Washing machine Sparks when Plugged in (Causes + Fixes)

Plugging or removing a washing machine top plug from a wall outlet for the most part is can be done without incident so much that you probably do it without any concerns until there are sparks!

What do you then? Should you continue using it?

Let’s look at the possible reasons why you may have sparking when you plug the aasher and what you can do about it.

Is Sparking Normal?

When a washing machine is plugged into the wall outlet, there’s usually a brief spark (hardly noticeable) as the plug prongs make contact with the receptacle contacts, and the current starts flowing. This is normal.

What isn’t is If there is a large spark or several sparks, making a crackling sound.

Common Causes of Sparking

If there’s a large spark or several sparks, it might be because of:

#1. There are loose wire connections in the washing machine top plug or wall outlet. A loose wire connection in the top plug or wall outlet can lead to sparks as a previously disconnected or loosely connected wire completes a connection when the plug is fitted in the receptacle.

There’ll likely be a crackling noise and a burnt electrical smell.

Another possible cause of sparking is a wet top plug. This can result in a short and sparking too.

Following this, there’ll be a burnt rubber or electrical smell as the sparks burn the rubber insulation. In extreme cases, the plug and or insulation can melt as a result of the sparking.

Check if the sparking is in the plug or cord or the outlet. Connect the washer plug to a different outlet and check if the sparking stops.

If there’s sparking with another outlet then the issue is likely with the plug otherwise it is with the outlet. Contact a qualified electrician to support you on this.

#2. There is a Short in the Power cord

A damaged power cord, one with broken insulation from a cut, or an object pressing against the cable can lead to sparking if there is an internal short.

When this happens there’s usually a burn mark on the power cord followed by a burnt insulation smell.

Replace the damaged power cord with another of the same type and length as recommended by the washer manufacturer. Contact a qualified electrician.

#3. There’s a short in the washing machine control board. There’ll be a spark probably followed by a pop sound when there’s a short in the washer control board.

This may be caused by a component failure on the washer control board or if the board is exposed to water.

Contact a qualified washing machine technician or if the washer is under warranty contact the manufacturer.

You may also be interested in: Why a washing machine may be smoking inside

Is it Safe to Use the Washer? (What to Do)

No, it is not safe to use the washer until you’ve established and fixed the cause of the sparks. Sparks are dangerous and can cause a fire.

As a safety precaution, switch off the washer, unplug it from the wall outlet, and or switch off the breaker.

Investigate and fix the cause of sparks before you continue to use the washing machine. Contact a qualified electrician.

Related Questions

#1. What Causes the Washing Machine to Spark Underneath when Spinning?

Washing machines that use carbon brushes produce sparks during the spinning cycle as the brushes rub against the commutator at high speed.

This is noticeable when it is dark and is usually normal especially after fitting a new set of brushes before they “bed in” unless it is accompanied by unusual sounds.

That said, do not hesitate to contact a qualified technician should you have any concerns.

Closing Thoughts

A brief spark when you plug a washer top plug into the outlet is normal. If there are several sparks, and a burnt electrical smell then there is an issue.

Possible causes of sparking include but are not limited to loose wiring in the top plug or outlet, a damaged and shorting power cord, or even a short on the control board.

Machines that use carbon brushes give off sparks (easily noticeable when it is dark) as the washer spins.

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