/ Home & Energy

Update: Is your tumble dryer a fire-risk?

Tumble dryer

With more than 100 models of Hotpoint, Indesit and Creda tumble dryers potentially posing a fire-risk and an estimated five million of them in UK homes, do you think brand owner Whirlpool is doing enough to publicise the issue?

[UPDATED 25 FEBRUARY 2016] It’s been three months since news broke about the fire-risk posed by some Hotpoint, Indesit and Creda tumble dryers made between April 2004 and October 2015 – 750 have caught fire leading to three injuries. The manufacturer, Whirlpool, has now added 58,000 Proline and Swan tumble dryers to the list of fire-risk machines.

But, Whirlpool has not yet published a full list of the affected dryers, instead advising consumers to check their models at safety.hotpoint.eu and safety.indesit.eu, or by calling 0800 151 0905.

How did you find out your dryer was a fire risk?

So if your Hotpoint, Indesit, Creda, Swan or Proline tumble dryer is part of the safety-alert, how did you find out about this?

Whirlpool published a press release and placed an advert in The Times on 24 November. It also tells us that it’s been in contact with around 400,000 owners since then and retailers are also contacting those customers that they know own fire-risk dryers.

How long will you have to wait for a tumble dryer modification?

We called the helpline (0800 151 0905) in the week before Christmas and were told we’d have to wait eight weeks to have our dryer modified. But we were told we could still use the dryer in that time as long as it wasn’t left unattended and the lint-filter was cleaned after every use.

This is a large scale problem – we know that more than 100 models of Hotpoint, Indesit and Creda tumble dryers are affected and the manufacturer has confirmed that there have been 750 fires. Because of this we think that if you have a fire-risk dryer, you shouldn’t use it until it’s been serviced and modified.

What’s happened to you and your tumble dryer?

Is your tumble dryer part of this safety-alert? You can find out by checking at safety.hotpoint.eu and safety.indesit.eu or by calling 0800 151 0905. And we’ve listed the 113 dryers we know to be affected in our news story.

I’d like to hear your experiences of trying to get your Hotpoint, Indesit or Creda tumble dryer modified. Has this happened yet and if it has, how would you rate the service provided? Or are you on a waiting list and how long have you been told it take to have your tumble dryer modified?

Comments

I had seen this in the news, but thanks to Matt for letting us know.

It is vital to clean lint filters on tumble dryers to minimise accumulation of flammable material, and to follow all instructions provided with the appliance.

It would not be difficult for the manufactures to provide a safety interlock that makes it impossible to start a tumble dryer unless the filter has been opened.

The problem with recalls is that many owners do not learn that there is a problem. Some years ago there was a recall on Bosch and related dishwashers and we were told that most of the affected appliances continued in use: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/retailandconsumer/9933927/Bosch-half-a-million-dishwashers-that-catch-fire-still-being-used.html

Car recalls seem to be dealt with efficiently. VOSA has a searchable database and I know two people that have had recent recalls on their cars.

Cars are easy to deal with because ownership is registered and kept up to date. Manufacturers invite us to register goods, and sometimes offer an extended guarantee for doing so. The catch is that they have your contact details, which can be used for marketing. Earlier this year I started to register a kettle online and when I got to the question about my family income I picked up the phone and registered the product without providing more information than necessary.

I would like to see a government run organisation that allows consumers to register their own products and manufacturers to provide information about recalls, so that these can be passed on to owners. The key feature should be that the companies should not have access to our contact details.

To eliminate errors, online registration via QR codes could be encouraged. Many of the public own smartphones that can scan QR codes, which are as easy to scan as barcodes in a supermarket.

Derrick Mason says:
23 December 2015

I just bought indesit tumble drier on the 8th of December there was no warnings about fire risk or anything I just got a letter today 23/12/2015 to check and my one is one of the affected 8-10 weeks wait for modifications surely they should be rectifying the new driers before they send anymore out. Not happy as I would have bought a different drier if I had known

Colin Elrick says:
9 February 2016

Get in touch with whoever you bought it from as it’s less than a year old & still under guarantee. That’s what I did & got a full refund.

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Which is now owned in turn by Whirlpool Corporation.

K.

This comment was removed at the request of the user

“Which is now owned in turn by Whirlpool Corporation.

K.”

I knew Which? was coming more commercial but this takes the biscuit.

This comment was removed at the request of the user

Obviously becoming too commercial.

