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Wiring problem in the house.

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by jojo, May 7, 2008.

  1. jojo
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    jojo S3 Drift King! Staff Member Moderator

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    [May 7, 2008]
    This question is probably more aimed at the electricians of the forum. Basically, for the last 18 months, my washing machine keeps tripping the fuse for the sockets, and on the odd occasion, it trips the main fuse also... this usually happens when the washing machine goes into the spin cyle, therefore using up the amps, and trips the fuse. It has actually been ok over the cold winter months, but it's done it 3 times now this week in the warm weather.
    Washing machine is situated in the utility room, which is an extension to the property, so the wiring is done afterwards. The washing machine itself is a relatively new unit, as when my old machine started to pop the fuse(approx. 18 months ago), I though it was knackered and brought myself a new one as replacement which has been fine up until this week. I have also found that the washing machine works perfectly with no effect on the fuse with my 42" Plasma TV off!

    Sorry if the info is coming out all jumbles up, I'm thinking of things as I go along.... but it seems the problem is related to power usage, so when the washingmachine goes into the spin cyle, it causes too much drain and flips the fuse, so do you guys think it's a wiring problem with the house that I need to get checked out, or should I just watch no tele whilst the washing is being done?
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  3. Shades
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    Shades Member

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    [May 7, 2008]
    Have you tried changing the circuit breaker for the downstairs ring main? It could be on its way out. It should be 30amps too by the way. has the extensions wiring actually been wired into the ring main correctly or is it a spur? However the fact that the RCD also trips occasionally could point to something else like an earth fault... Check the cables to the washing machine, is it rubbing against anything? (sometimes cables get trapped when the machines are pushed into tight places). If you have a low level socket for the machine does the back of the machine touch the socket? (the additional vibration of the machine as the speed of the drum increases could be causing a fault with the socket and/or its wiring.)

    I'd definately get it looked at though for the safety of you and your family. A small problem could turn into a big one. Get a decent electrician with a mains circuit tester (all certified electricians need them these days as the wiring has to be tested for compliance/safety before being signed off). You wouldn't take the same risk if you occasionally smelt gas when you walked in the house, would you? Electrickery is just as dangerous.
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  4. karl7900
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    karl7900 Active Member

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    [May 7, 2008]
    Check the type of mcb you have. You may need to change it to a "C" type mcb which is more tolerant of surges caused by motors. Beside the rating of the mcb there should be a letter. EG B30. This is a "B" type mcb. If thats the case, change it too a "C" type.

    What rating is the fuse/mcb for the sockets in the utility room? And are they on the same circuit as the rest of the ground floor?
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  5. Staz
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    Staz is a retronaut Staff Member Moderator VCDS Map User

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    [May 7, 2008]
    I think the key part of the original post is:

    The washing machine is obviously running off the same fuse as the TV and it's too much. I don't do house electrics but either it shouldn't be on the same circuit and/or the fuse needs replacing for whatever reason (as per above posts). Plasmas do use a lot of juice!
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  6. AndyMac
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    AndyMac Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    [May 7, 2008]
    If your plasma is pulling 20 amps then I think it's time to change the plasma not the washing machine!
    Seriously you should easily be able to run all normal appliances off the same circuit. Washing machine just has a 13amp fuse and plasma probably 3-5amps. The only items which need their own circuit are ovens and electric heating. Does the fusebox have an RCD and is this tripping or is it just the circuit breaker?
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  7. jojo
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    jojo S3 Drift King! Staff Member Moderator

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    [May 7, 2008]
    Hi guys, thanks for the replies, not into the techinical terms for household electrics, so sorry if I'm sounding dumb on this department.
    The fuse type I think is a circuit breaker type? They are plastic levers which are in the up position and flip down when they are tripped. How do I tell if they are 'B' or 'C' mcb?
    When the circuit does get tripped, the electric sockets in the whole house goes off, which would give you guys an idea of how it's wired up. Obviously when the main fuse gets tripped, the whole house goes dead and the house alarm goes off.
    As for the Plasma, it's obviously not the only appliance that's switched on, but I just find it a contributing factor of the high power drain during this situation.

    Anyone know of any good qualified electricians in the area of Solihull?
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  8. karl7900
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    karl7900 Active Member

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    [May 7, 2008]
    You have MCBs (Miniture Circuit Breakers) protecting the circuits in your house. All the sockets in the house going off at once means you have one socket circuit. The MCB for this should be rated at 30 or 32A. In my photo, just above the lever you can see "B6". That means the MCB in my photo is a 6A type "B" MCB. There should be similer on your own MCBs. Take a photo and post it up if your not sure.
    [​IMG]

    Do you know how old the wiring is in the house? All the sockets being on one circuit would suggest to me at least 20 years old. It could be worth getting an Electrician out to check over the whole installation. He could do Insulation and Earth Loop tests amongst others and also check for any loose connections too and also the general state of the wiring.

