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Weird electical going on - any thoughts?

(7 Posts)
tara0202 Sat 06-Oct-12 17:34:40


I am hoping someone might have an idea of what is going on with my electrics! Sorry, this might be long due to having to explain it all .

We moved into our new house 3 weeks ago. All was fine for the first 2 weeks. In the kitchen is an under the counter built in fridge and freezer. We brought our hotpoint quadrio fridge freezer with us and plan to get rid of the built in stuff and make space for ours.

We have not yet removed the built in appliances but they are switched off.

So, all fine for 2 weeks. Last week all the plug sockets in the house tripped. This happened numerous times over last weekend and at first we thought it was the boiler tripping it. (V annoying when it trips as when I switch it back on the house alarm goes until I put the code in - haven't worked out how to switch that off yet).

So, we have someone coming to look at the boiler (not been yet).

We have now discovered that actually it always trips when we open the fridge door. So, today I switched the fridge off at the plug before I opened the door - it still tripped! I then pulled the plug out completely, opened the door and lo and behold everything tripped - even with it not plugged in! It doesn't sound possible to me that the fridge could cause the trip when its not even plugged in but as soon as I open the door - plugged in or not, everything trips!

I am going to call an electrician to look at this but does anyone have any ideas? I suppose most importantly , does it sound dangerous - in that I should call an electrician out this weekend? Haven't before now because I thought it was the boiler.

Any advice gratefully received!

PigletJohn Sat 06-Oct-12 17:57:02

1) you need a new battery in your alarm

2) With an RCD trip, switching off is not enough. You have to pull out the plug. You may have a Neutral/Earth fault, and an SP socket. Better sockets are DP (the electrician can explain this). Unplug everything and put them back one at a time, you might find the faulty appliance.

3) Otherwise, there might be a cable under the floor that moves slightly when you stand in front of the fridge. I hope you have not recently had a tiled or laminated floor laid. Or it might be that water is spilling out of the evaporation dish on top of the motor when the fridge moves slightly. You can pull it out and have a look.

Depending on the age of your CU (fusebox) you can ask your electrician what it would cost to put the downstair sockets (at least) on an RCBO. Have you checked that he is a member of a Competent Persons Scheme? Ask him which one - he will be pleased (unless he isn't) and you can look him up on their website. Also ask him will he bring a PAT tester please so he can see if you have minor faults on any of your appliances. It's usually watery ones like boilers and kettles.

If the kitchen wiring was done or altered by a kitchen fitter, the electrician will tell you what a bad job it is.

Top quality installations (like mine) have every circuit on an RCBO, so that a fault on one circuit does not cut power to all the others. They also have a dedicated radial circuit to the freezer so that no fault, except on the freezer circuit, can make all your food melt. Unless your freezer is next to the CU, or on the other side of the wall, this does cost rather more....

nocake Sat 06-Oct-12 17:57:38

If the fridge isn't plugged in it's not possible for it to trip the electrics so... if the cause is the fridge then it must still be plugged in. Are you sure you pulled out the correct plug? Does the freezer section have a seperate plug? If it does pull that one as well then try again.

PigletJohn Sat 06-Oct-12 18:00:47


As long as your RCD is reliably tripping when the fault occurs, it is probably not dangerous. But you can't be sure without knowing that the fault is (e.g. it might be a cable in the floor or wall with a nail through it).

It is very wise to press the test button on your RCD at least quarterly, since if they never trip, they are more likely to seize up and not cut the power in an emergency. Write the test dates on your kitchen calendar.

tara0202 Sat 06-Oct-12 18:06:18

Thanks so much for the advice!

I definitely unplugged the fridge and it still happened so I am wondering if the explanation above about a wire under the floor might be the thing that's doing it.

I shall pull out the fridge and look at this evaporation dish.

I shall try and switch everything off and on again one at a time, as suggested.

Thanks for your advice, really appreciate it.

I don't know when the tiled floor was laid or who did the electrics as we just moved in but thanks v much for the tip about asking about the competent persons scheme, I will certainly ask that.

At least, it seems it can wait until Monday.

Thanks again.

oricella Sat 06-Oct-12 18:11:25

have you done any nailing of floors or skirting boards which might make contact with a wire?

TirednessKills Sat 06-Oct-12 18:30:37

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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