Basement Laundry room

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  #1  
Old 04-10-13, 08:04 AM
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Basement Laundry room

I would like to review/correct the wiring in my basement for a laundry room.

The Electric Dryer hookup is on its own circuit.
The panel has a label for washer, but I haven't had time to track the wire down yet to make sure it is the only thing on that circuit. (there is no receptacle in where I would have put it, so I need to search).

The circuit breaker for the washer has a bar going from it to a breaker marked "sump pump". I will verify that the sump is actually connected to the receptacle for that breaker. Sump and washer are in the same room


Questions:
Should the clothes washer's breaker be physically connected to the sump's breaker like this (no battery backup for sump)? If not, how can I remove the bar connecting them?

What type of receptacle does the washer need (GCFI, etc).
 
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  #2  
Old 04-10-13, 08:38 AM
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It sounds like you have the same situation I have with my house I purchased last year.
Although not proper, I also have a 220 breaker running seporate 110V circuits.
In my case, I suspect the previous owner was too cheap to buy seporate 15A breakers, so bought a (few) double breakers and split the feeds.

For the actual plug, I believe it's code in most areas to have basement circuits setup with a GFI plug. It wouldn't hurt regardless to have your basement circuits setup this way. I was very lucky when my basement flooded that I didn't have issues. A electronics that where plugged in got submerged in ~4" of water. My basement is not finished yet and I haven't added any GFI plugs.

As for the washing machine circuit, I don't think you need to make it dedicated. Washing machines aren't huge power hogs. Just be mindful as to what it is sharing the power with.
 
  #3  
Old 04-10-13, 08:59 AM
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Hmm. I had the impression that they were two separate breakers that were joined by that bar later. I'll have to take the front of the breaker box off and actually look. Sounds like the joined connection isn't mandatory or even suggested. I'll put it on two breakers if I see that there is only one.

My copy of Wiring Simplified based on 2011 code says that washer should be on its own circuit. Since I'm already doing work there (everything is exposed anyway) I'll just put it on its own.

Any standard code requirements as far as distance from drain or hose connections? My book was silent on the issue.

Edit: Still could not find anything, but I'll try to have it elevated above and to the side of the water supply and GFCI protected.
 
  #4  
Old 04-10-13, 09:18 AM
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If you have a black wire on one breaker and a red wire on the other breaker you likely have a multiwire circuit. If other words assuming cable you have 3 conductor cable. Code requires either a 2 pole breaker or two handle tied single pole breakers which is what you seem to have. If that is what you have it is a code compliant acceptable installation.

My copy of Wiring Simplified based on 2011 code says that washer should be on its own circuit.
It would be if this is a multiwire circuit assuming after the split only the washer is on it.
 

Last edited by ray2047; 04-10-13 at 01:36 PM. Reason: OOOPS: Changes red to black.
  #5  
Old 04-10-13, 09:22 AM
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I can't help you specifically about placement to code, but I will say from experience, make sure the plug is far enough away from the water supply and drain so that it can't get wet if you have a backup or spash out.
What I have done with mine was put the domestic water feed and grey water discharge on one side of the washing machine (left side) and the power outlet to the other and up (right side, about a foot or so above washer).
My dryer is also on the right side of the washing machine.
 
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Old 04-10-13, 12:24 PM
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Hopefully someone will correct me if I'm wrong but I think GFCI protection is required for readily accessible outlets in a basement or garage which covers most of what I think of as normal outlets. A dedicated outlet & circuit for an appliance is not required to have GFCI protection. So an outlet and circuit specifically for the washer would not be required to have GFCI.
 
  #7  
Old 04-10-13, 12:50 PM
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My research, for what it's worth, led me to this;

1) Any outlet within six feet of a laundry tub or sink (I have neither) needs to be GFCI.
2) Nothing in the code exempts the washing machine from this.
3) Past convention is that anything with a motor should NOT be on GFCI for fear that the quick draw of a motor will fool GFCI into tripping. But current view is that such an issue is a result of a faulty appliance and there is no fear of a "functional" appliance's motor accidentally tripping it.
4) Despite washing machine possibly requiring GFCI in some cases, nobody is going to force a homeowner to have one if the receptacle is stuck behind the machine.

Personal view; why is an outlet stuck behind a machine in the first place? That seems too close to water. Even a stacked washer and dryer probably has some other way to be positioned so that someone can get to the receptacle easily.

