/ Home & Energy

Would you keep a washing machine that might explode?

Wrecked washing machine

If there was a machine in my home that could explode, I’d expect the manufacturer to inform me, apologise and get it out of my house. Quickly. So why isn’t Candy recalling its potentially faulty machines?

That’s right, there’s no such approach from Candy regarding the high-spin washing machines it built before a correction in September 2009.

Hang on – make that any Candy washing machines built before September 2009. Oh wait… Hoover washing machines, too. In fact, Candy can’t guarantee any of its pre-September 2009 washing machines are safe when you call its helpline for ‘reassurance’.

So what’s going on? A known fault affecting some Hoover-Candy washing machines is causing the drum to break loose under the pressure of a high spin. The result is that the drum can tear through the top of the machine at high speed and break through anything in its way, as the pictures we’ve been sent illustrate:

How widespread is the problem?

As well as five explosions in Germany, we’ve heard about three UK cases in three months – despite Candy saying the fault is ‘very, very rare’. We’ve also received a comment from a high street retailer engineer, who claims to have seen ‘probably over 100 cases’ in the UK over six months – Candy says that figure is ‘significantly higher than they’d expect’. So why isn’t Candy doing anything about it?

Candy claims that ‘the likelihood of failure remains extremely low’, and that Bolton council – the authority dealing with the case – is satisfied with Candy’s approach. Bolton council told us that ‘at the end of the day, it is up to the trader to decide what actions to take.’

Washing machines stay put

So it seems these washing machines will stay in people’s homes – and owners may remain unaware of the danger – because Candy’s risk assessments show the number at risk is low in relation to the volume sold.

We think Candy’s attitude towards the safety of its customers and their families is shocking – and it’s terrifying to think what would need to happen before Candy is forced to reconsider its position.

What do you think about Candy’s approach? Have you bought a Candy washing machine before September 2009 and would you consider selling it to us for testing? If so, let us know below or contact homeeditor@which.co.uk.

Comments

My first memory of Candy is seeing their washer-driers catch fire on BBC TV’s “That’s life” back in the early 1980’s, and thinking that I would never touch Candy.

When Hoover, one justifiably using the slogan “Hoover, Who Better” almost went bust over the Free Flights fiasco and was bought by Candy I vowed never to buy Hoover again either.

Significantly when That’s Life were showing the self-incinerating washer-dryers Candy were refusing to accept that their machines were at fault and also played down the scale of the problem. I don’t think we had such things as product recalls back then, but if we did they certainly were not recalling their machines.

So, what I’m saying is basically “what’s new?” and “if you have any sense, don’t buy Candy to start with”.

Of course this does not absolve Candy of responsibility, but given that their products seem to have a track record of dangerous unreliability, it seems that the obvious move is for consumers to biycott them. Retailers will soon stop stocking them if no one buys them and then Candy will either go bust or will be forced by fiscal pressure to up their game.

Which? could possibly assist by refusing to rate any Candy product as anything other than a “don’t buy” whilst ever Candy refuse to sort out this issue.

The reason that modern washing machines can explode is that they are capable of very high spin sppeds. The rotational energy of the drum is proportional to the square of the speed.

Using high spin speeds requires a lot more electricity and decreases reliability, in the same way that a racing car is much more likely to break down than an ordinary car.

My washing machine has a modest spin speed of 800 rpm and the clothes are ready for ironing without the need for a stem iron. It is still working after 29 years. I don’t expect it to explode.

Phil says:
1 April 2011

The machines should be built such that they keep the drum in place at whatever speed they’re designed to run at.

It seems that Candy are adopting the attitude of a certain American car company which refused to correct a known fault in one of it’s cars because it was cheaper to keep killing it’s customers and paying the compensation.

Responding to Phil and Wavechange: my 1983 Hoover Electron 1100 (build before the Free Flights Fiasco, in Wales, by Hoover) is, according to the Hoover Service Engineer who used to service it annually on the Hoovercare Service Plan, until they deemed it too old to keep on the plan any more, one of the last models that they built to a QUALITY standard and not a PRICE POINT.

I think this tells you everything really.

