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I pulled some really old and rigged-up shady wiring out of my laundry room and replaced it. It was a two-wire 15 amp line to a 15-amp breaker. On it were two GFI (possibly GFCI) outlets. One was used for the washer and dryer and the other wasn't being used. I removed the second outlet and old wiring connecting it and hooked up the GFI for the washer/dryer to a new 14 gauge grounded line to the same 15 amp breaker. It's now the only thing on the circuit.

I've been told that the washer and dryer should be hooked up to a 20-amp line. Is that really necessary for a gas dryer? The main draw on the power is coming from the motors in the washer and dryer. In the 4 years or so we've been in the house, the breaker has never tripped. I'm considering adding one more outlet to the circuit for recharging a hand vac and maybe a CO/gas detector. Is it possible I'll start having issues if I do that while the washer and dryer are running?

  • What are the specs on the dryer? It should list expected voltage, maximum draw, etc. – BrownRedHawk Jun 16 '16 at 16:07
  • @BrownRedHawk I will check on that when I am back at home. I guess the other question is whether this is a code thing. Maybe I should just do it so that it's not an issue when I go to sell the house which (probably a long way off.) – JimmyJames Jun 16 '16 at 16:30
  • Also, if you had an electric dryer, you'd most likely also need an electrical line larger than 20A to run it. I personally haven't seen electric dryers that can use less than a 30A line (and NEMA 14-30 connector). – statueuphemism Jun 16 '16 at 18:16
  • The correct socket for an electric dryer is NEMA 14-30 with a 30A breaker and 10AWG wire or larger. If somebody makes a dryer that needs something else, they are asking every customer to rewire their home, so it must be a heck of a dryer! – Harper Jun 18 '16 at 0:52
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According to the National Electrical Code, yes it should be a 20 ampere branch circuit. This circuit should also not have any other outlets, other than the ones for "laundry equipment".

So keep the 15 ampere circuit for your general use receptacles, and run a new 20 ampere circuit for the "laundry equipment".

Also note that the receptacles in the laundry area must be GFCI and AFCI protected (210.8(A)(10), 210.12(A)), as well as tamper resistant (406.12(A)).

National Electrical Code 2014

Chapter 2 Wiring and Protection

Article 210 Branch Circuits.

210.11 Branch Circuits Required.

(C) Dwelling Units.

(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 outlet(s) required by 210.52(F). This circuit shall have no other outlets.

210.52 Dwelling Unit Receptacle Outlets.

(F) Laundry Areas. In dwelling units, at least one receptacle outlet shall be installed in areas designated for the installation of laundry equipment.

  • As I understand it AFCI is required in "kitchens, family rooms, dining rooms, living rooms, parlors, libraries, dens, bedrooms, sunrooms, recreation rooms, closets, hallways, laundry areas, or similar rooms or areas." That seems to cover pretty much anywhere except maybe attics and basements? – JimmyJames Jun 16 '16 at 17:21
  • @JimmyJames, yup! Sounds like fun, huh? The 2014 NEC is so overkill it's not funny. In NYS we'll be there in October. Yay! – Speedy Petey Jun 16 '16 at 22:10
  • @JimmyJames -- bathrooms aren't on that list -- they're still GFCI-only (at least for now) – ThreePhaseEel Jun 16 '16 at 22:16
  • @ThreePhaseEel I guess garage isn't on there either. It seems like things are headed toward all AFCI though. I think I have a couple dozen breakers. At $47 a pop, it starts to add up. – JimmyJames Jun 17 '16 at 13:46

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