Washing Machine Outlet < 6' from Utility Sink

This is something I run into quite a bit. Today’s inspection (new construction) has a duplex outlet (non-GFCI protected) for the washing machine about 3’ from the utility sink. There is another GFCI outlet in the laundry room (not protecting above mentioned outlet). I would typically recommend changing the duplex outlet to a single to prevent someone from plugging anything else in. I am wondering what everyone else recommends. I have recommended GFCI outlets in the past and have gotten feedback from clients that the machine constantly trips the outlet. I am guessing this is caused by machines with heavier motor loads on startup. In those cases I recommended relocating and installing a normal outlet further than 6’ from the sink. Comments?

Tony , you do not want the Washing machine or dryer on an extension plug either.

There should be a non-GFI outlet for connecting the washing machine and dryer (assuming it’s a gas dryer). If there’s no gas dryer a single receptacle outlet should be used for the washing machine. All other outlets within reach of the sink should be GFI outlets.

Anything electrical with a motor (washing machine, refrigerator, microwave, etc.) can and do trip GFI’s which is why they really shouldn’t be plugged into a GFI.

The plug is going to be closer than that to the washing machine connection anyway. Those hoses break often, yet the outlet has no requirement for GFCI there. So practically and logically, what is the difference? Besides as was stated earlier, it would nuisance trip all the time.

I personally would not call it out.

Under the 05 NEC or later code the receptacle within 6’ of a laundry tub requires GFI protection. No exemption for single receptacles. Article 210.8(A)(7) covers this. This should be called out depending on the code cycle. It could be recommended if not required.

Motors should not be tripping the GFI. If it does there is a problem with the appliance. I really wish this myth would go away about motors and GFIs.

I did see the article 210.8(A)(7) in my 2008 NEC yet I see so many builders (as well as older homes) not putting them in the laundry room. Obviously, I would not recommend relocating outlets to the point of needing an extension cord. I will have to agree with Jim Port on this one and call it out especially on new construction since it is clear as day in the NEC. I know we aren’t supposed to be necessarily calling out code; however, in safety related items such as this one I believe we should. I just don’t get into the habit of putting the code article reference in the report which establishes a precedent which can later be used against me if omitted on a future report. Builder’s hate me and this one was present during the inspection and tried to start an argument. I had to ignore him and continue with my inspection. My clients got a kick out of it. Thanks for the comments guys.

I agree with Jim. No exception for washers.

Got this from a HIP user I think. Might help.


Ok, so NEC says it’s wrong. But again I ask…

What’s the difference between a sink and a hose that is known to burst?

I won’t get into a debate about the danger of a burst hose. My washer before this used the same hoses for over 15 years with no problems. I really don’t see this as an issue.

With that said, the NEC specifies the GFI protection within 6’ of the sink so it should be installed.

Just the fact that someone appears to be possibly trying to circumvent the code requirements really frosts me.

Please discuss “dedicated appliance circuits”…

What would you like to discuss about these?

A circuit dedicated for a specific appliance.

I agree. I hear this myth repeated all the time.
Thanks Jim.

This is incorrect information…If the receptacle for the washing machine is within 6’ of the sink then under the 2008 NEC it would be required to be GFCI protected. Also motors are not going to trip a GFCI Device unless the motor is leaking current in excess of the listings of the product. I personally have my washing machine on a GFCI and it works fine…

I stand corrected. Thanks for the update.

I personally do not call them out if hard to get at, as in a double stack stuck in a closet.

GFCI= good, No GFCI - bad
No motor trips GFCI Old Myth for old GFCI’s

I second that. I’ve been using my power tools in my GFI’d garage for years with no problems. Lots of big motors.