas right now and its gettine replaced this saturday since the seal/gasket thats inside the drum came out.And the vent that let heat into the drom is all scorched like it caught fire.
 
  #23  
Old 07-07-06, 05:32 AM
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Code does not require GFCI protected receptacles near sinks per se.

Code does require that kitchen counter top receptacles be GFCI protected. Code does require that receptacles in bathrooms be GFCI protected. Many people incorrectly assume that because a sink is nearby in these cases that a receptacle near a sink requires GFCI protection.

There is no requirement that a receptacle under a kitchen sink be GFCI protected, and that is certainly near a sink. If a receptacle is not above the kitchen counter, but rather is one foot from the sink it does not have to be GFCI protected.

The problem with digital meters is that people do not know how to use them. I say to buy an analog meter because it will not be subject to phantom voltage. Too many people diagnose their electrical problems with a digital meter and get confused because the meter reads phantom voltage. They can't understand where the reading of say 56 volts comes from. They don't understand that the meter is showing them phantom voltage. An analog meter would correctly report zero volts.

lexmarks567, I would verify that those three prong grounded receptacles are really and truly grounded. The previous owner may have incorrectly and unsafely installed three prong receptacles on an ungrounded circuit, or worse yet done something stupid like connect the ground prong to the neutral.
 
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Old 07-07-06, 05:37 AM
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Ok I will check the outlets when I get a chance today. Right now I need some
 
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Old 07-07-06, 07:38 AM
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Originally Posted by racraft
.

The problem with digital meters is that people do not know how to use them. I say to buy an analog meter because it will not be subject to phantom voltage. Too many people diagnose their electrical problems with a digital meter and get confused because the meter reads phantom voltage. They can't understand where the reading of say 56 volts comes from. They don't understand that the meter is showing them phantom voltage. An analog meter would correctly report zero volts.
Ah so its just a matter of your preference thats all I needed to know.

I can prove why you have to use a DMM for circuit boards. But not for which to read electrical outlets. I know what you guys call "phantom" voltage is. I hate that term its so trademen like for something they don't under stand. I have designed a few digital DMM's in my day. And in certain apps digital aren't desirable like in dimmer switched circuits or with electrical motors running
 

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Old 07-07-06, 09:09 AM
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Originally Posted by hotrodder89
Ah so its just a matter of your preference thats all I needed to know.
No, it is NOT my preference. I know how to read a digital meter when used on an AC circuit. I would use either.

I recommend that the general public use an analog meter so that the general public (the majority of whom do not understand phantom voltage) does not get confused and think that they really and truly have 56 (or whatever) volts instead of 120.
 
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Old 07-07-06, 09:19 AM
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Ya your preference

Most people don't know how to read an analog meter and become overwhelmed when they see all the number and lines. Heck with digital sometimes they are lucking just getting the knob turned to right spot. let alone with analog figure out how to read the display and which scale to pick

So they can't read the analog anyways, you stick with analog for electrical outlets and I will stick with telling people digital.

And your "phantom"/noise induced measurements are easy to spot if this happens then you could recommend they attempt to figure out how to read the analog meter because people who have never used them before always mess it up or just flat out can't figure it out.

I have never had "phantom" happen to me outside of a lab when trying to create it, other than when you have a poor connection or just leave the leades dangling in air and the reading bounces around 0

A lot of "phantom/unknown tradesmen measurements" voltages can be eliminated in the design of a multimeter just by picking a different clock.
 

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Old 07-07-06, 09:52 AM
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As regards alternating current circuits, if you have not seen phantom voltage in real life or cannot understand why it is an issue then you are not qualified to speak to it.

If you have an open neutral on a circuit and you attempt to test the circuit between the hot wire and the open neutral using a digital meter, you will read phantom voltage.

This happens all the time and people post here, al, confused because they have no idea why they are reading 56 (or whatever) volts. In this case a digital meter will read 0 volts.

The best test equipment for the majority of the people out there is a simple two wire tester and a plug in type tester.
 
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Old 07-07-06, 10:10 PM
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UH racraft how many outlets do you want me to pull the covers off of all of them in the house or a couple. Also a lot off the ground holes I had to take a pen and poke them clear cause they were covered over with paint.
 
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Old 07-08-06, 05:47 AM
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Look at your panel. If the cables coming off are two wire NM and there is no conduit of any sort, then those circuits are not grounded. Any three prong receptacles on those circuits are incorrect.

If you do have three wire cable or you do have conduit then you may be okay.

When necessary, pull off a cover or two per circuit and look at how the receptacles are wired.

However, your first tests should be with a tester.
 
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Old 07-08-06, 10:11 AM
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So I need to pull the outer cover off the fuse box(this house still uses those).
 
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Old 07-08-06, 10:48 AM
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[QUOTE]
Originally Posted by hotrodder89

Most people don't know how to read an analog meter and become overwhelmed when they see all the number and lines. Heck with digital sometimes they are lucking just getting the knob turned to right spot. let alone with analog figure out how to read the display and which scale to pick
If a person is inexperienced with any meter, they may be confused. We can't teach them everything but we try to alert them to possibilities. An analog is often the simlplest to use as racraft posted as it does not show "phantom voltage"

So they can't read the analog anyways, you stick with analog for electrical outlets and I will stick with telling people digital.
They need to learn to use and be aware of the downfalls of any meter they are using.

