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My washing machine plug is burnt due to overheat socket. The plastic shield has melted and I am wondering whether this plug can still be used (on a different socket).burnt plug

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    Do you know why it overheated in the original socket? Was it a wiring fault in the socket, the plug, or the washer? Or was it something else? – Adrian McCarthy Jan 23 at 14:36
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    caution - you need to find out WHY this happened. Check the socket this was used in, it might have similar damage, but is likely to be harder to spot since the contact area in the socket is internal, not external. – ConanTheGerbil Jan 23 at 14:37
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    I have no idea why the socket is overheated, or why this happened. It just happened when I was running the washing machine. However, I have called a contractor to check and replace it. – Blodstone Jan 23 at 15:00
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    @Blodstone - The socket's overheating because it can't supply enough current to the w/machine. Either (1) the machine is faulty and is drawing too much current. This is unlikely because, if that were true, the fuse in your plug would blow. (make sure that there is a suitable fuse in the plug!). (2) The wall socket is badly connected - probably loose wires. The main danger is that the faulty socket will set fire to your building. It is vital to check everything, machine, plug, and socket. Don't use the damaged plug. Get a competent and qualified electrician to check everything out. – chasly - supports Monica Jan 24 at 12:22
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    @chasly-supportsMonica (1) is very unlikely given that only one pin looks burned. Large overcurrent would cause overheating on both working pins (line and neutral). This looks like a case of a bad contact (high resistance) causing local overheating under normal operating current. – TooTea Jan 24 at 13:25
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It should be replaced.

Electrically it will work but mechanically the sharp edges exposed by the burnt off plastic insulation could damage the new socket. Also the missing insulation makes it less safe.

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    Why do you think it will work electrically? It seems it has not worked electrically before, so why should it work electrically now? Also, the additional dirt may cause even worse contact, resulting in higher resistance and thus overheating again. – Thomas Weller Jan 25 at 9:18
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    This answer completely fails to address the cause of the burning and the likelihood that a carbonised plug will cause further overheating. It's extremely unlikely this this will work, reliably, electrically. – SiHa Jan 25 at 10:41
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    I think Jasen's point is the plug will still carry a current. In that sense it still "works". That said, Jasen clearly states that the plug should be replaced. As for failing "to address the cause of the burning", well, the OP didn't ask about that so it's no surprise that Jasen failed to address that. All good points, but just a little overly critical. – tnknepp Jan 25 at 14:06
  • it will work electrically now because the socket has been replaced, and having more moving parts the socket is most-likely the cause of the failure, also the burn marks on the tip indicate bad contact with the socket, if the crimp inside the plug had failed there would be no marks on the tip. – Jasen Jan 25 at 17:59
  • This is an answer to the question, but it fails to strenuously advise that the source of the fault be addressed. As such, I have downvoted. – Sam_Butler Jan 29 at 16:21
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Replace both the plug and the socket and don't use either until they're repaired properly.

If you choose to use this burnt plug in a different socket, the carbonising will add resistance to the circuit, heating it up and damaging the second socket which then also needs replacing.

The heat buildup can also start a fire, and there's a fair chance any Insurance would reject a claim because of your actions.

Also, heat can soften the support materials in a plug/socket, allowing things to move and increasing the tolerance of the mating connections. This permits arcing, adding heat and carbon, resistance, heat, more resistance, heat etc in a runaway.

If you use a good plug in the original damaged socket, the same results occur, leaving you with another plug and socket to be replaced.

The damaged insulation also means this plug is out of spec and must not be used.


Another consideration is that you're in the UK based on the plug's tines/pins. I'm not qualified there, but my understanding is that you may have a Ring Main, where damage in one part of a circuit can cause overloading in other unrelated sections.

Don't think, "I just need to do one load of washing," because it never stops there.

Avoid tempting fate - get it fixed properly, immediately.

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  • That's right, ring mains are normal in the UK but this provides double the current capacity, so a single break in the ring won't (shouldn't anyway) cause an overload. – Frog Jan 25 at 7:45
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    @Frog It was a while ago, but from memory a ring main is literally a circle back to the distribution board. So in wire gauge, its like a simple branch circuit with twice the cross sectional area. Upshot is that a ring main with a break anywhere will still supply power, but has half the current capacity. And its an invisible fault so may have been faulty for a long time. Upshot, a burned plug connection will draw more current, stressing the socket and the rest of the wiring further. Not saying OP has a ring main, or that its got issues, but anything's possible. Something to consider. – Criggie Jan 25 at 9:11
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    @TooTea the ring final circuit with a 32A overcurrent device with 2.5 sq mm line conductors is undersized for a radial final circuit with the same rated protective device. A 32A radial would require 4 sq mm cable in most cases, but in all cases downrating is possible for other reasons. – Sam_Butler Jan 29 at 16:24
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    @Blodstone the most likely cause of your burnt neutral pin is a high resistance connection, perhaps a loose termination at the socket. This really isn't a consumer-level issue and will need fault-finding by a suitably qualified electrician. You should consider this an urgent matter. – Sam_Butler Jan 29 at 16:27
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    @Sam_Butler Thank you for correcting me. I have now deleted my comment to avoid misleading anyone. – TooTea Jan 29 at 23:01
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REPLACE IT. <- that is all the answer should require....and you probably already suspected that.

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Something not mentioned above and something I have experienced first hand... If you have a bad plug and it is powering something "electronically delicate" - you could fry something on its motherboard (PC, TV, Tablet - I fried the motherboard of a treadmill). Voltage or power dips or spikes will cause havoc on capacitors and other components.

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