Can You Use Extension Leads With Washing Machines? (read this first)

It is important that you follow the advice given by the manufacturer of your washing machine when installing it. This includes not using an extension cable because it could cause electrical overheating as well as voiding your warranty.

Added to which, there’s a possibility that as extension cables have multiple sockets you could overload it. To find out more, keep reading.

Can You Plug A Washing Machine Into An Extension Cable?

open washing machine door

There are many people that do plug their washing machine into an extension cable even though the user manual advises against it. If you decide to go ahead with plugging your washer into an extension cable, you should be advised that your warranty will be voided. 

Plus, you run the risk of damaging your appliance and you could cause injury or worse to yourself or a family member. If you’re going to do it anyway, below I’ve listed the safest way to use an extension cable with a washing machine or other large electrical appliance.

  • Choose An Extension Cable Which Is Earthed
    Many of the cheaper extension cables are only 2 core which means they have no earth. You should never use a 2 core cable with a large appliance like a washing machine. Always use an extension cable that is earthed.
  • It Must Be 13 Amp Rated
    There are lots of extension cables that are only 5 amp or 10 amp rated. However, you must use an extension cable which is 13 amp rated. You can sometimes tell by the thickness of the cable. If the cable is as thick or thicker than the lead from the washing machine, it’s more likely to be 13 amp rated. Using a 5 amp or 10 amp extension lead could cause overheating and is potentially dangerous. However, using a cable with no earth could cause death if the washer develops an insulation fault.
  • Use The Shortest Length Extension Cable Possible
    You should always use the shortest length of extension cable you can get. This is because the longer the cable is, the more resistance in the wire and the more likely you are to have a problem with the constant current draw. This could lead to the appliance not functioning correctly.
  • Only Plug One Electrical Appliance Into The Socket
    These extension cables often have 2 or 4 or sometimes even 6 sockets which technically allows you to plug 6 appliances in at the same time. However, you should only ever plug a washing machine (or tumble dryer) into the extension cable at any one time. Trying to run 2 or more appliances from an extension cable when one of them is as large as a washing machine, could cause a fire.

You should definitely never run 2 appliances that have a heating element from the same wall socket. That means you can’t plug a washing machine and a tumble dryer into the same extension cable.

What About Retractable Extension Reels?

If you own an extension cable that is wound onto a reel, it must be fully unwound before use. This type of extension will typically have 2 ratings in amps. 

  1. The higher rating will advise how many amps it can take when fully unwound
  2. The lower rating is the maximum amount of amps it can take when still on the reel.

Large appliances like washing machines, tumble dryers and dishwashers, can each draw 10 amps which means the cable needs to be fully unwound or they could potentially overheat and cause a fire. Any extension cable you plan on using for a large appliance like a washing machine needs to be 13 amp.

It’s not just your washing machine’s warranty that’s at risk here, it’s your home, your life and the lives of your family too.

Can You Use A Wall Socket Adapter With A Washing Machine?

You can still get these wall socket adapters but they’re becoming less popular nowadays. You might have to use one of these for your washing machine in certain circumstances, and they should be safe to use.

This is because they are rated 13 amps so they’re OK for use with a large appliance like a washing machine. However, you shouldn’t have another large appliance plugged into the same adapter as this could be potentially dangerous and life threatening.

How To Work Out The Amperage Of Your Appliance

If you’re not sure of the amperage of your appliance there is a simple calculation that can be used to work it out. All you need to do is divide the watts by the voltage or to put it another way;

A = W ÷ V so an 1800 watt washing machine divided by 230 volts equals 7.82 amps which would be rounded up to 8 amps.

Because 1800 ÷ 230 = 7.82

Is It Safe To Use An Extension Cord With A Washing Machine?

Plug socket in UK

In some cases, it can be safe to use an extension cord with a washing machine as long as you stick to the advice above. The main reason why washing machine manufacturers state that your warranty will be voided if you use an extension cable with their appliance is because they have no control over the extension cord.

They never made it and haven’t tested it in conjunction with their appliance. This can cause the appliance to overheat, short out or cause all manner of problems which wouldn’t occur under normal usage.

Just to recap, if you are going to use an extension cable with your washing machine, it needs to be;

  • As short as possible
  • Earthed
  • Rated for 13 amps
  • Used solely for the washing machine

But just to be clear, your warranty will still be voided and if the washer breaks down due to an unrelated problem, the manufacturer could refuse to take responsibility for the repair because you went against their installation instructions.

What To Look Out For When Using An Extension Cable

The first and most obvious thing is any type of burning smell. Obviously if you smell burning you need to stop the washing machine and disconnect the extension cable from the wall socket.

Sometimes however, electrical faults can have some odd smells. If you can smell fish for example, this is often a sign of an electrical fault. It could be due to the plug, the cable or the socket overheating.

This needs to be dealt with before using the appliance again as it could be dangerous, as well as causing problems with the washer, it could be life threatening too.

SEE ALSO: Can You Plug A Tumble Dryer Into An Extension Lead?

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use an extension lead with a washing machine?

It is not advisable to use an extension lead with a washing machine. Any large appliance like a washing machine, tumble dryer or dishwasher should have its own wall socket. It is not safe to use an extension lead with a large appliance as it could cause overheating or even fires. Plus the warranty on your washer would be voided.

What kind of extension cord can I use for a washing machine?

If you decide to go against the recommendations of the appliance manufacturer and use an extension cord with your washing machine, it should be 13 amp rated, as short as possible, earthed (3 core wires) and used solely for the washing machine.

Can you run a dishwasher and washing machine off an extension lead?

You can run a dishwasher and washing machine off an extension lead as long as the lead is rated for 13 amps, not overly long, earthed and you only use one appliance at a time. You should never run both the dishwasher and washing machine at the same time from the same extension lead as this will almost certainly overload the lead and could cause damage to the appliances and even cause a fire.

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