My elderly father has just bought a new AEG-Electrolux washer-drier. It
was delivered yesterday and I helped him get it installed and working.
While adjusting the feet with my hand between the casing and the
concrete floor I noticed a distinct tingling, until I disconnected the
machine from the mains. I thought that was odd, and wondered if the
earth connection was not quite right. But I was running late and keen
to get home, so didn't follow it up at the time, unfortunately.
This evening my father phoned me to say he got a distinct shock from the
metal barrel when unloading a new batch of clothes. Although his
faculties aren't as acute as they were, he's a retired electrician so
fully aware of the difference between a mild and a more serious electric
shock. From his description over the phone, it sounded like the latter.
The machine is in a back porch, and the mains socket has been in place
for maybe 30-40 years, so it might have a corroded earth connection -
something I'll obviously follow up as soon as I can.
Meanwhile I told him to try the machine on an extension lead so it can
be plugged into somewhere else in the adjacent kitchen, which ought to
be ok. If the leak between live and the metal casing of the machine is
really large it ought to blow a fuse or two when properly earthed.
Appliances like washing machines are clearly designed to be used when
earthed properly, but I assume they must be designed to be reasonably
safe even when accidentally used without a proper earth connection. Does
anyone know if there are rules on how much current can be allowed to
leak from live to the metal casing?
Also - even if it turns out to be badly earthed, is there a case to be
made that the machine is faulty and should be replaced by the shop if
one gets a detectable shock from it?