Lights dimming

A friend bought a new washing machine. She says that now when the washer is on the lights in the area dim/flicker. She says that it did that with the old one when the spin cycle started. I told her to call the power company and have them check the voltage.

She said that she had a jack leg electrician put the lights in that area and she suspects that it could have been something he had done. I really don't think so but if there is I would like to know what that could be.

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Reply to
kilowatt
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it's common practice in Old Work to tap off an existing or adjacent circuit to put in a light/switch or receptacle., if any type of tap or circuit was drawn or taken from the line that feeds the washer it's logical that a draw on power from the circuit will dim the lights on that line., it could be something else but that is the most likely reason for the dimming.

TRY: shutting off the breaker to the light and see if the washer is out too, and there you have the problem.

With the washer on it's own dedicated circuit it should cease to affect the rest of the house., if it is not that, then you do not have enough power at the breaker panel and will require a more costly upgrade.

Reply to
Roy Q.T.

The washing machine should be on it's own circuit anyway. NEC requires a dedicated 20A circuit for the laundry, with no other outlets including lights (210.11.C.2). Also, there may be a combination of distance from the panel and the branch circuit conductors not being large enough to carry the load without excessive voltage drop. If the lights are on the same circuit, it should be rewired to assure no more than a 3% voltage drop at the washing machine, and if it's within 6 feet of a sink, it must be GFCI protected.

Roy Q.T. wrote:

Reply to
Alan Stiver, PE

I know how appliances are supposed to be on their own circuit, you say for the laundry, my question is, can you have both the washer and the dryer on the same circuit, or seperate circuits for each? I know most dryers (in the US) use 240v@30a, and most washers use only 120v. If they're on the same circuit, would you just tap off one of the phases for the 120 for the washer?

Reply to
Anthony Guzzi

No, don't do that. The 240 V dryer should certainly have its own circuit.

And I think the plug-in for the washing machine is a 15 A plug like on an outdoor extension cord - so I'm not certain why you'd put a 20 Amp breaker on this circuit.

But dedicated circuits are cheap cheap cheap - because generally the laundry room is in the basement not all that far from the breaker panel. This is no time to be shaving pennies. You'll never regret spending the money.

(You should probably also have a dedicated plug-in near there for things like irons, etc.)

HR.

Reply to
Rowbotth

-------------- Right and that is what is done according to Canadian codes which agree, in general with NEC. Typically a 30A ganged breaker is required.

---------

---------- Typical outlets for a washer are standard 15A outlets. If I recall, for such circuits, #14 is used and NEC and Canadian codes require a 15A breaker for such circuits. #12 wiring can handle 20A but the use of a 15A outlet is then questionable.

---------------------

------ Right on- There are other problems that can occur. For example, I once had a problem with a case where a line to ground 120V load was tapped off a 240V water heater circuit (water heater not centertapped to ground) . One fuse blew and the 120V load was fed through the heater from the other hot lead. The more lights that were turned on, the dimmer they got.

Of course, here,in Canada, it is like the rating of dogsled harness- 7 dog,

15dog, ganged 15 dog, etc.
Reply to
Don Kelly

Dryers come in 2 "flavors" in the US: gas and electric. Gas dryers heat with gas, and use the 120 volts to run the motor, timer and lights. Electric dryers use 240 volts to produce the heat.

You can't put the 120 volt washing machine on the same circuit as the 240 volt electric heater. But you can go the other way and put a gas dryer, which also uses 120 volts, on the 120 volt 20 amp washing machine circuit.

Reply to
ehsjr
050131 1930 - Anthony Guzzi posted:

Years ago I installed an FS box and blank cover -- 3 gang -- in our laundry area, with a 3/4" rigid conduit up the wall into the ceiling area. I had a

10/3 w/ground romex from the panel into the box, and at the panel the wiring was on a 2-pole 30 amp breaker. I used a couple of hole saws and sawed the blank cover for two outlets: one was the 220 volt outlet for the dryer, and the other was a single outlet for the washer. I tapped off one of the 220 wires for the washer outlet in the box. Everything worked just fine, and was all self contained within that area.
Reply to
indago

So you protected a 20a circuit with a 30a breaker? Lots of things "work" that are not legal.

Reply to
Greg

---------- In addition, I hope that the breaker was ganged. - Sounds like he was lucky, not smart.

Reply to
Don Kelly

Yes, but ....

Maybe NEW homes really do have decicated circuits but in older homes it just doesn't happen. In our home, for example, the downstairs bathroom outlets (GFCI protected) and the clothes washer are on the same circuit. The washer is, thusly, also GFCI protected (with the GFCI in the bathroom.) Since the bathroom outlets are not used much most of the time the washer has a 20 amp circuit all to itself.

BTW: the GFCI hasn't tripped but I did have to replace one because it failed it' built in (and external) test. It's nice to know that the washer wiring stays dry. I took the old GFCI apart and it looks a component on the PC board failed and left a smoky stain on the surrounding plastic. Judging sole by my experience in THIS house, the GFCI seem to have an AVERAGE life on the order of 20 years or so. If you have a LOT of them in the house, you will lose one every year or so.

Reply to
John Gilmer

I guess the reason I mentioned that the breaker panel is usually so close to the laundry room is to suggest that adding a circuit should be relatively easy to do. (Unless you have a very finely developed basement and you don't have anything as friendly as a removable ceiling, I guess...)

That is interesting. 20 years isn't bad, I don't think.

HR.

Reply to
Rowbotth

Well, that's exactly what happens. Our house (and many of the houses we looked at) had "well finished" basements. The ceilings on most of the basement rooms are finished and painted gypsum board. The wall that has the main service panel is finished. In that case, there was a hinged panel that gives access to the electrical service panel including the sides. So we could get the panel replaced (it's an ITE "bulldog" panel) without messing with finished walls. I was able to add an X-10 repeater (and two outsets for the hell of it) next to the box but "running another circuit" would require destroying walls and ceilings of several rooms. I was advised by by HVAC man (who is also a licensed electrician) that if I want a sub-panel in another part of the house that I consider running 1" conduit OUTSIDE the perimeter of the house.

I might "bite the bullet" some day and bust open the ceiling of the basement and some other places and run so good sized conduit to the attic and the unfinished portions of the basement from the area of the service entrance. It's pretty far down my list, however. Years away!

Well, if you have a mess of them (we have, for example, THREE outside oullets), then a 20 year life implies that at any one time, one of the GFCI outlets in your house isn't really protected.

Years ago, the Bell System designed equipment for a 40 year life. The Bell System didn't really consider the stuff becoming obsolete or hard to maintain. But the reliability to make it just last 40 years reduced the need for repairs.

Reply to
John Gilmer

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