Should My Washer Be Grounded?

I have a 20 year old washer in the garage next to the dryer. In between them there is a three prong outlet that the washer is plugged into (the dryer, of course, has it's own).
The plug on the washer is two prong. I always just assumed if it came that way, it didn't need to be grounded. It wasn't until recently I began to realize this was a little strange. I can't move heavy things so I never really have seen the back of the washer until recently when it was moved. Well, on the back is a wire wrapped up with a little flat connector thingy that I assume is the ground wire!
My guess is that this was done so if you had a two prong outlet that was groundable by the plate screw, you would be able to use the washer by screwing that end of the wire to the screw on the plate. Is that correct? Is that a common thing (at least back then)?
This is an early '60s house with some grounded outlets, but most not. Funny enough, the one there is a 3 prong one. So if I connect that wire to the screw on the 3 prong outlet, will it be grouned?
I'm not very knowledgeable in electrical , so responses in non-techno babble would be appreciated :)
Also, how dangerous is having a washer ungrounded?
-- John
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yeah connect that green wire to the physical box somehow.
i had a washer like that years ago it was about 40 years old when it died and could of killed me, it developed a internal motor short and electrified the case of the washer:(
it had been bought to wash my diapers, i felt bad getting rid of it but couldnt get parts.......
fix yours before you get shocked
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Now that you can buy Depends, no need for the washer :)
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...and it knocks the shit out of you and you need diapers!
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John Ross wrote:

Good guess, you're correct and yes, at least moderately common...
Well, at least the odds are good that the grounded outlet receptacle is on a grounded circuit, but check to make sure -- a previous owner could have replaced a two-prong outlet w/ a 3-prong one simply for the convenience of having the place to plug in a 3-prong cord.
If it does have the ground wire, and a metal box (likely given age, but plastic is still possible), then if the ground wire from the circuit is properly attached, the box will be grounded and the plate screw will suffice. If it is plastic box, that won't work as the box will isolate the mounting strap and you'll have to arrange a jumper to somewhere else. If the water piping is metal and is the house grounding as would be pretty common in that time frame, then a clamp around the nearest pipe would suffice.
It's not a danger _unless_ there's a failure somewhere that allows a hot conductor to make contact w/ the frame -- that's the purpose of the ground.
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Leakage from the windings to the frames of electric motors in large appliances is quiet common and the reason why there are such strict grounding rules. Air conditioners are notorious for this, but it can also occur in washing machines and dryers. You don't really want to claim that an ungrounded washing machine can somehow be considered "safe".
In the 1960's, the manufactures of washing machines included an extra ground wire and a strap for the cold water pipe to insure grounding although it was later determined that this violated the single point ground doctrine if the device was already grounded through the plug.
I read somewhere that this might still be a code requirement in Canada. ??? Perhaps someone can clarify...
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What's wrong with having a loop within the Equipment Grounding system, as long as the EGC are interconnected to the service neutral at only one point?
Cheers, Wayne
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On May 26, 11:25 am, snipped-for-privacy@notreal.none (Beachcomber) wrote:

It still takes a failure to have a problem...while the mechanism you pose is possible, certainly nothing I've ever seen flagged as prevalent...in OP's case, while I certainly agreed it should have the ground attached, it's pretty clear he's had 20 years w/o any significant problem--that qualifies as pretty safe in my book. Granted it only takes a failure to now occur to cause a problem, the chances are pretty good it won't happen the next five minutes until he can attach the ground wire... :)
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On Sat, 26 May 2007 16:25:33 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@notreal.none (Beachcomber) wrote:

Why would there be such a doctrine? What if the ground through the plug fails, but the other two wires don't. One wire has to fail first: it might be the ground. Or, what if the ground fails between the outlet and the fuse or breaker box. Or what if the outlet has 3 slots, and will accept a 3-prong plug, the outlet is not grounded at all.
Why shouldn't there be a second ground?
It's not a religious doctrine that was revealed by God, so shouldn't it yield when there is a good reason.

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dont GFCI washing machines, or dishwashers
they will nuisance trip.
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

As you said: "i had a washer ... could of killed me, it developed a internal motor short and electrified the case of the washer" If the GFCI trips, fix or replace the appliance.
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dpb wrote:

I forgot to mention 2 things:
1. There is another plug on the receptacle (this one is a normal 3 prong one). Does having that ground wire attached to the screw and having this other one plugged in normally cause any problems?
2. The washer plug is the one removed in the garage when some tool needs to be plugged in. So, with the washer 2 prong plugged in plus it's separate ground wire screwed on the plate screw, when I unplug the washer plug the ground will still be connected. If I then plug in something else with a 3 prong plug, is that a problem? In other words, I want to be able to unplug the washer plug, but now the ground to the washer will be permanently attached to the outlet (and still there when something else is plugged in).
thanks for all the replies
-- John
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No and no...leaving grounds connected is not a problem electrically.
Sounds as if would be convenienent to add another grounded outlet, though. Or, if this is surface mounted, replace the duplex box w/ a quadplex and the second outlet there might not be difficult.
In general, though, having the tool outlet in the neighborhood of the washer/dryer station sounds like an inconvenience well worth relieving unless you simply don't use an electric tool more than once or twice a year.
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John Ross wrote:

It's very important that the washer is either grounded or protected by a GFCI. (it doesn't really need both, but it wouldn't hurt)
If the cord is only 2 wires, and the receptacle is grounded, run a separate wire from the washer frame to the center screw on the receptacle.
Be aware that an old washing machine might constantly trip a GFCI if there is any leakage in the motor. So once you connect the ground wire you might start having problems -- but if so, that means you had a very dangerous condition before and just didn't know it.
Bob
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