Wrote a long story about me moving my mothers washing machine but decided to keep it short:

Machine 8 years old, aesthetically in perfect condition other than some exposed sheet metal on the side due to a scratch. Reportedly a few of its programs don't work.

The room where I installed it was (according to the previous owner) intended for a washing machine but he never got around to it. It had water but no electrical sockets, only an improvised lamp attached to a heavy gauge 3 core electrical cable sticking out the wall.

I removed the lamp and attached a grounded outlet instead. Plugged the machine in, all the lights came on as normal. Reached over to adjust the drain hose and got a mild shock from the scratch of exposed metal on the side. Didn't try if any other parts of it would shock me too, just unplugged it.

Searched around the internet, some claim that its normal if the machine isn't grounded properly. I have no clue if the ground on that wire I connected the outlet to actually serves any purpose. The other end of the cable is connected to the electricity of the bathroom next to it but I have no clue where. The bathroom has no sockets either, only lamps. I looked under the housing of a few of the bathroom lamps, they get their electricity via a 2 core cable.

In the electrical panel, the switch that controls the bathroom and the washing machine room has a 3 core medium gauge cable leaving and disappearing into a wall. Its not the same kind of cable as either the washing machine room or the bathroom have.

So now I'm suspecting that the grounding in that room might be fake and as such would justify the shock that the machine gave me. Is that a plausible scenario? Or should I just be looking for a new washing machine?

This took place in europe, 230V is the standard. Blue and brown wires make zap, yellow/green stripe wire is supposed to be ground.

EDIT: Looked up how to test for grounding, turns out all I needed was a multimeter, I got one of those. Surely enough, the cable in the washing machine room is not grounded. Also tested other outlets around the house, the grounding works in most places, other than the washing machine room, all the basement outlets save for one, the outlets behind the house on the patio don't work at all.

  • You should be correcting (or having corrected) the wiring for these rooms in any case.
    – Ecnerwal
    Aug 15, 2020 at 15:25
  • It is not Normal to be shocked by a properly wired appliance
    – Kris
    Aug 16, 2020 at 3:16

2 Answers 2


Well, don't be confused by what happens in North America. There, some very silly things were done to dryers regarding bootlegging ground off neutral, and so dryers are a holy terror. Not Your Problem.

Your washer hooks up just like a normal appliance - Hot, Neutral and Earth.

I suspect the root of your problem is this "improvised" electrical connection. The first thing you did - that is a cardinal sin in Britain and European influenced areas - is you attached an appliance to a lighting circuit. Many lighting circuits are some piddly small ampacity like 3 or 6 amps. They are simply not intended for a large appliance. Only lighting can be on those circuits. It's possible that light was herky-jerked off an appliance circuit, but you should have investigated that.

Further, it's likely the lighting cord that was run for it, was "lighting-sized". So too small to run a large appliance like a washer. Again, in Europe, never convert a lighting outlet to an appliance outlet!

Generally anytime you find hork-a-dork wiring like that, you need to go through it "with a fine-tooth comb". Think about it -- when you're looking right at several Code violations, it would be insane to assume the rest of it was done safely to Code.

What you really need to do is find out whether DIY is allowed in your country, and either properly install a receptacle outlet in the room off an appliance circuit, or wire a dedicated circuit (that's Code in El NEC countries like Panama and the USA), or have a professional do it if local Code requires that.

  • 2
    "piddly small voltage like 3-6 Amps" Who stole your password, Harper?
    – Ecnerwal
    Aug 15, 2020 at 15:53
  • 2
    Where's the real Harper?
    – JACK
    Aug 15, 2020 at 16:01
  • @Ecnerwal forehead slap oops... Aug 15, 2020 at 16:03
  • So why the waste of time on the on a dryer? the size of the cord has nothing to do with a shock if proper polarity and the insulation has not failed. Code issues as side that has nothing to do with the reason for a shock 120 or 240v in this case.
    – Ed Beal
    Aug 16, 2020 at 0:20

I would verify the polarization is correct. When I was a kid all of my grand mothers house outlets were non polarized. I remember getting the tingle touching the metal toaster. My grandma pulled the cord out flipped it over and plugged it back in. I remember trying that as I got older with socks on then with shoes until I finally rewired that house in my 2nd year as an apprentice. She was so proud. But I think with no ground and the polarity being swapped may be your issue since the washer is working. My example is 120v but the same thing would happen with shoes on on a higher voltage.

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