Why does washing machine have to be double poled?

22 Nov 2005
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United Kingdom

We have a new kitchen and built in washing machine. I have made a start on all the electrics and was previously going to have the washing machine plugged into a socket in the cupboard next to it. Having got the new washing machine and read the instructions it says it must be wired into a double pole fused switch? Why can't I just put a plug on it?

Thanks for the probably simple answer!
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I assume it wasnt supplied with a fitted 13 amp plug top, (I thought appliances had to be supplied with fitted plug).

I would fit a plug, (to aid removal in case of fault), if possible in an adjacent cupboard.
Nope, didn't come with a plug and no mention of a plug in the instructions, it says it MUST be wired into a double pole outlet (or whatever the technical term is), I just wanted to know why before I go putting a plug on it and plugging it in!

I would do what they say, and use DP FS, this is for 2 reasons:
1) If you do not do so, your warranty for the machine will not be valid, as well as if something happens it will be your fault (may be not fair) but if you do not follow the manufacturers instructions this is what will happen.
2) It is a good practice to connect the appliance to the socket (whether you are using plug or not) via a 13A fused spur.
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Could you not just change the socket front to a double pole socket.
JonB said:
Could you not just change the socket front to a double pole socket.

I am not familiar with the "double pole socket".
JonB said:
part No. 15747

MK 2 gang Double pole socket

yep I see, the deference between this and the DP fused spur is that there is a 13A fuse in the fused spur (you can change it to a smaller one), while the switched DP double socket in only a switch.

A ring circuit, which I assume the socket is part of, is normally protected by 32A fuse, in the case that there is a break in the circuit, you will have 2 live radial circuits protected by 32A fuse, in normal conditions the maximum size of fuse (for 2.5mm cable) in a radial circuit allowed is 20A.

The question will be so why we can connect a plug to a socket in the same conditiones and risks, the answer is that the plug if it complies it is fused (maximum 13A).
Cheers everyone, I'm still a bit confused. Why can I plug my dishwasher in as normal (same make) but not my washing machine? Will it only be warrenty issues I might cause by putting a plug on it and forgetting about it? The socket I want to use in the cupboard is switched above the worktops, does this count? Can I put a fused outlet in the cupboard, wire my W/M into it and keep the switch above the worktops?

Thanks again!
Hmmm...what's the power rating of the washing machine? It's not an industrial one, is it?!
Not sure, at work at the moment but it's certainly not an industrial one, it's a built in Diplomat one from MFI the same as the dishwasher!? What do you think of fusing the socket that I am curently controlling with a switch, would that be ok?
I think you should get the instructions out and see what size fuse should be in the line.
If it is 13 amp or less I would put a double pole socket in and a conventional 13 amp plug.
I am not an electrician but it just sounds like common sense to be able to unplug it if required.
Deffo 13A fuse required, exactly my point about being able to remove it, no good if the lead is wired into the wall going up behind the worktop. As I say, at the moment I have a socket in a cupboard controlled by a switch above the worktops (just for easy control). Instead of this socket, could i replace it with the double pole fuse thing and still keep the switch, at least then it would be more easily accessed?
Check the unit is rated at under 3kW (should be around 2kW) then there are two ways to go:
1. Fit a 13A fused plug to the washine machine power cable and then fit a single (unswitched is OK) socket outlet behind the machine, on the wall. Then connect this socket into your kitchen ring via a 20A DP switch above the worktop.
2. Connect the washing machine power cable directly to an outlet box (as used for cookers) behind the unit, on the wall, and wire this outlet into a 13A DP FCU (fused connection unit) above the worktop.
Either way, the washing machine and its cable are protected by a 13A fuse and you have easy access to switch off power to the machine from above the worktop, should anything go wrong (good idea to keep switched off when not in use). The worktop switch can have a neon light if you like, but not necessary.
Cheers, will go for option A, already got the switch with neon light, will have it plugged in, in the cupboard tonight! Why make plugging in a washing machine so awkward!!!!!

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