So, my solution will be as mentioned above and below;
Find out where the heck the cable running from the washing machine breaker is and move it to where the washing machine is supposed to go. Have that receptacle be far enough from the machine's water source that I'm not concerned with water hitting it, and make it a GFCI.
 
  #8  
Old 04-10-13, 12:58 PM
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If your item 3. is correct, a washing machine is not to have a GFCI
 
  #9  
Old 04-10-13, 01:01 PM
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True. But that's "IF". (also, I've corrected the wording in that post since you responded).

I'll install the GFCI and see what happens. I have a washer in another location that is connected to GFCI and have never had a problem.
 
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Old 04-10-13, 01:34 PM
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True. But that's "IF". (also, I've corrected the wording in that post since you responded).

I'll install the GFCI and see what happens. I have a washer in another location that is connected to GFCI and have never had a problem.
I suspect more modern washing machines are not so abusive on the power.
 
  #11  
Old 04-10-13, 02:30 PM
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I share that suspicion. I will swap out the receptacle if the washer is old and causing issues.
 
  #12  
Old 04-15-13, 07:03 AM
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Just to make sure I have it all right

If you have a black wire on one breaker and a red wire on the other breaker you likely have a multiwire circuit.
I do, in fact, have the above multiwire ciruit. I ran the old 12-3 to a junction box and split it into two 12-2 with pigtailed white and pigtailed ground. Red and White to GFCI for washer and Black and White to (currently non GFCI, might change to GFCI in future) sump pump.

Test verified that GFCI test and reset work. Tripping GFCI does not turn off sump pump (which is exactly how I want it and expect it. I need that baby running all the time)

Is that all correct?
 
  #13  
Old 04-15-13, 11:37 AM
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Under the newest NEC the sump receptacle would need GFI protection also, unless hardwired.

The rest sounds correct.
 
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Old 04-15-13, 11:53 AM
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Is that all correct?
Except for installing a GFCI receptacle to plug your washing machine into, it sounds like it is. One question. When you say
I ran the old 12-3 to a junction box and split it into two 12-2 with pigtailed white and pigtailed ground.
Do you mean that you made a 3-wire splice of the neutral wires and a 3-wire splice of the ground wires in this J-box?

A pigtail is a piece of wire the same gauge and insulation as the longer wires it's spliced to, added to a feed-through splice in order to terminate that phase to a device mounted where the splice is being made, or to make a bond. Adding a pigtail to the ground wires in order to bond the box to ground - if it's a metal box - makes sense, but adding one to the neutrals doesn't seem to.
 
  #15  
Old 04-15-13, 11:56 AM
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Under the newest NEC the sump receptacle would need GFI protection also, unless hardwired.
Yeah. I completely disagree with NEC on that one, but I don't get much of a vote. It's pretty much forcing people to purchase expensive battery backups.

I've added yet another GFI to my shopping list. Thank you for the confirmation.

While I'm on the topic; As I think I mentioned in another post, the previous owners changed the location of the washer/dryer for some reason. Possibly because the discovered that having them on top of the sump was a bad idea. At any rate;

Is it ok to have the receptacle for the sump pump at the rafters of the basement directly above (six inches from directly above) the sump pump well, or should I move it to a lower location that doesn't involves almost standing on top of it?

OR... Can I cut off the plug, hard wire it in a gang box with a switch (not that I have any idea why I would want a switch, so maybe just wired into a gang box)?
 

Last edited by Michael Rivers; 04-15-13 at 12:32 PM.
  #16  
Old 04-15-13, 12:01 PM
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Except for installing a GFCI receptacle to plug your washing machine into, it sounds like it is.
I think NEC requires it. I'm more than happy to take it out if you can show me some authority.


One question.
When you say
I ran the old 12-3 to a junction box and split it into two 12-2 with pigtailed white and pigtailed ground.
Do you mean that you made a 3-wire splice of the neutral wires and a 3-wire splice of the ground wires in this J-box?
Yes. Metal box, so I have three whites tied together and four grounds tied together (12/3, 12/2(a), 12/2(b), "extra" wire to ground screw in box). Wasn't sure what the correct term was. Was debating between "common", "joined", and "pigtailed".
 

Last edited by Michael Rivers; 04-15-13 at 12:32 PM.
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Old 04-15-13, 12:57 PM
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I think NEC requires it. I'm more than happy to take it out if you can show me some authority.
Yeah, right. What provision of what cycle of the NEC do you think requires it, and what cycle of the NEC has your local jurisdiction adopted, with what amendments?

