Issue with Washing Machine or Electrics?

11 Dec 2016
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United Kingdom
I have no experience with electrics, so it's been difficult to determine what the issue is.

A couple of weeks ago the RCD Circuit tripped while the toaster was on. We changed the fuse and switched the RCD switch back on and everything seemed fine.
Yesterday the RCD Circuit tripped whilst the washing machine was on. We switched the RCD Circuit switch back on, but everytime the washing machine was switched on the RCD Circuit would trip after 5-10 seconds.
I changed the fuse but this made no difference, so i assumed it was a problem with the machine. After thinking about things overnight I decided to try plugging the washing machine into the socket we use for our kettle, and the kettle into the washing machine's plug. Everything seemed fine, but when we swapped the plugs back the washing machine caused a trip again. Swapped again and the washing machine was still causing a trip.
We got an extension cord and plugged the machine into a different room's plug and the washing machine has been working fine, so we felt that the issue then must be with the electrics.
After doing a full wash, I decided to plug the washing machine back into it's original plug socket and now it's working fine! I've even managed to do another wash using the original socket.

I'm so baffled as to where the problem lies. Can there be intermittent problems with the electrics which allows the washing machine to work some times and not others? Or is this usually caused by an intermittent issue with the machine?

As a separate, and maybe daft, question (I did say I knew nothing about electrics!), can having a plug lay across metal pipes cause an electrical problem? i've noticed behind the washing machine that it's plug lays across metal pipes as it's plug socket is above the pipes.

Many thanks for any responses.
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I? i've noticed behind the washing machine that it's plug lays across metal pipes as it's plug socket is above the pipes.

Do mean that the washing machine flexible cable is lying across the pipes? I cannot visualise how a plug can lay across pipes!
From what you say, I would deduce that the WM flex may be the problem.

Does it seem worn and weak where it enters the plug or machine?
Try plugging the kettle into the WM socket, the socket maybe damaged or have a loose connection. If that's the case, i expect the RCD trip with the kettle plugged into it.
Water is another issue, if WM trips on the the spin cycle your machine may have an internal leak or the capacitors on motor require replacing.

Kind regards,

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Thanks for the responses.
The WM plug socket is above some metal pipes going across the wall. When plugged in and the WM is pushed back under the kitchen worktop the plug cable trails down the wall and over the pipes. Probably no connection but thought I'd check!
The WM is only a year old and the plug cable looks fine. Doesn't appear to be any damage.
We also did plug in a kettle into this socket and it boiles no problem. The WM appeared to work fine in the kettle plug socket but then later caused a trip in this socket and then back in its own socket. Since plugging it into another part of the house its done a full wash and after this we've plugged the WM into its original socket and its done another wash (altho its not been under the kitchen worktop).
This is really confusing as I dont want to have to pay for an electrician if its a mechanical fault as its still covered by its years warrantee. Problem is the engineer through the warranty will charge if theres no fault with the machine!
Of course a new WM could still have a fault but. The heater or water leak onto electrical parts are the most likely.-

If the results you have listed persist - i.e. no trouble in some sockets (as long as they are all covered by RCDs) - then, as I thought before, moving the flex causes it to trip sometimes, I would still suspect the cable and/or its connections.

If you call an engineer and it is not tripping when he calls it will be difficult to determine the cause.
I'm not sure if he will be equipped to measure the necessary parts.

See how it goes ???

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