I run a standard duty washing machine on a 15 amp circuit. The circuit also
has basement lights on it and measures approx. 119 volts with the washer
off. This is in line with the other home circuits at 119-120 volts. With
the the washer running, certain cycles will cause a slight flicker in the
lights and a drop in circuit voltage to 116.5 volts. Other circuits are
I'm guessing the washer pulls 4-5 amps and it seems like this shouldn't
strain the circuit. Is the small voltage drop normal? Also, would
electronics possibly be damaged by the slightly lower voltage if they were
on this circuit?
Thanks in advance........
Check all the places on the circuit where the line is cut. Like outlets
etc. Make sure the contacts are solid.
If you find any aluminum wire.. BINGO. Have a professional check out
all the wiring in your home.
It may just be normal for the washer.
First off, you should have a 20A circuit for your washer. My washer
pulls 11.1Amps (according to the nameplate). And it was made in
October or November 2003. It's probably OK to put both the washer and
dryer (if it's a gas dryer) on the same 20A circuit, but not
recommended. Also not recommended is the putting the lights on the
same circuit as the washer. Lighting curcuits should always be
separate from non lighting so when you trip a breaker your lights
don't go out also.
Now as to your specific problem, you are most likelly getting voltage
drop either because of a bad connection or maybe because you are
taxing the circuit to it's limit.
Do the lights flicker the whole time, or do they flicker when the motor
comes on, and then stabilize? If its the whole time, you have a problem; if
just when the motor comes on, probably not. (I am making an assumption you
have florescent lights; incandescent should never flicker, though they might
You are seeing a voltage drop of 2.5v with the washer on. That is little
more than 2% and nothing to worry about. If you actually have 5a and it is
a 14 gauge cable, it means you have a 90' circuit. That is a bit on the
long side, and you should avoid putting anything really heavy on it; but 5a
Has anyone looked at the length of run on the wire and wire diameter. for
14 AWG wire. you're looking at .25 ohms / 100 feet. Consider the loop
length (from the breaker box to the washer and back) is 100 feet (easy in a
house) then the voltage drop will be 10 amps (assumed) * .25 ohms = 2.5
volts. That drop will get you a ~116 volts readout at the washer (or
near). Also consider that splices in junction boxes are not zero ohm and
can add to the voltage drop.
I would say this is normal. Any decent electronics should be able the
handle this. I would put a surge suppressor just to be safe though since
you have a motor (source of noise and spikes) on the same line.
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.