In my kitchen I have two single sockets below the worktop for a washing
machine and dishwasher (or fridge and freezer). Above the worktop are two
switced fused spurs which 'isolate' these two sockets, my question is why?
The house is a modern build (1992) and these were done by the builders as my
3 neighbours houses have the same thing. I cannot see that it is to isolate
the sockets for removal of said appliances as you would unplug them when
moving them. Anybody got a clue as I haven't?
just a thought, and not based on anything in particular, but I
would imagine that they are there to quickly isolate the equipment in
the event of a fault developing. If my washing machine decided to go up
in smoke I wouldn't want to have to pull it from under the work surface
to turn it off. OK I could go to the CU but that would take longer than
operating the switch above it. As I say just a thought I'm sure someone
more knowledgeable will come along with a better answer.
The switches are used to power down the sockets in case a fault occurs and
you get electrocuted if you touch the appliance casings when trying to move
them out. They also tell you the appliance is powered up correctly if the
machine doesn't switch on when it should. There are a lot more reasons why
it is handy to have remotely switched hidden sockets, and I won't bore you
with any more just now.
According to the dishwasher instructions (yes folks, I actually *read
the manual*. Horrors!) they recommend unplugging the bloody thing all
the time it's not in use?! I'm pretty sure the washer destructions
said that too.
Some people like to be able to turn the things off.... It might also be
handy any time you need to stop an appliance in an emergency and are not
going to be able to pull the thing forward to unplug it. Imaging for
example that your tumble driver suddenly started emitting smoke and/or
Lets say a 97 year old granny has your house. Next thing she knows there is
smoke coming out of the dishwasher / washing machine / fridge / freezer. So
she grabs hold of the impending fireball, pulls it out crawls in behind and
turns it off.
Or just turns off the fused spur
She could climb up the step ladder in the garage, with her car in it, and
turn off the mains switch. But she wouldn't want to have to reset the clock
on the bedside alarm, cooker, video and microwave. Then have no electricity
for 4 days until an engineer came out and fixed the appliance. Presuming of
course she was to frail to pull a washing machine full of water out from
under the worktop
One possibility as to why they fit them
Ehh? surely the point here is there the FCU was there because the socket
was behind the machine - an alternative would have been to have the
socket elsewhere and accessible (such as a cupboard) surely.
I have had the machines plugged into sockets inside a cupboard,
personally I prefer the above the worktop technique.
I find it useful to have a remote switch on the dishwasher socket as I
can turn it off so my little daughter then loses interest in pressing
the buttons on the front when the lights don't come on.
My dishwasher bay has an isolating switch above the worktop.
Recently a "repair" I did to the dishwasher became undone, sprinking small
of water around the guts of the machine.
The ring circuit RCD didn't like this and promptly tripped out (fair dues).
So all I did for the short term was to turn off the isolator switch then
reset the RCD and
the rest of the house became happy again (all apart from the eldest who told
me in no
uncertain terms how far he had got in the computer game before the power
went off :-)
Now imagine the same scenario without the isolator: try and haul out a
dishwasher full of
crockery and cutlery and water so that you can get to the socket at the back
So, in my books an isolator is pretty damn useful for such appliances.
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