Phil is absolutely right, and what the engineer told me illustrates Phil’s point. Wavechange is also right – and I read very recently in the instructions for a Zanussi Tumble dryer, that there is no discernible difference in dampness between garments spun at 1000 rpm and any other, higher, spin speed that is lower than 1800 RPM. I don’t know of many 1800 spin washers but I’d never have one anyway – instinctively it “feels” too fast to be safe.

I understand from reliable and long standing industry personnel that Miele is not he only company in the world who build washers to a quality standard and not a price point.

Candy have always been known as “cheap”, so it’s really not surprising that their machines (including Hoover now I’m afraid) are basically unfit for purpose.

Incidentally a colleague at work who teaches Economics tells me that my washer, which cost me £230 in 1983, would sell at about £1300 now, if you take into account inflation and VAT increases over the intervening 27 years. That makes the Miele models seen reasonably priced and so it’s easy to believe that they are built to that quality standard.

Finally, in response to Phil’s point, correct me if I’m wrong but isn’t the fault with these Candy machines that the drum is actually coming apart and then destroying the tub (outer drum) and the rest fo the machine and the surrounding objects? If so it suggest to me that the fault is not that the drum doesn’t stay in place but that the drum is so shoddily made that it breaks apart. A technicality I know.

Doubtless when a small child or senior citizen is killed by one of these death trap machines Candy will wring their corporate hands and give forth crocodile tears and legislation will be put in place to force irresponsible manufacturers like them to take action, but by then it will be too late for many people and for the deceased unfortunate person.

The Drum seam is at fault, due to bad welding as far as I know.

I have a 4 month Hoover WDYNS 654D Washer Dryer and it is a pile of rubbish. On it’s first loaded spin the machine jumped forward and broke off a courier of it’s concrete counterweight. The engineer was not interested. It’s had 4 more engineer callouts and after replacing the heater they have decided it needs a new Inner/Outer drum assembly (the outer tub is sealed, so they can’t open it up to see whats wrong). It has also broke off one of the covers for where the transit bolt covers go, I was told by the engineer that the clearance is too tight at the back, so the drum bashes against the back of the cabinet.

I’ve refused any more repairs on the machine and are trying to get a exchange.

Haxisfan says:
3 April 2011

Does this pathetic saga has to repeat itself every time another failing sample appears?

Which? is searching high and low for these failing units, which is sadly more than can be said about Candy, however, it’s blatantly obvious that some more similarly failing machines bearing the faulty drum welds are going to be showing up sooner or later!

I would be baffled and perhaps more inclined to ridicule Candy/Hoover if they managed to find another similarly dangerous fault with these machines… but they keep referring to the same failing component over and over again… honestly this is getting tiresome!

Not all Candy or Hoover machines are affected in such a way, but only a small number as it’s the case with other manufacturers. I know many satisfied Candy/Hoover customers and I’m one of them myself! However, I feel tha Candy could at least recall these machines or put a note in their website like they did in Germany.

I believe that this matter is been blown out of proportion once again… speculation perhaps?

PS: as this article refers to Candy/Hoover machines, the photo gallery should not contain pictures of other branded items failing in a similar fashion.

Samantha says:
29 September 2011

Blown out of proportion??? So would you be saying the same thing if you had a small child that was injured by one of these machines or your property damaged by it??

I cannot believe someone would say such a thing when it is clearly a dangerous product. It does not matter if its a small number of machines that are affected, it is something that should have never occured!!

Andrew says:
3 April 2011

Replace it with a Miele! They would never explode…

nrones says:
3 April 2011

This is all so pathetic.. few cases happened…
but what is a shame for me currently: this is Which?… which is supposed to inform people properly…
Which KNOWS that there been Indesit washing machines exploding, still not making ANY report.
Even in this Flickr there is still a picture of INDESIT exploded drum.. again Which is being silent… maybe there”s some political reason for that.. I really don”t know why is the only one blamed Candy?

Phil says:
3 April 2011

I know many years ago when the first 1000 rpm spin speeds came in some manufacturers “upgraded” existing models by simply changing the drive pulleys. The result was a lot of burnt out motors that couldn’t handle the extra load. I wonder if this is the case here, that Candy have used existing components designed for a slower spin speed to save money.

