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You need peace of mind when doing your laundry knowing that you’re protected against electric shocks when using your washing machine.
If you have an older house, you may have concerns about how good the ground connection is.
Or, you may want to know how to properly ground your washer if there’re only 2 or 3 prong outlets.
Should simply plug the washer into the available outlets regardless of whether they are 2 or 3 prong?
Will the washer still work even though there is no ground connection? What risks are you exposed to if there is no ground connection?
In this post, you’ll learn whether it is necessary to ground a washer, the risks you face if the washing machine is not grounded and what you can do if there is no grounded outlet available.
Is a Ground Connection Necessary | Dangers of not Grounding?
Yes, a washing machine should be grounded to avoid electric shocks to you and your loved ones should the washing machine chassis come in contact with a live wire connection.
The shock can be mild or severe and result in injury or death. A ground connection with a GFCI breaker protects you from electrical shocks in the event that a live conductor gets in contact with the washer body.
The breaker isolates power to the washer protecting you and the family from being electrocuted.
Note: A washing machine can still work even when there is no ground connection. The risk of an electric shock is higher.
How and Where to Ground a Washing machine
The washing machine power cord usually has a ground wire connected to its chassis.
When it is plugged into a 3-slot grounded receptacle, this ground connection extends from the washing machine’s body to the receptacle all the way to the service panel and the house’s ground connection completing the ground connection.
How to Check that a Washing machine is Properly Grounded?
At a minimum, check that the washer:
- Has a grounded 3-prong plug. Do not remove the ground pin
- It is firmly plugged directly into a 3-prong grounded wall outlet.
You can also use a ground tester to check whether or not the ground connection is complete or open.
Note that several washer manufacturers advise against using extensions or adapters.
Using them increases the risk of a bad ground connection if the plug does not make a firm connection with the extension.
Also, there is a risk of overheating and damage to the extension and washer power cord if it is not properly sized to handle the washer current.
If you have concerns about the grounding of an outlet or the home in general, for your safety contact a licensed electrician immediately.
Available Outlet 2 prong (No ground connection) -What to Do
If there is no grounded outlet available where the washer is installed, contact a licensed electrician to advise and install a well-grounded outlet that is code compliant and safeguards you and the family from the risk of electric shock.
Can a Poor Ground Connection Cause Dimming of Lights when a Washer Is Running?
Dimming of lights when the washer is running can happen when it is connected to an undersized circuit.
Consider connecting it to a 15 or 20-amp dedicated electric circuit. Loosely connected wires or plugs at the wall outlet, or service panel can also cause the lights to dim.
Contact a licensed electrician to support you on fixing this.
To reduce the risk of electric shocks, make sure it is grounded. Always use a 3 prong pin that is plugged firmly and directly into a 3-prong grounded outlet.