I have not read this topic top to toe but I’d well believe that a tumble dryer could go on fire and why more have not I do not know.
Apparently dishwashers are more prone statistically
I have a family member who ask me about their dryer
I went to have a look and it was full of fluff
I asked where the filter was? The thing at the door, was there not a gauze thing there. Answer. That thing. It blocks too easily.
I do not know how the thing did not go up in flames

Now something that is not so every day but there are 1000s of them
Gas dryers. There are 1000s of them and whilst they are very economical to run they can have and have had a little problem on this very front
They do use a naked flame directly in the air flow and although the flame is not as dangerous as it first sounds there is a problem more of the lurking kinda thing
Many have the air intake at the bottom of the dryer. More or less immediately after the intake is the flame box/burner.
This can be quite a serous area
We have two of these dryers
Both are around 25 years old and not a problem at least not with me
I bought the second one for buttons from a man who had scared himself to pieces with it
He had had a fire but fortunately his laundry was all tiled
When he cleaned the filter he simply threw the fluff down and the vacuum would get later
However the dryer got the hold of a piece of fluff and then the problem started.
Guess what. It was in the local free adds paper pronto
The machine had actually nothing wrong with it and apart from scaring the man half to death I doubt if the problem would have gotten and worse than the first flash of all the internal fluffs going
Personally I take and remove a few parts and blow ours clean every year and we never drop anything on the floor.
Anyhow
As far as gas dryers go. Make sure you have them serviced and cleaned out regular. I would say that gas dryers are more of a danger because of the flame
Dont do as our lady at the start and say the filter is a nuisance and discard it.

Rumour has it that some of these dryers are being swapped out for brand new ones, the presumption being that there is not enough manpower to carry out the modification in a reasonable time.

Whilst not certain I am aware of at least a few instances where this has happened, one for an eight year old dryer.

K.

Quinn says:
9 January 2016

After hearing about this I checked my model and it needs modified, I bought it around 3-4 years ago. They advised approx 8 weeks for modification. However I received an email yesterday updating my modification estimation to be in June ! They say it is safe and to keep clear of fluff and not to leave unattended. Ok so I am in attendance – if it goes on fire what do I do ? Who is then responsible for damage? I was aware of this possible risk – is my home insurance going to pay for any damage? It’s a can of worms. They also offer on the same email the opportunity to purchase a new one for £99, however only in white which mine is not Is this new one also subject to modification? See itv.com story on one of those going on fire ! Also, I bought one for my daughter after the safety notice went live – and guess what? It also needed modified ! Don’t think they should be allowed to sell them like that. Complained and swapped it for a zanussi – hopefully no issues with that but as previous person says they are all probably manufactured from parts available to all and just sold under different badges. Very worrying

Jennifer Janes says:
21 January 2016

After hearing on the news about the fire hazzard, I registered my hotpoint condenser drier on
23 November as requiring modification. I have made contact with Hotpoint twice since then but have not been able to get any information about how long I might wait for the modification. My latest call was today – at frist a representative said she did not know why there was a delay or how long it would be, so I asked to speak to a supervisor. He (Adam) was marginally better informed, being able to confirm they hoped to address in 8 weeks and that mine should be done shortly. His systems however were not geared to confirming where my registration was sitting – NOT very organised and very poor response from Hotpoint in addressing a very serious issue and keeping owners of potential fire hazzards informed!
I am going to resort to pestering them with phone calls!

My tumble dryer recently broke down, called insurance company for a repair and was informed it’s a recall dryer which needs to be replaced. This was back in December 2015 it’s now February and I’m still being fobbed off by Indesit stating they are out of stock. Insurance won’t deal with the situation due to it being a recall product. How can I take this further? I could have replaced my dryer by now.

Hi Pippa – I suggest you ask Indesit to replace your machine if they cannot fix the fault within a two weeks of your call, otherwise you will go to Trading Standards. Best of luck.

Pippa, you seem to have two separate problems. One is a breakdown covered by an extended warranty, the other is a manufacturing fault.. If the latter is the one affecting driers made between 2004 and 2015 where excess fluff might contact the heating element, Which? say:

“Tumble dryers need repair
Customers with affected models will be offered free repairs at home, and will be contacted by Indesit to arrange this. If you have concerns, use the brands’ online model checkers at http://safety.hotpoint.eu or http://safety.indesit.eu. In the meantime, Hotpoint suggests that the dryers can be used, but should not be left unattended while running, and the lint filter should be cleaned after each use as manufacturers recommend.”

