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  #1   IP: 66.236.197.226
Old December 6th, 2002, 10:32 AM
TimW TimW is offline
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Location: Reading, PA
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Default Washing Machine Ground Wire & GFCI

Twenty years ago I owned a washing machine with an attached green grounding wire. The manual stated this wire should be securely attached to a grounded object.
The washing machine we own today has no wire, and the owner's manual mentions nothing about one. However, there is a tapped hole on the back panel with the words " Ground Screw" stamped into the metal, but without a screw present!
The house wiring provides a dedicated branch for the washer, but is not GFCI protected. The water softener is also powered from the same receptacle.
Should I use this tapped hole, and ground the washer to a water pipe or receptacle box? Has there been revisions in code regarding washing machines? Are GFCI's generally used or not used on washing machines? Is the softener OK being plugged into the same receptacle as the washer?
Thanks
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  #2   IP: 204.251.246.6
Old December 6th, 2002, 12:19 PM
RMiell RMiell is offline
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Tim, if your outlet is grounded, then no other grounding is needed. To gfci your washer is a choice you can make, as it is not required to be gfci protected. Even though I was an electrical inspector, an instructor of electrical safety, and a 20 year vet of the electricial industry, I was not able to convince my wife that we did not need a gfci on the washer circuit. So guess what, we have one, and it works fine.

I would not run the softner on the same circuit as the washer. Depending on interpetation, the code may or maynot allow it, so go with the easy answer, and put the washer on it's own circuit.

Hope this helps.

Rick Miell
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  #3   IP: 66.236.197.226
Old December 10th, 2002, 10:39 AM
TimW TimW is offline
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Thanks for the info.
I will look into a separate branch for the softener. I will probably leave the washer on its original receptale (not GFCI), because I would have to replace the box with a larger, to accomodate the GFCI.
I'm still considering a washing machine frame to water pipe "bond", to supplement the "temporary" grounding of the 120vac plug. Is this advbisable?
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  #4   IP: 148.78.243.123
Old December 10th, 2002, 06:34 PM
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Wgoodrich Wgoodrich is offline
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If you have a grounding conductor with your washer branch circuit and add this ground wire to the water pipe it would be redundant grounding. As Rick suggested in one manner you would be exceeding the Code yet in another manner it would be a violation of the NEC.

The NEC forbids grounding receptacles or appliances to metal water pipes in today's version.

In the previous Codes it was accepted practice.

If you were to install this redundant ground as you suggest you are required by the NEC to run that redundant ground wire as close to the original branch circuit as possible and grounded to the grounding bar in the panel.

The only location that the NEC allows water pipes to be connected by an equipment grounding conductor by today's Codes is if the metal water pipes are in direct contact with the earth for a minimum of 10' and only if that redundant grounding conductor is connected within 5' of where the metal water pipe enters the structure from contact with earth.

You are no longer allowed to use a metal water pipe as an equipment grounding conductor.

Personal opinion is that I would use the equipment grounding conductor ran with your branch circuit and forget the redundant grounidng conductor to the water pipe.

The confusion or differing of opinions are due to one letter in the rule found in 210.11.C.2. Read the following and pay close attention to the words AT LEAST ONE ADDITIONAL 20 AMP CIRCUIT. Then notice the word receptacle then the (s) after that word receptacle. This is where Rick is refferring to differing opinions. Many read it one way and many read it exactly the opposite. Welcome to the wording of a book designed to be adopted as rules of law.

See article

210-11-C
(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.

210.52
(F) Laundry Areas. In dwelling units, at least one receptacle outlet shall be installed for the laundry.

Read that and think that 210.52 requires one laundry receptacle then 210.11.C requires an ADDITIONAL 20 AMP BRANCH CIRCUIT TO SERVE ALL OTHER RECEPTACLES. Then think of the last statement where it says NO OTHER OUTLETS.

The above is one way of interpretation of these two rules.

Then read that and think that 210.11 concern of ADDITIONAL 20 AMP BRANCH CIRUCIT TO SERVCE ALL OTHER RECEPTACLES as referring to that ADDITIONAL branch circuit as being the branch circuit stated in 210.52.F.

Now you should see how we have a split interpretation in these two rules. Welcome to the rules of law and the special wording inviting a never ending difference of opinion in what the NEC says.

Hope this helps and enjoy.

Wg
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  #5   IP: 66.236.197.226
Old December 11th, 2002, 10:12 AM
TimW TimW is offline
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Thanks for all the valuable info.
I have'nt inspected the back of any new washing machines on the store floor lately, to see if "Ground Screw" is still pressed into the metal!
The water softener was installed by a local reputable business. So until I find out what the local code interprets, I will assume it is OK to have it share the same outlet with the washer.
Thanks again.
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  #6   IP: 148.78.243.123
Old December 11th, 2002, 12:23 PM
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Wgoodrich Wgoodrich is offline
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You will probably find the green grounding screw. Remember the manufacturer tries to be set up for any wiring situation. Many older homes out there has no equipment grounding conductor but only a two wire type knob and tube or similar two wire branch circuit then we would need to ground that machine by using that green screw on the washer shell.

If you will check 250.134 you should find that you no longer are allowed to just connect to the washer cold water pipe but must go back to the panel with a green insulated grounding conductor or go back to the ground rod or a water pipe in direct contact with earth within 5' of entry into the building of the water pipe from earth.

Times have changed so they say.

Hope this helps

Wg
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  #7   IP: 66.236.197.226
Old December 12th, 2002, 05:37 AM
TimW TimW is offline
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Thanks again for the info.
This is a fantastic website.
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