Electric Shocks from your Washing Machine? (+3 Helpful Tips to Protect Yourself)

If you’re experiencing tingling electric shocks from your washing machine, you may have reason to be concerned. In this post, we’ll cover what to do and how to protect yourself from this odd sensation.

You may experience an electric shock when touching the body or inside of your washing machine if the washer is not properly grounded or earthed. electrical appliances need to be grounded. Otherwise, they may store up excess energy that can result in electric shocks upon the touch.

Read on to find out what causes these electric shocks in detail and how you may be able to protect yourself from them in the future.

electric shocks from your washing machine

Why you receive electric shocks from your washing machine

One of the leading reasons for electric shocks from a washing machine is improper grounding or wiring issues. When the washing machine is incorrectly grounded or has damaged wiring, it poses a significant risk of shock to those who touch it. Similarly, if the electrical outlet it’s plugged into is faulty or not up to standard, it can also cause shocks.

Poor grounding

A grounding problem in your house’s electrical system or washing machine can also cause electric shocks. The purpose of grounding in electrical appliances like washing machines is to provide a path of low resistance for electric current, redirecting it safely to the ground. This helps avoid potential hazards and protect you from electric shocks.

If a washer is not properly grounded, then there’s a risk that you’ll get an electric shock when you touch the body or the inside of a washing machine.

To ensure proper grounding of your washing machine, make sure the earth pin on your plug is connected to a functional grounding wire. A poor ground connection can lead to current leaks, putting you at risk of electric shocks. A simple way to test your outlet’s grounding is by using a voltage meter or hiring a licensed electrician to inspect your home’s electrical system and verify the grounding integrity.

With a good ground connection, the circuit breaker will trip, disconnecting the electric supply that would otherwise shock you should there be leakage of current to the washer body. However, if you’re receiving a shock, it probably means your appliance isn’t grounded properly. Here are a couple of things to check if you’re experiencing this unpleasant shock.

Check that the washer’s electric plug is firmly plugged into a wall receptacle

If the plug is not fitted firmly or the plug’s ground connection does not match with the wall outlet, then the washer will not be properly grounded. This is the most simple of the possible causes for the electric shocks you’re experiencing. Check this issue first before trying any more complex solutions.

Use a ground fault tester to check if the receptacle’s ground is wired correctly

The ground wire connection may be loose or not connected at all. To test the ground wire without having to physically remove the outlet cover, you can use a ground fault tester to get a less invasive reading. If the reading comes back negative, then you’ve discovered the source of the problem.

Faulty wiring

Over time, wires in your washing machine can become frayed or damaged, often leading to short circuits and an increased risk of electric shocks. Make sure to inspect your machine’s wiring periodically. If you notice any signs of wear or damage, it is important to address the issue promptly to maintain safe operation and avoid electric shocks. You should contact a qualified technician to repair or replace the damaged wiring.

Additionally, incorrect wiring connections can lead to electrical hazards. Ensure that the live wire, neutral wire, and grounding wire are properly connected to the appropriate terminals by a certified electrician. Damaged sockets or plugs can also contribute to faulty wiring. Examine your wall receptacle and the machine’s power cord for any signs of damage; if you spot any issues, promptly seek professional help to resolve them.

Damaged insulation

Another common cause of electric shocks from washing machines is damaged insulation. Insulation materials protect the live, neutral, and grounding wires in your machine and electrical system from physical damage and exposure to moisture. Over time, insulation can degrade, allowing electricity to flow into unintended paths such as the washing machine’s metallic casing.

Frequently inspect the insulation around your machine’s wires, cables, and connectors. If you find any signs of damage or wear, contact a qualified technician to repair or replace the affected components.

In conclusion, maintaining the safety of your washing machine and avoiding electric shocks involve staying vigilant about potential issues like faulty wiring, poor grounding, and damaged insulation. It is vital to address these risks promptly to keep you and your household safe from electric shocks associated with washing machines.

Tips to protect yourself from an electric shock

There are a couple of things you can do to protect against electric shocks from your washer. Take the following precautions to give yourself the best chance at avoiding this unpleasant phenomenon.

Make sure that the washing machine plug used is 3-prong with a ground pin

Manufacturers usually indicate what plug types should be used with their washers, but each washer, almost certainly, requires a 3-prong plug with a ground pin. These types of plugs are more common with larger appliances such as washers and refrigerators for this very reason.

Consider plugging the washing machine into a GFCI-protected outlet

GFCI outlets work by breaking the circuit should there be a current leak that would otherwise shock you. By plugging your appliance into a GFCI breaker, you’ll be ensuring that the appliance doesn’t leak electricity and also that it doesn’t pull too much electricity, tripping other appliances on the same circuit.

You may also be interested in this post: Why Washing Machine Trips GFCI Breaker During Cycle?

Regular Maintenance

Regular maintenance of your washing machine can be another effective way to prevent electric shocks. Periodically:

  • Inspect the washing machine plug for damage or fraying. Replace it if necessary.
  • Check the washing machine for signs of corrosion or other wear that may lead to electrical issues.
  • Ensure the machine is grounded to provide a path for electricity to flow safely to the ground if there’s an issue with the electrical system.

By addressing these potential hazards early on, you can significantly reduce the risk of electric shock.

Hiring a Qualified Electrician

When dealing with any electrical concerns related to your washing machine, it’s essential to consult a qualified electrician. These professionals can:

  • Verify whether your washing machine is adequately grounded.
  • Install GFCI outlets if necessary.
  • Conduct voltage tests to ensure your machine is operating safely.
  • Identify and solve any potential electrical issues that may pose a danger.

Remember, electricity can be dangerous, and attempting to handle it without proper training can lead to severe injury or even death. It’s always recommended to hire a qualified electrician when dealing with electrical problems or concerns related to your washing machine.

Wear shoes with rubber soles

If you’re worried about electric shocks from your washer and don’t have time to work on fixing the issue at the moment, you can protect yourself by wearing shoes with rubber soles when using the appliance.

Rubber is not a conductor of electricity, and it will protect you from these tingly electric shocks when you’re using the appliance.

You may also be interested in this post: Which type of outlet and current rating should you select for your washer?

What causes a washing machine to trip the GFCI breaker?

A GFCI breaker can trip repeatedly because: of an unresolved ground fault in the wiring, or the GFCI breaker may be faulty as well.

Use a ground fault receptacle tester to check if there is a fault with the wall outlet. Watch the video below for some tips on fixing a faulty GFCI, or contact a certified electrician for help.

Closing thoughts

You’ll get an electric shock by touching the body of the washing machine if it is not properly grounded.

Grounding problems in your washer may be because the plug is not the right type, it is not firmly plugged in, or even that there’s a wiring fault at the wall receptacle.

In case of an electric shock, disconnect the washer and work through the possible faults above. Do not hesitate to consult a qualified electrician for assistance if you have any safety concerns.

What’s the danger of electrical shock from washing machine?

Any type of electrical shock, especially with an appliance that uses water, can be dangerous. However, in most cases, the electric shock from your washer will result in little more than a tingly, deadening feeling that runs up your arm from the hand that makes contact with the washer.

What if you’re experiencing electric shock from unplugged appliance?

You shouldn’t be experiencing an electric shock from an unplugged appliance. If this is the case, either the appliance has stored up electricity from being recently plugged in, or the appliance is still somehow connected to a receptacle.

How to fix grounded washing machine?

If your grounded washing machine is still giving you a shock, try making sure the plug is firmly plugged into the outlet. If so, and it’s still shocking you, you may have an issue with an unresolved ground fault in the wiring. Contact a certified electrician for this issue.

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