If so this is not a recall or replacement. It suggests the drier is still safe to use. Therefore Indesit should arrange for an engineer to visit to put this right but there seems no great urgency. I don’t see what is out of stock to prevent this, unless it is necessary parts.

Read more: http://www.which.co.uk/news/2015/11/hotpoint-indesit-and-creda-fire-risk-tumble-dryers-safety-alert-424082/ – Which?

As the drier seems safe to use (if it worked) this should not prevent your warranty provider doing what you pay for – making the repair. The manufacturer’s issue seems none of their concern. I’d suggest pointing this out to them and if you can’t make progress maybe threaten them with the small claims court for breach of contract?

“I don’t see what is out of stock to prevent this, unless it is necessary parts.”

They do not have the manpower to carry out the modifications in the volume required, it is simple enough and, they cannot simply whip up a few hundred field techs to assist as, they don’t exist.

So, there’s no option but to wait.

Even a replacement, they are out of stock of. How long for I do not know but I am aware that there are “pressures” there as well from what I’m told.

It has to be understood that this is the largest ever recall ever undertaken in the UK for domestic appliances I am aware of and the systems are simply not geared or even in existence to cope with it. Even mass replacement, the stock and systems to do that just don’t exist.

I would very much doubt that going to court or even threatening that will make any odds to the circumstances and, highly unlikely to accomplish anything.

K.

Kern, I suggested putting pressure on the warranty provider to repair the fault in Pippa’s machine, not on Indesit to provide the fix. If Which? is correct then waiting for an Indesit fix will not be dangerous providing the lint filter is cleaned as the manufacturer recommends. Is this correct advice?

According to the manufacturer that is correct.

K.

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Electrical Safety First has website that lists recalls for a wide range of electrical goods. I looked up the recall on Pippa’s Indesit tumble dryer: http://www.electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk/product-recalls/2015/11/indesit-tumble-dryers/

The advice is sensible: “Electrical Safety First recommends that anyone who discovers they have an electrical item that has been recalled should stop using it until it has been checked by the manufacturer.”

It would be interesting to know what remedial work will be done to make the tumble dryer safer. I believe that all tumble dryers should have an interlock that prevents them from starting until the filter has been cleaned. If filters are not cleaned routinely, lint can build up unseen inside the machine.

I wonder if Which? could handle a spreadsheet just logging members affected machines and when [and how] they are sorted out. The figures may be interesting as the months roll on from time advised to a result.

I realise of course that there will be far more media inches if people keep writing in saying they have not been sorted but it would be nice to have a running total giving an overview.

A couple of years ago there was a report about half a million Bosch tumble dryers that could be a fire risk and only about 20% were accounted for. Many don’t register electrical goods because this can lead to details being passed on for marketing.

Product registration for safety recalls should be handled by the government and not companies, charities or trade associations. VOSA seems to do a good job with cars, though it helps that cars are registered for other purposes.

So I agree that action is needed, but it must include everyone and not just Which? members.

I would agree with you but for I suspect a “commercial” secrecy arrangement which would mean consumers would be outside the loop as to the figures involved and the resolution.

Also Which? could start this tomorrow and advertise it for £10 a pop per year and free to members. Just one place to keep track of all your goodies and only one address to advise when you move houses.

I disagree that anyone should pay for safety information. My view is that Which? should push for the government to provide this. I believe this is available on the EU RAPEX website but that deserves an award for being user-unfriendly.

Stuff commercial secrecy. Public safety is rather more important.

I believe the only practical route is to register the product when you buy it – simply give the name and address of the user at the point of purchase. It should be the manufacturers duty then to inform you if there is a safety issue and how they will deal with it.

Maybe that is too simple and I’ve overlooked a crucial hurdle?

A central register? Who will bother to regularly look at it to see if any of their (several) appliances are affected – even if they remember the details of their models. And, as others complain, it needs internet access which all do not have.

With a central register you would be contacted in event of a recall if an affected product was registered under your name.

QR codes in an accessible place (not at the back of an appliance) would provide an easy way to provide all the product details by scanning them with a smartphone. Alternatively, you could give the make, model and serial number.

A central register would also allow owners of secondhand goods and those in rented accommodation to register the products in their homes.

Manufacturers often combine product registration with data collection. I was registering a new kettle last year and became annoyed by some of the questions, one of which asked about my annual income.

