General Question

nettodo's avatar

Can you connect lighting to the same duplex outlet as a clothes washer safely?

Asked by nettodo (473points) March 29th, 2015

I’m doing a laundry closet redesign and as part of it, I will be adding wall cabinets and installing LED worktop lighting underneath it. There is a duplex outlet in the area with one outlet alloted for the washer and a free outlet. However, in an LG washer manual (the brand I will be purchasing) it states “do not overload the outlet with more than one appliance”. Is it talking about the one outlet specifically or the whole duplex? If my lighting is only going to draw 3.4 watts, does it really matter?

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6 Answers

elbanditoroso's avatar

You can but it is inadvisable. Check the washer manual for how much current it needs during the different cycles.

The problem is surge. When the washer motor starts (spin or wash cycle), it will draw surge current, and then back off a little. Your LED lighting will dim for a moment or two until the surge demand ends.

You can probably get away with it, but it’s not all that wise.

The LG manual is most likely talking about the whole duplex, because I am sure they are assuming that there will be only one supply wire coming to the whole box.

ibstubro's avatar

To me, “do not overload the outlet with more than one appliance” means exactly that…one appliance. A dryer would be an additional appliance, certainly. An iron, perhaps. But 3.4 watt LED lighting? Not in my book.

If that were the case, I believe it would state, “The dryer should be the only item plugged into an outlet, regardless of if it’s a dual outlet.”

majorrich's avatar

Surely the outlet is on its own circuit, and the washer will be drawing far less than the rating of the breaker. At least that’s how it is in my home. The motor almost certainly has a capacitor to help it apart so startup current should be no problems. I wouldn’t be afraid of plugging in a Low wattage lamp into the outlet.

nettodo's avatar

So, I checked the manual and nowhere does it state the current draw in a cycle. In regards to the surge issue for the lights, could I mitigate it with a single-outlet surge protector or would that not be wise?

bossob's avatar

Generally, washing machine motors are around ⅓ to ½ horsepower. For a motor, ½ hp is roughly 375 watts. A 120V/20A circuit is rated for 1875 watts max. Lots of room to spare.

375 watts at 120v is roughly 3A. 120V duplex receptacle is rated at 15 A. Lots of room to spare.

A motor may cause a current surge at start-up for a fraction of a second. This wouldn’t affect another device plugged into the receptacle, or at any other receptacle that may be on the same circuit. The current surge may cause a voltage drop (not a surge) on the circuit, that would affect anything connected to that circuit. In older houses, it’s not uncommon to see some lights dim when the fridge, furnace, or washing machine starts.

You can safely plug in your light, and sleep soundly!

Judi's avatar

Your LED lights should pull very little current. That’s kind of the idea of LED lights. I’ll ask my hubby who is an electrician/contractor to be sure but being married to him for 25 years my guess is that it would probably be ok. I’m sure he will probably ask how many amps your breaker is, but now I’m speaking a language I’m only slightly familiar with.

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