Washing machine blew wall socket - which wires?

Discussion in 'Electrics UK' started by beast616, 13 Jan 2014.

  1. beast616

    beast616

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    Had a new dishwasher installed today. Currys guy asked me to pull out washing machine to fit a new hose (don't ask), didn't check was unplugged, cord pulled too tight and flash of light, puff of smoke, circuits tripped.

    Flipped everything back on, everything in kitchen now fine - except obviously washing machine (brown wire snapped and made contact, caused the flash) but also the damn socket in the wall! I clipped the live wire in the wall as this is the one that had snapped in the lead (none were black ended to give me a definitive answer), but still not working. Tried another faceplate, still nothing.

    Do I just trim all three wires and that'll solve things? Is clipping the uninsulated part enough or could the problem exist further down the wire where I can't do anything about it?
     
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  3. securespark

    securespark

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    So you have no power to the washing machine socket?

    How many wires feed the socket?

    Is there a switch above the worktop for the socket under?

    Has that switch got a fuse in it?

    Has the fuse gone?
     
  4. beast616

    beast616

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    Correct - no power to socket.

    Oddly from what I was expecting, 4wires. Two were in the earth (both green and yellow) but socket has worked fine with same washing machine for years.

    No socket/switch above.

    Which fuse are we talking about? Problem hasn't affected any other sockets in room.
     
  5. plugwash

    plugwash

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    The cable itself is most likely fine and I doubt cutting it back further will make any difference.

    It's fairly common to use switched fused connection units to protect and/or switch spurs. Given that you only have one set of wires in the live and neutral connections (the extra earth is probablly supplementary bonding and not relavent to the problem in question) and given that only that socket is not working I think it is most likely that there is a fused connection unit in the feed to that socket and that the fuse in it has blown.

    It is also possible (but IMO less likely) that there is no actual fuse but a bad connection somewhere has blown, bad connections can sometimes act like fuses.

    The problem you have is finding the other end of the cable that feeds the socket. Can you see what direction the wires go in from the socket? if downwards is there an accessible crawlspace under the floor?
     
  6. beast616

    beast616

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    Bloody hell - if that's the case then that is a far bigger problem than I'm capable of dealing with myself. Is there nothing more "local" it could be?

    The wire seems to be coming from below but there's no access I can find. How far away is the fuse that you think likely needs replacing going to be? Are we talking some common point with other sockets, or buried and isolated somewhere?
     
  7. beast616

    beast616

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    Correct - no power to socket.

    Oddly from what I was expecting, 4wires. Two were in the earth (both green and yellow) but socket has worked fine with same washing machine for years.

    No socket/switch above.

    Which fuse are we talking about? Problem hasn't affected any other sockets in room.
     
  8. plugwash

    plugwash

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    Near to other sockets is likely, have you seen any boxes on the wall with fuse-holders or switches? Have you looked behind nearby kitchen cabinets.
     
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  10. beast616

    beast616

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    Nothing that I can see. The original socket looks older than all the others in our kitchen, and is annoyingly a single socket. Not massively older mind you, just clearly wasn't replaced when the previous owners did the kitchen up 5 years ago.

    So we're talking something along the direction of the wires leaving the socket that applies to just that socket but might be sitting with similar things from other sockets?
     
  11. jtonline

    jtonline

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    What are you using to test for power at the replacement socket? If it's an appliance, have you checked that it works on a known good socket?
     
  12. beast616

    beast616

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    Table lamp - yes, working on multiple other sockets
     
  13. PrenticeBoyofDerry

    PrenticeBoyofDerry

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    Do you have a multimeter or an approved voltage indicator (a neon screwdriver or voltage pen/stick should not be used as these will not help)), so you can check voltage at the conductors rather than the socket outlet.
    It could be you have fitted a faulty socket outlet, it could be that you have nipped up the conductor's insulation within the terminals of the socket plate, thus not making good contact with the socket plate terminal (worth checking)
    If you have no power at the conductor ends, then we need to look further into the installation. So this would be the first thing to check.

    What do you mean by four wires?
    Is it two earths one via sheathed cable to plate and one connected across plate to backbox?
    Then a neutral and live/line going to their respective terminals?
     
  14. beast616

    beast616

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    I didn't fit the outlet - was already working and functioning perfectly for ages with the washing machine plugged in.

    By four wires I mean there is one live, one neutral, and two earth (separate but going into the same hole). As before, been like it for years and worked fine.
     
  15. conny

    conny

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    When you looked at the four wires were the live and neutral secure in the correct holes? Did it look as though the screw may be tightened onto the insulation instead of the bare copper? If it was onto the bare copper its possible one of them may have come loose when you replaced the socket. Turn off ALL the sockets at the consumer unit so there is no chance of it still being live at the cable ends. Remove the socket and check all connections again, making sure it is clamped on to bare copper and tight. Replace the socket and try again.
     
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