Safety advice for repairing washing machine

Getting an electric shock is the first thing most people would think of if asked about the potential dangers of fixing your own washing machine. But there are several other potential dangers too. Although this advice is focused on washing machines, most of it is applicable to any appliance. Some of these points may be common sense. Others may be something you hadn’t thought of, or at least be handy reminders of things you already knew (in the back of your mind).

10 Tips on safe repair practices

1: If trying to diagnose why a motor isn’t running, never spin the drum pulley, motor, or belt by hand whilst the washing machine is switched on. You might want to see if you can give the motor a kick-start, but if it suddenly spins into life at full speed, it could seriously damage your fingers or hand.

2: Never test for the presence of electricity whilst the machine is plugged in. Don’t poke about with neon screwdrivers or multimeter. Proper checks are done with a continuity test meter down from the plug – with appliance unplugged.

3: Do not wear a tie, or any loose clothing that could easily get snagged on moving parts.

4: Never leave an appliance plugged in (or running) with the back panel or lid off whilst you leave the room leaving it totally unattended. A child, pet, or even adult may touch something live and receive an electric shock.

5: Do not bend over a washing machine with its lid off whilst wearing a cardigan or jacket with a metal zip. It could easily short out electrical contacts if it catches on anything. This is easily done, as I know from experience.

Danger of cutting hand or fingers

6: There are many, very sharp edges inside washing machines, tumble dryers, dishwashers and other appliances, which can produce nasty cuts. Again, I know this from painful experience and a subsequent hospital visit for stitches.

7: Don’t let the drain hose of a washing machine or dishwasher drop to the floor. As soon as the end of a drain hose drops lower than the level of the water inside the drum, water will start to flood out all over the floor.

8: If a drain hose is connected to the U-bend under the sink, you might disconnect it to work on the appliance. Note that any water poured down the sink will now flood into the cupboard below through the plastic spout. Stuff a cloth into the spout or make sure no water goes down the sink until the drain hose is reconnected.

9: Washing machines and other appliances easily damage kitchen floors. They scratch laminated floors and rip other types of kitchen flooring. Be very careful when moving an appliance. Check out my what is the best way to pull a washing machine out? (tips which can also be useful for moving other appliances).

10: Make sure you don’t introduce new faults after fixing a washing machine 5 things to check for after repairing or installing a washing machine.

If in doubt call in a proper engineer

Don’t take any chances that could end in disaster. Unless you are properly skilled and competent, you should not be attempting any diy repairs – you should Book an appliance engineer

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