My washing machine is placed in my kitchen and whenever it is switched on and working (washing), I get very mild “tingles” from the kitchen's tap water. I'm in the UK, and I've checked that the wall socket is earthed and the machine's plug is also earthed. I'm not using any extension cables. What else can I check before calling an electrician? If possible I'd like to fix this problem myself. Thanks!

EDIT 1: My house was built on the 70s.

EDIT 2: I asked an electrician to fix the problem and he said the following: two of the earth wires were in the correct position but one had no earthing sleeve on it and was pressing on the live wire. The third earth wire was not connected at all and there was a small voltage showing, but not enough to trip the switch. He re-routed all the wires and attached the loose earth wire and all is now fine!

  • How old is your house? Electricians used to use water pipes to provide a good earth. Now that people use plastic pipework it is no longer a good earth (pure water is a rather poor conductor), but metal pipes (and sinks) are supposed to be properly bonded to earth. I would check that bonding. Nov 20, 2019 at 13:40
  • Hi @MartinBonnersupportsMonica my house was built on the 70s. I will check that tonight when I get home. Thanks. Nov 20, 2019 at 13:44
  • A minor change in circumstances (eg bare feet) could change that "mild" shock to a "lethal" shock. Do not dismiss this as "annoying, not unsafe" because shocks so far have been mild. Nov 20, 2019 at 14:19
  • I though the U.K. had RCD / GFCI’s on the mains. I would be checking the wiring on the washer making sure the connections are tight. Is the washer on the same ring as the bathroom outlets?
    – Ed Beal
    Nov 21, 2019 at 0:24

2 Answers 2


This sounds like a pretty dangerous situation. There are some things you could check.

A. Look into if the earth grounding connection at your house is good solid connection without corrosion.

B. Try seeing if you get the same tingling effect when you run a different appliance plugged into the same outlet such as a blender or toaster.

C. Check if the outlets near your kitchen sink are protected with GFCI devices.

  • Thank you Michael. I'll do these checks tonight and will report back. Nov 20, 2019 at 13:47
  • Translation for the English: GFCI is ELCB...
    – Solar Mike
    Nov 20, 2019 at 16:30
  • @MirkoCroCop - In addition to Michael Karas comments; I know you said you checked for earthing, but did you check for polarity along the complete circuit? This could cause "tingling". Nov 21, 2019 at 13:42

Very often the heater element goes bad and can create a ground connection. Check if your water gets still hot. If not change the heating element. They are not expensive and you should be ok.

  • Op states the tingling is when washing machine is running. Is there a heating element in a washing machine? It could be that when washing machine is running it is using hot water and causing water heater to come on. The tip fir checking the water heater element is always a good one when current is felt while using the water faucets.
    – Kris
    Nov 27, 2019 at 2:17

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