Some very interesting things here certainly.

I was unaware of the Indesit machines referred to by nrones – can anyone at Which? explain why they are not following that case up too? or are they but perhaps getting more action from Merloni (makers of Indesit, Hotpoint, Creda et al) than from Candy?

However, how anyone can say that the case is “pathetic” when it involves incidents which cause so much damage is quite beyond me.

speedqueen says:
3 April 2011

Anyone who says that Candy’s issues are a storm in a teacup deserves to be locked in a room with a few of these deathtraps on the highest spin possible. One incident should spark a recall, not 10-20.

If these Candy machines were going up in flames (which I know occured a few years ago) then a good number of people would die or lose a lot yet Candy bury their heads in the sand, so one case should be enough,

If someone does get injured after Candy has been asked to deal with the problem, they could be required to pay a of compensation.

Decisions about whether to issue recalls (or inspect appliances for faults) should be made by an independent organisation, funded by a levy on manufacturers. Any company that fails to participate should not be allowed to sell its products in the UK.

Any company with a low recall rate could use this information to help market its products as properly tested and safe.

I think the compensation would cost a lot less than recalling all the machines….

It would be logical if Which? were the organisation to call for a boycott. It seems the TSO of Bolton Council are powerless so somebody/organisation should be looking at the power of consumer boycotts to affect major orgamisations.

As Which? seems to be putting a lot of resource behind on-line information the means to coordinate would seem to be in hand. I would be curious if the owners of the Candy/Hoover brand would be suggestible if they were going to be the target of the first boycott. To be fair if they approached all those who had returned their “warranty” card one might have a degree of sympathy but it does distinctly look like they are more interested in burying the problem.

Is Which? able to put online the correspondence with Candy so we can appreciate their responsiveness to a potentially lethal problem?

wendylittlewood says:
2 March 2015

So why if this was resolved in 2011 why has the counter balance in my machine smashed to pieces and wrecked the machine i have been without a washing machine now for 4 weeks and hoover candys custormer service is non is non existant considering this machine was a replacement 16 months ago i am not going to let this go i am discusted at the service i have had so far and i have now had to get a new washing that i borrowed the money for really fed up right now

diane says:
5 April 2011

i came home yesterday (mon 4th/4th/2011) to find my candy hoover washing machine across the kitchen with the drum on the floor …………….

diane – Tell us more! Was it the construction problem or their was a repairman working on it?!

PS regarding my post above Diane’s about boycotting the Candy Group. One would wish to advise stockists ahead of time so they could sell current stock and avoid re-ordering. : )

Thanks for that KAtie. I am astonished that they are as generous to provide the engineer without charge : ) I was thinking we might see some talk of an ex-gratia payment for stress!

timB says:
12 April 2011

Just spoke to a representative for candy, they cut me off the first time after i explained the nature of my call. I got put through to a manager the 2nd time who could only tell me that tests were ongoing, irrespective of my questions and concerns, and that they had my details on file and would get in contact if anything came to light.
My model is the Go 1482-80, purchased September 2007. I did mention that the wash cycles, although irrelevant to the main problem had started to go, what next? With children in the house is it worth having this possible ticking time bomb around?

googler says:
25 April 2011

My Hoover washing machine has just exploded in exactly this way! I have had it for 2 years and only have the parts warranty remaining. What is my best course of action now?

nrones says:
25 April 2011

Which?
This is a propper question to ask. But Even in your Flickr Slideshow there are pictures of exploded INDESIT drums, however you aren”t doing anything – that”s not fair. If you”re doing your job, than doo it completely and entirely please!
Although I am amazed how my previous comment about that got 9 dislike “for people that don”t care about brands, they only care about people security” – yeah right…

Tracey says:
3 May 2011

My Candy GO 1482-80 washing machine, bought in 2007 has recently started jumping alarmingly during the spin cycle and cutting out, to a point that I thought the machine was going to break the worktop above it. I was unaware of any problem involving the machine and it is registered with Candy, since reading this article I have stopped using the machine and will purchase a new one. I intend to contact Candy about this matter but am not holding my breath waiting for a helpful response.