Yes. Metal box, I have three whites tied together and four grounds tied together (12/3, 12/2(a), 12/2(b), "extra" wire to ground screw in box).
OK

Wasn't sure what the correct term was. Was debating between "common", "joined", and "pigtailed".
"Spliced," for tying the wires together, and "bonded," for connecting the box to ground.
 
  #18  
Old 04-15-13, 01:20 PM
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Nashkat1,

I'm trying to be as code compliant as I can while retaining a don't ask don't tell relationship with the local officer. I can state that when said officer was in to check on my CO detector after installing new water heaters, he took a good look around, saw the sump that was connected to a non-GFCI, and didn't care. There were no laundry machines down there at the time, so he had no reason to even consider those receptacles. If he had considered them, he would have wondered why they were six feet away from the water supply and duct work.

Going off of Wiring Simplified, 2011, I believe that all receptacles in the basement need to be GFCI. The basement is unfinished, if that matters. My book is at home, so I cannot reference it.

I did find this online;
All receptacles in garages, crawl spaces and unfinished basements are required to be GFCI protected. No exceptions for garage door openers, refrigerators, freezers or sprinkler time clocks. Receptacles serving permanently installed fire alarm or security alarm panels in basements are not required to be GFCI protected. NEC 210.8.
Unless you give me a good reason (and I would certainly like to have one), I'll leave the relatively expensive GFCI for the washer until the washer keeps tripping it for no apparent reason.

"bonded," for connecting the box to ground.
Bah, I should have known that. I spent quite a while reading on bonding. Checking everything for correct bonding was going to be a project in the near future.

While on that topic. This is a two-family residence. Do you advise bonding both units together too? Not that I can really come up with a way to have them bonded separately.

Thank you again for all the insight.
 
  #19  
Old 04-15-13, 01:26 PM
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All 120 volt 15 and 20 amp receptacles in an unfinished basement require GFI protection.
The fire alarm system exemption rarely applies in a residence.

A 120 volt laundry receptacle within 6' of a sink or laundry tub require GFI protection regardless.

If the washer trips the GFI have the washer repaired.
 
  #20  
Old 04-15-13, 01:34 PM
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All 120 volt 15 and 20 amp receptacles in an unfinished basement require GFI protection.
And what about cutting the end off the sump pump cord and splicing it to the 12/2 in a covered gang box (getting rid of the receptacle entirely)?
 
  #21  
Old 04-15-13, 03:15 PM
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I know that. Is your laundry room part of an unfinished basement, or is it a laundry room?

And what about cutting the end off the sump pump cord and splicing it to the 12/2 in a covered gang box (getting rid of the receptacle entirely)?
In most cases removing the plug from the cord of a cord-and-plug attached appliance will void the UL listing of that appliance. It may also void the warranty. In addition, unless the cord is rated for use inside a J-box, it may not be inserted and spliced in one.
 
  #22  
Old 04-15-13, 07:02 PM
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All I have is stone walls and exposed wire. I think that is unfinished. Perhaps I should have said "laundry area". It's definitely for laundry, but there isn't a piece of drywall in sight.

Thanks for info on cords. I'll talk to manufacturer about possible replacement cord that can be direct. Gfci for sump just seems like more harm than good.
 
  #23  
Old 04-15-13, 07:45 PM
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My research, for what it's worth, led me to this;

1) Any outlet within six feet of a laundry tub or sink (I have neither) needs to be GFCI.
2) Nothing in the code exempts the washing machine from this.
3) Past convention is that anything with a motor should NOT be on GFCI for fear that the quick draw of a motor will fool GFCI into tripping. But current view is that such an issue is a result of a faulty appliance and there is no fear of a "functional" appliance's motor accidentally tripping it.
4) Despite washing machine possibly requiring GFCI in some cases, nobody is going to force a homeowner to have one if the receptacle is stuck behind the machine.
All 15 and 20 amp 120 volt receptacles in UNFINISHED basements need to be GFCI protected including outlets for appliances and sump pumps like pcboss already mentioned. If a washing machine is in a finished basement area, no GFCI required unless receptacle is within 6 feet of a laundry sink. All 15 and 20 amp 120 volt receptacles in garages also need to be GFCI protected, no exceptions for appliances or garage door openers.
 
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