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Electrical advice, please, regarding central air conditioner and clothes dryer

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  • Jul 9th, 2020 9:48 am
[OP]
Member
Jun 8, 2010
264 posts
360 upvotes
Toronto

Electrical advice, please, regarding central air conditioner and clothes dryer

When my parents installed central air conditioning (about 20 years ago), the installers put a three-position electrical switch (i.e., load A, off, load B) behind the electric clothes dryer, as that was the easiest way to get a 240V line to the AC unit. Consequently, they need to turn off the AC when running the dryer. Although inconvenient, my parents are fine with this arrangement.

However, according to my mother, the installer told them that they needed to wait at least 5 minutes between each of the following steps: 1) switching off the AC (at the thermostat), 2) moving the electrical switch from AC to off (the middle position), 3) moving the electrical switch to the dryer position, and 4) starting the dryer – a total of at least 15 minutes. Is this true? This seems excessive to me, and I cannot find any information online to backup the installer’s instructions.

I would appreciate any insight someone could give as to whether or not waiting a minimum of 5 minutes is required between moving an electrical switch from one position to another. Thanks
Happy customer of Fido and Tangerine 😃
8 replies
Deal Fanatic
Nov 21, 2013
8044 posts
9020 upvotes
Montréal
scholar80 wrote: When my parents installed central air conditioning (about 20 years ago), the installers put a three-position electrical switch (i.e., load A, off, load B) behind the electric clothes dryer, as that was the easiest way to get a 240V line to the AC unit. Consequently, they need to turn off the AC when running the dryer. Although inconvenient, my parents are fine with this arrangement.

However, according to my mother, the installer told them that they needed to wait at least 5 minutes between each of the following steps: 1) switching off the AC (at the thermostat), 2) moving the electrical switch from AC to off (the middle position), 3) moving the electrical switch to the dryer position, and 4) starting the dryer – a total of at least 15 minutes. Is this true? This seems excessive to me, and I cannot find any information online to backup the installer’s instructions.

I would appreciate any insight someone could give as to whether or not waiting a minimum of 5 minutes is required between moving an electrical switch from one position to another. Thanks
I am not an electrician, but it looks like a ghetto installation to me? Sorry, can't help you more.... I'd have this checked..
[OP]
Member
Jun 8, 2010
264 posts
360 upvotes
Toronto
DoorCrasher wrote: I am not an electrician, but it looks like a ghetto installation to me? Sorry, can't help you more.... I'd have this checked..
The alternative was to break walls/ceilings in a finished basement, which was not a practical option. Subsequent repair people have commented that it's not a cause for concern. In hindsight, my parents should have asked those repair people about the "5 minute" rule.
Happy customer of Fido and Tangerine 😃
Deal Fanatic
Nov 21, 2013
8044 posts
9020 upvotes
Montréal
scholar80 wrote: The alternative was to break walls/ceilings in a finished basement, which was not a practical option. Subsequent repair people have commented that it's not a cause for concern. In hindsight, my parents should have asked those repair people about the "5 minute" rule.
repair people like a handy man or a licensed electrician? Anyway, up to you...

When I had my wall heat pump installed few years ago the LICENSED electrician started from scratch, installing a new circuit breaker directly in the panel, pulled a wire (yes, had to do holes in walls to pull it) from the panel to the outside fuse box and voilà... a little mess, but a legit install
Deal Addict
Nov 24, 2015
1466 posts
1221 upvotes
Durham Region
Waiting 5 min after switching off ac at thermostat might be because the ac fan might need to keep running for a few mins after the compressor is off?

The rest seems like overkill unless the dryer has some sort of start up cycle (not likely)
Deal Addict
Sep 13, 2016
3433 posts
2213 upvotes
Mississauga
networksend wrote: Waiting 5 min after switching off ac at thermostat might be because the ac fan might need to keep running for a few mins after the compressor is off?

The rest seems like overkill unless the dryer has some sort of start up cycle (not likely)
I agree. Waiting 5-10 mins after turning the ac off at Tstat makes sense as fan might still be running.
[OP]
Member
Jun 8, 2010
264 posts
360 upvotes
Toronto
networksend wrote: Waiting 5 min after switching off ac at thermostat might be because the ac fan might need to keep running for a few mins after the compressor is off?

The rest seems like overkill unless the dryer has some sort of start up cycle (not likely)
Ah, sorry. I forgot to mention that the installer said to wait for the fan to stop before switching off at the thermostat (i.e., wait for the ac to cycle off), then start the 5 minutes. Thank you for confirming that the "5 minute" rule seems like overkill.
Happy customer of Fido and Tangerine 😃
Deal Expert
Feb 7, 2017
22822 posts
21656 upvotes
Eastern Ontario
DoorCrasher wrote: repair people like a handy man or a licensed electrician? Anyway, up to you...

When I had my wall heat pump installed few years ago the LICENSED electrician started from scratch, installing a new circuit breaker directly in the panel, pulled a wire (yes, had to do holes in walls to pull it) from the panel to the outside fuse box and voilà... a little mess, but a legit install
This

When we installed our outdoor GFCI unit it wasn’t a huge deal for our LICENSED ELECTRICIAN ...

We too have a finished basement ... and there was no breaking of ceilings or walls

He did though have to fish cable ... and drill a hole thru the foundation

It really wasn’t a big deal at all

So my thoughts are your parents hired some HACK HANDYMAN / AC Employee to install their AC Unit
OR
A real lazy-ass Licensed Electrician

Either way ... you need to fix this.

Cuz life doesn’t have to be this dang complicated ... for you, for them, or the next guy to buy that house
(This IS NOT a positive feature / selling point )

* NOTE - The rest of us can actually do laundry on a hot day if need be
And have AC at the same time
This inconvenience you have is totally unnecessary
Never mind the energy it takes to think all this thru
Hence your post here ...
This crap is taking up too much space in your lives / head
Overthinking something that doesn’t need to be in the first place
[OP]
Member
Jun 8, 2010
264 posts
360 upvotes
Toronto
PointsHubby wrote: This crap is taking up too much space in your lives / head
Overthinking something that doesn’t need to be in the first place
You're right, I know. There are more issues here than just the AC. Getting this confirmation is hopefully the first step of convincing my parents to get this dealt with. Thank you to all of you who provided input.
Happy customer of Fido and Tangerine 😃

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