Q:

What size breaker would you use on a washing machine circuit?

A:

Quick Answer

Electrical code calls for a dedicated 20-amp breaker for the laundry room. This circuit provides sufficient power for the washer and a gas dryer. The code allows more than one outlet on the laundry circuit, but it requires all the outlets to be in the same room. If the laundry room has a sink, any outlets within 6 feet of it must include ground-fault circuit interrupter protection.

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Full Answer

The electrical code also specifies use of 12-3 wiring for a 20-amp breaker. This wire includes two 12-gauge wires with insulation and a bare 12-gauge ground wire in a single cable. The insulated wires provide the hot and neutral feeds.

In laundry rooms where an electric dryer is in use, the code specifies a dedicated 240-volt circuit. The back panel of the dryer specifies the size of breaker it requires, but most use a 30-amp breaker. The 30-amp breaker requires 10-gauge wires. The dryer cable should have four wires, including the dedicated ground wire.

The circuit breaker provides protection for the home by monitoring the flow of electricity passing through it. Under normal circumstances, electricity flows unhindered through the breaker. However, if there is an overload due to a short in the line or appliance, the circuit breaker trips, interrupting the flow to prevent overheating and a potential fire.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    Why does my circuit breaker keep tripping?

    A:

    A circuit breaker trips when the current traveling through the circuit exceeds the rating of the breaker, causing it to become warm and spring open. This occurs when too many electrical devices are plugged into a single circuit. Moving some of the devices to other circuits should relieve the problem.

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  • Q:

    What causes a circuit breaker to get hot?

    A:

    Circuit breakers get hot when the current exceeds the rating of the breaker. The electricity that flows through the circuit produces heat in the unit. When that heat reaches a certain point, the breaker trips and breaks the circuit. Warmth indicates that the circuit is at or near capacity.

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    What is the function of a circuit breaker?

    A:

    The function of a circuit breaker is to cut off electrical power if wiring is overloaded with current. They help prevent fires that can result when wires are overloaded with electricity.

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  • Q:

    How do you test a circuit breaker?

    A:

    To test a circuit breaker using a multimeter, remove the circuit breaker box cover and turn the switch on. Using the multimeter's red prong, touch the screw that connects to the breaker. Touch the grounded box using the black prong. If there's no voltage reading, then the breaker is faulty.

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