And your "phantom"/noise induced measurements are easy to spot if this happens then you could recommend they attempt to figure out how to read the analog meter because people who have never used them before always mess it up or just flat out can't figure it out.
Not sure how you determine they are easy to spot. I have often had an actual reading of ~1/2 voltage reading from hot to ground AND neut to ground when the ground neut bond failed. It was a very real voltage. Just the same, I have had induced voltage read very near line voltage with enough energy to make my tick tracer trip. I don;t care to call it phantom voltage because it truly isn't. It does help explain it to a layperson though. It is induced voltage and it is real. It just doesn;t have enough current to be usable. I have had an experience where this induced voltage from an adjacent circuit did make an event counter count (apparently a very high impedance counter). The induced voltage was 12.5 volts. The threshold voltage was 10 volts so the counter was counting the freq.

I
have never had "phantom" happen to me outside of a lab when trying to create it, other than when you have a poor connection or just leave the leades dangling in air and the reading bounces around 0
You seem to deal with electronics more than typical household or commercial electrical systems. If you have 500 amps current running in a conductor, you WILL see an induced current in an adjacent line if the circuit is open. In electronics and their generally lower current, I wouldn't expect to see them often.
A lot of "phantom/unknown tradesmen measurements" voltages can be eliminated in the design of a multimeter just by picking a different clock.
Not familiar with you term of "clock" Please explain.

Just so you know, I personally prefer and use a DMM. I do get the wiggy out to verify things if neccessary though. Now there are times where an analog is the only way to fly, even in electronics e.g. checking a pot. A DMM won't show a flat spot in the pot because all you see is running numbers while an analog will show the hesitation in the bad spot. There is a need and place for each.

You have to know how to use anything you use or it can be a waste of time, at least, or a deadly situation, at worst.
 
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Old 07-08-06, 04:25 PM
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OK but what do I have to do. Remove the outer panel of the fuse box. In the meantime Racraft I will pull the covers of a few outlets and see.
 
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Old 07-08-06, 04:37 PM
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If you have fuses then I doubt very much you have grounded circuits, except perhaps for any new circuits run or for maybe the kitchen and/or utility/laundry room.

Yes, pull the cover off. Just be careful.
 
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Old 07-10-06, 12:03 PM
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OK heres what I found out. the fuse box is made by general switch company its a class CTI cat. no. 518 Amps 100 ,Volts 120/240, poles 3-SN

I took the cover off and took some pictures





are the curcuits grounded.
 
  #36  
Old 07-10-06, 12:09 PM
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It's hard to tell from that picture, but it does not look like you have ANY grounded circuits.

To be grounded the wires would need a separate and distinct ground wire, and it does not look like any have them.
 
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Old 07-10-06, 12:26 PM
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OK pulled the cover off the outlet in the bath room and found 2 sets of wires one set of white and black towards the right of the box and another set of white and black towards the left of the box.The outlet is a GFCI.
 
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Old 07-10-06, 12:37 PM
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Originally Posted by lexmarks567
OK pulled the cover off the outlet in the bath room and found 2 sets of wires one set of white and black towards the right of the box and another set of white and black towards the left of the box.The outlet is a GFCI.
This receptacle is not grounded. However, as it is a GFCI it does not have to be, and is allowed to be installed. It should, however, be marked "No Equipment Ground."
 
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Old 07-10-06, 06:30 PM
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When I expand the first picture I see Service Entrance cable entering the enclosure at the bottom left. The "hot" leads run to the main pull-out fuse block which feeds the lower bus with the plug fuses.

The branch circuit wiring entering from the top appears to have bare copper equipment grounding conductors, each cable having its ground wire twisted with the other branch circuit cables and eventually being terminated at the top left of the neutral/ground bus.

There is another connection on the top right of the neutral/ground bus that appears to be either aluminum or copper. This appears to also be type SE cable in conjunction with the bottom two plug fuses (30 ampere) which I assume (always a dangerous thing to do) are serving either an electric water heater or a small kitchen range.

Since there is no apparent Grounding Electrode Conductor I assume that the GEC is terminated in the meter socket and from there runs to the city water piping.

Obviously this is not an installation that is up to current NEC requirements but I do not see anything that is non-code for the time in which this panel was most likely installed.

From looking ONLY at the pictures of the service panel I would surmise that the outlets do have grounding conductors run to them. They may be connected only to the outlet boxes.
 
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Old 07-10-06, 07:35 PM
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Bob,
As somewhat of a side note for clarification related to your post from a few days ago;
Jurisdictions that have adopted the 2005 National Electric Code [210.8(A)(7)] now also require GFCI's in a dwelling for receptacles as follows:

Laundry, utility, and wet bar sinks where the receptacles are installed within 1.8 m (6 ft) of the outside edge of the sink
 
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