bathroom and washing machine GFCI question

Hello all,
I have a question about how to rewire my bathroom. Here is the current setup:
20 amp breaker | | not sure what gauge wire in conduit | 4 outlets in 1 junction box (washing machine, dryer, and freezer plug in here) | | 14 gauge wire no ground (romex) | outlet in bathroom (not GFCI) | | not sure what gauge wire (romex) but it looks like 14 gauge | light switch | | not sure what gauge wire (romex) but it looks like 14 gauge | fluorescent light
I know I definitely need a GFCI outlet in bathroom because the outlet is next to the sink. The question I have is does the washing machine need to have a GFCI outlet as well? If it does I would just buy a GFCI circuit breaker, replace the ungrounded romex with grounded romex and call it done. I remember from a long time ago a friend told me that fluorescent lights should not be on a GFCI outlet, I recall something about the ballast. Is this still true?
I live in Indiana if that information helps.
Thanks, Jason
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If I'm reading your post correctly, you have a 20A breaker on 14 guage wire. That is a fire hazard. First things first, change the breaker to 15A. If you have ungrounded wire, you could just put in a 15A GFCI breaker that will take care of the whole circuit. As far as the fluorescent lights, I am not sure if it will present a problem. I have my fluorescent lights on a GFCI breaker and it seems to be OK. By the way, the washer, dryer and freezer should be on their own circuits. AT the very least the washer since it uses up the most juice.
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Thank you for the response. Yes the circuit breaker feeding the 4 outlets is 20 amps. Since the wires are in conduit I cannot get to them easily and I am doing a load of laundry right now. The ungrounded romex coming from the junction box with the four outlets has no writing on it, but I am pretty sure it is 14 gauge. This 14 gauge wire only feeds the 1 outlet in the bathroom and the fluorescent light. The outlet in the bathroom powers a hair dryer, sometimes a vacuum cleaner. That might be why the 14 gauge is there and why the bathroom is powered by the washing machine circuit. Whoever put in the wire figured there was not enough load in the bathroom to run 12 gauge everywhere. The freezer is dead and we will be getting rid of it soon and it will not be replaced, so do you still think the washer and dryer each need there own circuit?
So to recap, if you have a 20 amp circuit breaker, you need 12 gauge wire running everywhere on that circuit. Is this correct? What about a 15 amp circuit breaker with 12 gauge wire, is that OK?
Thanks, Jason
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no problem having a 15a breaker with #12, it just has to be at least #14.
But you have a number of problems. If you do anything to change the circuit you will have to bring it up to current code. You are very very far away from current code. The bathroom has to have a 20a circuit, and it cannot share with any other room; etc. You cannot legally do what you want.
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Good grief. I know I am really far from current code, the ungrounded wire and no GFCI being a big part of the problem. I think it might be time to see if the local building inspector would be willing to answer a few questions.
Thanks, Jason
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Jason wrote:

As another poster has said, you shouldn't have any 14 ga. on a 20 A breaker. Upsize *all* the wire to 12 ga. or downsize the breaker to 15 A - which will probably start to trip if all this stuff is on at once.
Also something's odd about the dryer. Is it a 120 V appliance? I have not seen a 120 V clothes dryer. Perhaps you mean hair dryer?
In the ideal case, like if you're rewiring from scratch, the sink outlet would be on its own 12ga/20A circuit and would be GFCI; the washer would be on its own 15 or 20A circuit and *could* be GFCI but may not need to be depending on local codes; the freezer would be on its own 15 or 20 A circuit and should probably not be on a GFCI but should be far away from any water source or wet person; and the 120 V dryer, if it is such a thing, should be ditto the washer.
For convenience of cable pulling you could pull 12/3 or 14/3 to one double-width box, with the black hot feeding one outlet (GFCI if you wish) for the washer and the red hot feeding one outlet for the 120 V dryer (which I'm still thinking is a mythical beast). Each outlet could be a simplex except you'll never find a dual simplex coverplate, so use two duplexes. Or, if you don't want it to be GCFI, use a single split duplex: you'll have to link the breakers, which means a fault in the washer would kill power to the dryer. No big deal.
Likewise you could pull another 12/3 to the outlet box by the sink, use its black hot to feed a GFCI there, and connect its red hot to a 12/2 that goes to the outlet for the freezer. That outlet could be in the same double box as the washer/dryer split outlet, I believe. If it's in a box by itself it could be a simplex, so nobody "accidently" plugs a heater in and blows the freezer circuit.
The outlets for the big appliances should be in back of the appliances where it's hard to get to them for other purposes - in some places the code actually says this for appliances in bathrooms. (Most codes have provisions for a washer and dryer in the bathroom, I dunno about a freezer.)
Myself, I'd have every bathroom outlet be GFCI, but I'd try real hard not to have a freezer in the bathroom. So that's a tough call. The outlet by the sink must be a GFCI outlet; for the GFCI-protected appliances, breakers would probably be better since the outlets will be hard to reach.
I'd say the lighting should be on the same circuit as some nearby room lighting but in some places code may want it on a GFCI circuit too, especially if it's over or near the tub or shower.
If all this stuff were on one 12 ga 20 A circuit I'd say you were overloaded. Being on a *14* ga 20 A circuit, I'd say you are dangerously overloaded. You're quite right to want to re-do this room.
Chip C Toronto
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Yes this is a 120v nautral gas clothes dryer and a 120v washing machine. They are located in the utility room. The outlet in the bathroom (half bath) only powers a hair dryer and sometimes a vacuum cleaner. I was planning on purchasing two GFCI circuit breakers. One for the washing machine, clothes dryer, and bathroom (the freezer is dead so I don't know why I mentioned it in the first place) and one for the kitchen outlets. I will replace the wiring with 12 guage wire and make sure it is properly grounded this time. The 20 amp GFCI breaker should be more than enough to power the washer and dryer and a flourescent light. The hair dryer is only used in the mornings and never runs when the washer or dryer is running.
Thanks, Jason
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Jason wrote:

D'oh! Gas dryer! Now that you mention it, I have heard of such things!
I'll bet the dryer and washer would be very happy sharing a circuit, even 15A.
Chip C
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Actually, I remember years ago I did have a 110V electric clothes dryer. It took forever for the clothes to dry. I do not know if they still make them.
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