Electric problem? How would I troubleshoot?

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Hadley333

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I've had 2 very bizarre things happen that makes me wonder if I have an electric problem, and would love some advice as I'm quite frustrated. It could be coincidence but what would be the odds?

1) Moved into house with new washing machine. Machine would just stop mid cycle. Had motherboard repaired, all that fun stuff while it was still under warranty. Same problems.

2) Bought a new washing machine 3 months ago. Installed in same outlet. Went from a GE machine to Samsung hoping for better quality. 3 months later, same thing happens. It simply freezes up and have to reboot to complete cycle. In process of getting technician to deal with what we had happen previously.

The ONLY thing I can think of that could have contributed was having a snow storm where our power went on and off 2 times for a couple minutes. Nothing appeared damaged. I don't have anything else strange happening to appliances within home.

Is there something I can do or look out for? Thanks in advance.
 

ChrisAtTech

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I had a similar problem with my furnace that turned out to be a loose wire. If you're comfortable with it, turn off the breaker to the washer outlet (don't just trust the labels on the breaker box, use a tester!), then take the outlet out and just check that al the wires are in good contact with it and the screws are tight. Pull on the wires a bit, they shouldn't come away from the outlet. You could also check the amperage on the breaker vs. what the washer requires. It should be on a dedicated 20-amp circuit. If you have an electric dryer then the dryer should be on a separate circuit from the washer. If it looks like the washer circuit has more on it than it should, the long-term solution is to run a new circuit. But, a short term solution may be to make sure you don't run the washer and dryer at the same time, or turn off any other power hogs on the circuit when running the washer.
 

Sparky617

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I'd agree with Chris. It could be a loose connection that is heat related. As the washer runs through its cycle the loose connection heats up and opens. If there are wirenuts on the circuit tighten those. If the wires terminate directly into the outlet check those connections and or replace the outlet and don't use back-stab outlets for the connections. Use the screws.
 

BuzzLOL

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There may be an automatic resetting circuit breaker in the washing machines... or auto resetting thermal overload switch on the motor...
This may be tripping because you're overloading the washing machine with too many clothes...

When washer stops, check voltage available in the outlet to determine if problem in house wiring or inside washer...

Harder to do but can check the amperage the washer is drawing while working hard... compare to amps spec. on data plate on washer or in owners manual...

Could also be an out-of-balance-load switch that is tripping when spinning fast... older washers used to make a load banging noise when clothes load too far out of balance... we then shut it off and even out the load in the bin by hand...
 

BuzzLOL

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what the washer requires. It should be on a dedicated 20-amp circuit. If you have an electric dryer then the dryer should be on a separate circuit from the washer.
An "electric dryer" should have it's own heavy duty 30 amp 240 volt outlet... a gas dryer usually has 120 volt plug...
 

billshack

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yes loose or intermitting connection . may be a loose ground .
 

Hadley333

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Thank you everyone. I'm going to check the connections tomorrow on my day off.

I was able to follow the wiring back to breaker, and I have the washing machine, fridge, and water pump on one 20 amp breaker.
 

Sparky617

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Thank you everyone. I'm going to check the connections tomorrow on my day off.

I was able to follow the wiring back to breaker, and I have the washing machine, fridge, and water pump on one 20 amp breaker.
The fridge should definitely have its own 20 amp circuit. Your breaker isn't tripping so it doesn't sound like you're pulling too much current, but I suspect if all three were running at once you could. Water pumps tend to run very sporadically since most have a pressure tank that can supply a few gallons without having the pump run. When you washer is pulling water in, the motor really isn't doing a lot of work on a top loader. I'd bet a loose connection on the hot or neutral more than a ground. But check them all at every box. And eliminate any back-stab outlets. I prefer to pigtail my connections to outlets rather than using the screws on the outlets to connect the supply and the down stream load wires. It is OK code wise to use the device for your splice, but my electrician dad and tech school teacher definitely frowned on it.
 

Hadley333

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The fridge should definitely have its own 20 amp circuit. Your breaker isn't tripping so it doesn't sound like you're pulling too much current, but I suspect if all three were running at once you could. Water pumps tend to run very sporadically since most have a pressure tank that can supply a few gallons without having the pump run. When you washer is pulling water in, the motor really isn't doing a lot of work on a top loader. I'd bet a loose connection on the hot or neutral more than a ground. But check them all at every box. And eliminate any back-stab outlets. I prefer to pigtail my connections to outlets rather than using the screws on the outlets to connect the supply and the down stream load wires. It is OK code wise to use the device for your splice, but my electrician dad and tech school teacher definitely frowned on it.

I'm no electrician but was thinking the same thing. To be clear, the washing machine doesn't turn off but seems to freeze and all lights are on. I'm wondering if the power draw from fridge and washing machine and pump could be causing power issues with washing machine which makes it defective. Thanks again for the help.
 

GeoM

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Most likely a power quality issue. You may be able to rent a power quality monitor. One that can detect low voltage, power surges, power loss and other power quality issues. Many electrical contractors have one they can install for you. Record while you are running the washer. Hopefully it will capture the issue when it happens again.
 

Hadley333

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Most likely a power quality issue. You may be able to rent a power quality monitor. One that can detect low voltage, power surges, power loss and other power quality issues. Many electrical contractors have one they can install for you. Record while you are running the washer. Hopefully it will capture the issue when it happens again.

"power quality issue," sounds expensive. What's the usual causes and fixes for that?
 

GeoM

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Most are not expensive fixes. You may have a condition possibly caused by another appliance starting or running on the same circuit. This can be a low voltage situation or momentary spike. A loose wire termination will show as a power loss even if it is under a second. It may even be your utility company that you show a recorded record. Mainly you need to eliminate power as the cause of your problem. The difficult part is identifying the source of the condition.
 

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