I'd like to discuss the NEC requirement for a "Laundry receptacle." The simple language of the code requires such a receptacle (210.52F) and that the circuit have no other outlets (210.11C2)
As explained (WAAAY back) in apprentice school, this was intended to provide for using a clothes iron. Yet, I observe that 210.52F references the laundry equipment, suggesting this outlet is to be used to power the washing machine, and not the iron.
210.11C2, however, specifies a 20-amp branch circuit. By the context - this is the section that covers the 'convenience outlets' - the code presumably means a 120V, 20A receptacle.
IMO, the code leaves many 'design issues' unresolved. Here are some of the issues I'd like this thread to address:
1) With many 'stack' units requiring 240V, is it sufficient to provide ONLY a receptacle for the equipment?
2) Laundry equipment is typically placed in spaces serving other equipment and uses. When are such areas also required to be served by 'convenience receptacles,' as described in 210.52A?
3) May the 'laundry circuit' also power a general-use receptacle (ostensibly there to power an iron)? Does speculated temporary equipment (an iron) qualify as 'laundry equipment?' If the receptacle COULD be used for other purposes (like powering a vacuum), have we violated the 'no other loads' restriction?
4) If we were to have such an 'ironing' receptacle, would 210.52A also require us to have a convenience receptacle, fed by a different circuit? Possibly mounted right next to the ironing receptacle?
5) Let us assume a gas dryer with a 120v igniter (simple plug-in). Are we REQUIRED to power this from a laundry circuit, or may any receptacle be used?
6) Laundry rooms often contain heating equipment. Heating equipment is required by the 'other code' to have it's own circuit. Does this restriction apply to the receptacle that igniter is powered by? Can the dryer, water heater, and furnace igniters all use convenience receptacles - or receptacles on the same circuit?
7) Let us assume the room that contains the laundry equipment serves other uses .... say, as an entryway, mud room, carport, porch, unfinished basement, etc .... at what point do you require the other receptacles in these areas to be powered by a separate convenience circuit?
8) If the water heater is adjacent to the laundry equipment, may it be considered to also be 'laundry equipment,' for the purpose of powering the igniter?
9) Must the lights in the laundry area be powered from a different circuit than the laundry equipment? (Keep in mind that such equipment is often installed in closets, where the 'light' is a simple bulb on a pull chain).
10) Can we infer that a receptacle for 'ironing' needs to be mounted at 'counter height?'
The laundry circuit can serve all of the 120v loads in the laundry area. You just can't extend that out into another area like feeding the outside outlet(s) or looping it around the basement to feed other unrelated loads (furnace blower, ceiling lights etc) A work light specifically for the laundry might be a question for the AHJ. When the laundry is also the mud room, this situation may get "muddy"
My take on it is that NFPA wants enough 120v power for your laundry needs. As long as all of the loads in the laundry area are laundry related, it is OK on the laundry circuit. Usually that just ends up being 1, maybe 2 duplex boxes near to the laundry tub. Sometimes they put it opposite the washer location to avoid the GFCI requirement if this is finished space but if your washing machine is tripping a GFCI, call a repairman. These days there might not even be a laundry tub. There may just be a stand pipe for the washer outflow hose. Certainly in shared space, we have no control over what the end user will plug into the receptacles we provide but the code is not a fortune teller. The code really just prohibits feeding non-laundry, fixed in place, equipment because laundry area is not defined. Where this may start a fight is in a detached garage with a laundry. The garage will require a "garage" circuit and a "laundry" circuit although the garage circuit can feed other loads like the outdoor outlets.
OK, a few scenarios from new SFDs of varying sizes and $$$$$
Upper level 'laundry room' has a 120/20 GFI receptacle, a laundry tub, a light & switch. The GFI is for the washer and gas dryer. The light/switch are sourced from a local AFCI circuit.
Lower level 'laundry room' is the same as above; some add a duplex receptacle tagged off of the GFI; I have no issue with that. It's all in the 'laundry room'.
The 'rooms' above range from a 'laundry closet' with a laundry box in the wall, no sink; to a 10x10 room with cabinets, countertops, etc. The majority of the new SFDs have gas dryers.
'Small' homes have a laundry area in the basement, some are 'finished' basements; the 120/20 laundry circuit w/GFI is at the machine location. The lighting is on the basement lighting circuit, and any receptacles are on the 'basement' circuit.
As to the 'mechanicals', the furnace has a 120/15or20, and the electronic ign. for the adjacent wtr htr is OK, IMHO. THe sump pumps are on their own 120/15or20. Central vacs have a dedicated 120 15or20;
The issue of distinguishing 'areas' can be a challenge. It comes to lite often in apartment/condo units for the dining room, living room, and other adjacent areas. Best settled on a case by case basis. I have a 162 unit building that this was a 'hot' topic during plan review and roughs. But, common sense prevailed and all is well.
Reno: How about the 'laundry' circuit being in a floor area adjacent to the refrigerator?
I had one guy use a AFCI breaker, and a GFI receptacle. Was this an issue??
In my house, there is the kitchen sink, a 1.5 foot counter, the washer and gas dryer all in a row. The washer and dryer are plugged into a duplex gfci above that counter. That duplex is on a 20A circuit by itself. So is that a small appliance circuit, or a laundry circuit? I guess to be legal, I would have to call that a small appliance circuit and add a faceless GFCI next to it feeding outlets behind the washer and dryer...
N1Ist If you are on the 2014 it is a distinction without a difference about the GFCI. (I am still on the 11 so I omitted that. Good catch John) Both the SA and the Laundry are required to be GFCI in 14 and you will need 3 circuits total. One will be the one the washer/dryer uses (you call the laundry) and then 2 more for small appliances. I suppose you could just put in a GFCI receptacle and not the dead front if you want to comply with 2014.
John, I see no issue with a GFCI on an AFCI. It might be the easiest way to comply these days.