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We would like to put in a utility sink in between our washer and dryer and the 220v dryer outlet is about 6" to the right and 6" below the top of the sink. I know code doesn't require GFCI for this, 120 washer outlet is GFCI, but is this safe or common practice? Thanks.

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It is very common to have outlets, even panels near sinks. No biggie.

Remember the dryer is going to be plugged in 24/7 and not likely to be messed around with, so not unsafe.

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If the dryer receptacle is in a place where it could be splashed it may be considered a "damp" location and you should probably get a weatherproof cover for it. (NEC 2014, section 406.9(A)).

Also note that all 125-volt (i.e. "regular") receptacles in a laundry area must be GFCI protected, whether or not there is a sink (NEC 2014, section 210.8(A)). But a sink makes it an especially important safety feature so this would be a good time to double-check that and correct if necessary. (Note that there is no "distance to the sink" clause for laundry areas, so it's not a question of a certain number of feet from the sink.)

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While the sink close to the outlet situation is probably acceptable to all electrical and building codes, I personally would want to increase the margin of safety if it were my home:

  • Relocate the dryer outlet further from the sink and raise it up higher.
  • While at it, be sure the outlet is a modern 4 wire (2 hot, 1 neutral, 1 ground) and has maximum protection from splashing it its design.
  • Place a splash barrier between the sink and the outlet: perhaps a half wall or a small custom barrier.
  • Better still would be to locate the utility sink to the left of the washer and dryer to the right. Note: appliance manufacturers expect washer to the left of the dryer when doors that open left or right are considered.
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You're okay with this configuration. Most utility rooms aren't all that big, and it is also very common to have clothes washing machines, which combine lots of water with lots of electricity, right next to clothes dryers, along with an oversize utility sink in many cases.

The dryer plug is almost certainly behind the washer and/or the dryer, not where it is easily accessible. It certainly sounds like it is behind the dryer in this case. The dryer is also unlikely to be unplugged for any reason more than about twice in the next 10 years. Any time you do unplug it, it's going to be when you are repairing or replacing it--not a casual affair during which somebody is likely to be using that sink at the same time.

My point is that you aren't constantly plugging and unplugging things like electric razors, radios and dangerous little high power appliances like hair dryers into that dryer receptacle. You're plugging the dryer in, pushing it up against the wall, then leaving it alone. If the circuit is wired correctly, then the housing of the dryer (and of the washing machine next to it) is grounded and won't become a shock hazard. If it's wired incorrectly, then it's a danger with or without the addition of a sink.

On the other hand, if you plug a radio or hair dryer into a non-GFCI receptacle, then drop it in the sink or the bathtub, you are in very serious trouble.

In other words, the danger of the receptacle has much to do with how you use it, and the nature of the devices you plug into it, and the state of repair (or disrepair) of said devices, and the portability of said devices.

You are quite unlikely to accidentally drop a clothes dryer into the sink.

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