/ Home & Energy

*Alert* Hotpoint fridge freezer product notice

hotpoint fridge freezer

The Metropolitan Police Service stated today that a Hotpoint FF175BP fridge freezer has been identified as the initial source of the Grenfell Tower fire.

The Hotpoint FF175BP and FF175BG fridge freezer models have not previously been recalled, but an immediate technical test of the fridge freezer has been ordered by the government.

Hotpoint fridge freezer

Around 64,000 units of the same model were made between 2006 and 2009 before being discontinued, according to Hotpoint.

The government has advised that at this stage there is no specific reason for people to switch off their fridge freezers.

Our Managing Director of Home Products and Services, Alex Neill, said:

‘If it turns out that faults in this fridge-freezer caused the fire to start at Grenfell Tower, this raises serious questions about the safety of these products.

‘If this model is found to be faulty, a full product recall must be implemented swiftly by the manufacturer so that any at risk products are removed from people’s homes.’

What to do next

The advice for owners of white Hotpoint fridge freezers FF175BP or graphite fridge freezers FF175BG is to contact Hotpoint to register the details of the fridge freezer by calling 0800 316 3826 or visiting hotpointservice.co.uk/fridgefreezer.

Model numbers can usually be found on a barcode sticker behind the salad container inside the fridge.

If you’re concerned about the safety of your appliance then take a look at our consumer rights and product safety advice for further guidance.

Comments
Member

Convos about domestic appliances sometimes criticise the use of plastics in their construction. The use of plastics is covered by “non-metallic materials” in many safety standards, including BS EN 60335-1 dealing with Household electrical appliances. Clause 30 is extensive and deals with Resistance to heat and fire.

Non-metallic materials are required to be resistant to ignition and the spread of fire. Comprehensive sampling and tests are specified to check for compliance – under strictly defined conditions so the results are meaningful.

It has been said that fire resistant plastics are not so, because you can cut off a thin sliver and put a match to it. So use steel instead – that is not going to ignite or spread fire, is it?. Well, try taking thin slivers of steel and putting a match to then – wire wool might well be in your garage. Watch it burn!

This is the reason we have a scientific approach to the use of materials, and the strict and controlled checking of their characteristics in the context of where they will be used.

Those who have put international safety standards together, and helped them develop over many years, do so with knowledge and integrity, and are not attempting to hoodwink the consumer. However we can, if we are concerned, input our views to these organisations.

Member

Are you trying to ridicule my input, Malcolm? 🙁 The reason wire wool will burn is because the strands of metal are thin and have a high surface area to volume ratio. Try setting light to a paper clip or a pin with a match and I very much doubt that it will burn.

Domestic plastic-cased consumer units have been phased out for new and replacement installations, as I have reported before: http://electrical.theiet.org/wiring-matters/55/consumer-units/ The new requirement is for non-combustible material and steel is cited as an example. Why is it now forbidden to use plastic cases for consumer units but not for household appliances? The IET article mentions the importance of sealing the wiring entries, which helps to exclude air and limit the spread of fire.

As I have said before, I very much support standards, but they need to be updated as needed so that they are fit for the purpose. Also standards that are relevant to your health and mine should be readily accessible online by those who would like to read them.

Edit: An explanation of why steel wool burns: http://www.instructables.com/id/Simple-Science-Burn-Steel-Wool/

Member

Are you trying to ridicule my input, Malcolm? ” No, I am not. I see nothing in my comment that is other than a rational comment on the topic. I am pointing out the importance of properly specified materials and scientific testing and that ad hoc tests prove little. To challenge the basis of international standards tests on the basis of an uncontrolled experiment is, as a scientist, something I would have thought difficult to support. I think as responsible people we need to give other readers soundly-based information wherever possible.

The flammability tests specified in standards will uncover materials that do not meet the standards. So if a material does in fact ignite and promote the spread of flame, as you say your sample did, then the tests would reveal that.

My example of steel wire wool burning was to point out that materials behave in different ways under different test conditions, which is why standardised sampling and testing is essential to produce meaningful information.

Member

In other Conversations, I have posted a selection of photos that show examples of appliances that have not contained fire because plastic has burned or melted. In my view, appliances should be tested to show that they can contain fire.

I have asked before if there is any requirement to test the plastics used in the casing of appliances for fire resistance, since I am not aware of any need to do this, but no-one has provided an answer. If there is a requirement, then I would be grateful if you can let us have the relevant text, as you have done for materials used close to potential sources of ignition.

Member

it is unfortunate that you cannot access the comprehensive standards covering this topic, with their requirements and scientific tests. They are quite specific as to how materials are used and tested, and I cannot fairly summarise them here.

The IEC and, in the UK, BSI have active working groups looking at fire and domestic appliances. These working groups and their associated committees represent a wide range of interests. They will no doubt look at the current standards and the way appliances have developed together with evidence in use to see whether changes should be made. I believe this will include materials and fire containment for example. I keep repeating that Which? should, in my view, play an active part in BSI to help this and to take with them relevant views from consumers.

Without Which?’s actions, simply repeating our views only on Convos will get us nowhere other than having entertaining discussions.

Member

Or make sprinkler systems mandatory in all kitchens and then you protect agains failure in any and all products there.

But then, that doesn’t help when people put them in garages, outhouses, toilets and so forth. Many of which lead to the problems seen in the field.

And if you metal case them they cannot be used in “wet” areas so, they will become unsuitable depending on zoning for electrical safety regs in kitchens and toilets where many are installed. Which I have tried to warn you of previously on several occasions.

And no doubt there’d be an outcry at the cost of any measure, if any were to be taken.

K.

Member

Earthed metal cases are electrically safe and will contain fire, but there is nothing to stop them being covered by plastic sheet.

New tower blocks would have sprinkler systems and maybe those who opposed installing one when Grenfell Tower was refurbished might have changed their opinion now.

Many safety features have been introduced in cars without an outcry. Opposition tends to occur when personal freedom is limited. As I recall, it was the requirement to use seat belts rather than providing them that caused the main controversy.

I’m not sure what we can do about people putting appliances in unsuitable locations in their own houses, but in rented or council housing there is the opportunity for rules and periodic inspections.

Member

Uhm, the metal cases are all earthed already. They kinda need to be.

They should be IP64. Shock protection has to be in play. Ventilation has to be made available. Temperature to external parts that are operated has to be taken into account and be safe to touch. They have to be electrically insulated. And so on, etc, etc.

The point I keep making is, you seem to be making this about one single issue, fire containment but, there’s a number of other extremely important safety measures that you also have to consider. I can’t help but feel that what you think is that this will magically solve all the fire problems when the reality of it is, there’s a slew of other safety features to consider in harmony with that.

As I said before, it’d be really easy with your suggestion to end up creating more issues than you solve.

And so, we have the like of BSI et all to ensure that you get the best compromise on overall safety, not just on a single issue.

I do not for a single minute think that some sort of Heath Robinson affair with plastic coatings or a polly bag is a reasonable solution. That’s like Samsung mod, rubbish.

K.