    If you were a bit closer I would call round but fraid that could be a bit expensive. (for you :p)
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  9. jojo
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    jojo S3 Drift King! Staff Member Moderator

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    [May 7, 2008]
    Thanks Karl, I will have to wait til' tomorrow to have a look, as I don't finish work until 12am this evening lol. House was built either late 70's or early 80's, so yes, the wiring for sure is over 20 years old mate.
    I better get it checked out some time for peace of mind.
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  10. karl7900
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    karl7900 Active Member

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    [May 7, 2008]
    From what you've described it wouldn't do any harm getting a competant electrician to give the installation a once over. Make sure whoever you get is NICEIC registered and Part "P" qualified too. Not just a handyman who lists Elektrikery as one of his hobbies.

    Really does sound to me like the MCB needs changed and possibly the odd loose connection, but without seeing it 1st hand I couldn't be 100% sure.

    Goodluck anyhoo :thumbsup:.
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  11. AndyMac
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    AndyMac Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    [May 7, 2008]
    JoJo when you say the whole house goes dead what do you reset to get power back? I'm presuming you mean your fusebox has an RCD (residual current detector), which is a seperate MCB?
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  12. bigjim
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    bigjim New Member

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    [May 7, 2008]
    Whatever happens dont change your MCB to a C rated. A domestic household will never need a c type, if anybody suggests otherwise then they dont know what they are talking about. It sounds like you really dont know what you are looking out for so call an Electrician. Dont try fixing it yourself.
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  13. jojo
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    jojo S3 Drift King! Staff Member Moderator

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    [May 7, 2008]
    It's an MCB to the far left of the fusebox which is slightly larger than the rest of them and as well as the lever, it has a button of some sort on it, if that makes any sense?
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  14. jojo
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    jojo S3 Drift King! Staff Member Moderator

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    [May 7, 2008]
    Thanks Bigjim, it was not my intention to repair anything unless it was simple, 240volts is shocking for anyone lol. I just wanted a second opinion on my problem before I look for an electrician to solve my problem. Maybe they didn't intend for the socket circuit to be used in the way we use it today. Everything fancy or electrical from your television to mobilephone these days requires the use of an electricity socket. :idea:
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  15. Shades
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    Shades Member

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    [May 7, 2008]
    Good advice but sounds like there's a little dig in there too? Or was it just a coincidence in the choice of words.

    Just so you know, the RCD is usually on the extreme left or right of the MCBs and is often twice as wide as an MCB.
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  16. Shades
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    Shades Member

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    [May 7, 2008]
    That's the badger (see my post above), the button tests the RCD by (if I recall correctly) intentionally introducing an earth fault... If the RCD is working properly it should detect the fault and trip off.

    RCD = Residual Current Device, detects and protects against earth faults throughout the WHOLE house.
    MCB = Miniture Circuit Breaker, protects their own individual circuits by tripping when too many amps are drawn (above the MCBs rated maximum)
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  17. karl7900
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    karl7900 Active Member

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    [May 7, 2008]
    No mate. No dig intended at all. Didn't even notice till you pointed it out.:friends:
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  18. Staz
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    Staz is a retronaut Staff Member Moderator VCDS Map User

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    [May 7, 2008]
    You are correct yes.
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  19. Shades
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    Shades Member

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    [May 7, 2008]
    No worries! I didn't think it actually was... but, well, you never know! LOL I actually did my City & Guilds 2360 pt 1 at college and came top out of about 200 students! (God only knows how, it must have been a really weak year! :laugh:) I then started the part 2 but lost interest... it focused more on, for some reason, electronic circuits which bored the hell out of me! I didn't want to know how to piddle around with PCBs... I much preferred ripping floorboards up, channelling walls, big drills and chisels, routing through joists, going up in lofts (despite the insulation getting everywhere and itching like hell for the rest of the day!), all the messy stuff really!!
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  20. jojo
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    jojo S3 Drift King! Staff Member Moderator

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    [May 8, 2008]
    Checked the fuses today, they are 'B' type with a rating of 30AMPs, do these get knackered over time?
    As for the RCD, there seems to be 2 of them on my fuse box, one on either side of the MCB's, one with the little button thing, the other just looks like a large MCB.
    Just need to find someone local to have a look at it for peace of mind really.... any takers?
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  21. Shades
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    Shades Member

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    [May 8, 2008]
    The MCB thats of a similar size to the RCD will be a dual pole MCB which, if I recall correctly, is used to protect (and cut power to) both the live and neutral 'lines' of a particular circuit.
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  22. fingermouse
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    fingermouse thats me

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    [May 8, 2008]
    you may have a split load board, washing machines and ovens can take ou tthe rcd very easily. I upgraded my old fuse box to a split load and the downstairs wont hold in on the RCD so I took it off and put it on the other side i.e non rcd protected. All my outdoor and garage is RCD protected and I will find the fault eventually ( suspect a neutral to earth fault somewhere)

    Can you get a feed to the washing machine off a spare MCB ??? may be your best bet.
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