The point being that:
a] people move house and do not go through all the faff of writing to all companies whose goods they own.
b] if your details are registered Which? just emails everyone who owns one of the affected machines
c] subscriber acknowledge receipt and they still have the kit and Which? bulk replies to the manufacturer
d] customer advises when job or replacement done.
e] priority fixing for Which? subscribers??

So as a subscriber you upload you own one and a contact email address and that is that . It could actually be extended to postal service also for subscribers who have been members for more than two years.

With a central register, people who move house could simply change their address and delete items that they have left in the old house or disposed of.

I don’t expect Which? to provide a service that should be provided by the government.

The government cannot do everything! And all these things would have to be paid for out of taxation (unless you want a charge levied for each item?). It is not particularly good at looking after consumers – try Trading Standards. Nor is it particularly good at organising data – certainly not in economical and secure ways. It will simply let out a contract to Capita or some other commercial organisation who will make money and handle it badly. And what might they do with your data?

The manufacturer should be legally liable to contact an owner if a recall or repair is necessary, and the direct contact should mean less time spent arranging for work to be done than going through a 3rd party. Take responsibility for telling them your change of address – some things we can do for ourselves, surely?

Don’t forget all the people you’ll have to tell when you move, by the way.

Since the recall information is already held on an EC database (I’m not sure if they collect details of model and serial numbers) then I think it would be best if manufacturers just continue to submit their data and leave the government or EC to manage the registration of individuals and the products they own and send out recalls where appropriate. I envisage that this would be funded mainly by the companies issuing recalls.

I monitor recalls rather than registering products unless there is a worthwhile benefit such as a free extended warranty. I had forgotten about the Hotpoint etc. recall because I no longer have a tumble dryer. I have just been speaking to a friend who had a small fire in his tumble dryer and now dismantles it periodically for cleaning.

I’m only moving about 8 miles and might be able to keep the same phone number and email address.

I have been banging a few of these warnings into the Community Forum for fun and to illustrate how common they are.

I also point out how they can be constructed to hide the details of how big a problem it is, and of course only the vendor will know how many are still out there waiting to be dangerous.

One of the reasons I want Which? to do it would obviously be the information gathering aspects.

I also think that Which? is in danger of becoming an irrelevancy if it becomes more concerned with column inches, campaign appeals, and commercial ventures. Keeping people involved is important. One of the big management mantras in the management books is getting buy-in to a concept and members being able to be active [in a constructive way] . This is where IMO Which? management are missing a trick.

Kitchen Appliances
Product name: Tesco 3L and 5.5L Slow Cookers
Brand: Tesco
Model number:

Units fitted with KDJ branded plug only

Model number: SCSS12 / SCSS13

Units with batch code running from 150501 to 151031 (Format YYMMDD).

Sold from 1st July 2015 to31st December 2015.
Recall date(s): 02/02/2016
Description:

Tesco brand slow cooker in 3.0L and 5.5L capacities, sold between 1st July – 31st December 2015 – see images for further details
Risk:

Risk of electric shock due to inadequate construction of the plug
What to do:

If you have an affected product please stop using it immediately, unplug and return to your nearest Tesco store for a full refund.

Freephone Tesco helpline:

0800 50 55 55

0330 123 4055

Electrical Safety First recommends that anyone who discovers they have an electrical item that has been recalled should stop using it until it has been checked by the manufacturer.

” A non-profit auto safety group has sued U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx for failing to set up a public website revealing safety concerns for every car and truck model.
The Center for Auto Safety’s suit notes that Congress instructed the Department of Transportation (DOT) three years ago to establish a website showing every communication from automakers to dealers and consumers about safety defects broken down by make, model, and year.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) lists recalls — but not service bulletins — in a convoluted and difficult-to-use database that requires the consumer to have the vehicle identification number (VIN) to look up recalls. This is useless to consumers who are looking for outstanding recalls and bulletins on different models they are considering buying, critics have noted.
“DOT failure to implement the law costs consumers money for repairs that covered by Service Bulletins and endangers their lives by witholding Service Bulletins that disclosures [sic] defects that can cause crashes, deaths and injuries,” Clarence Ditlow, the center’s executive director, said.
“Today the Center for Auto Safety filed suit against DOT Secretary Foxx to force the Secretary to do what the law so clearly requires,” Ditlow added. “This is yet another example of where voluntary and cooperative action by the auto industry so praised by Secretary Foxx fails.”
The Congressional mandate in question is the “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act” enacted on July 6, 2012. It clearly states that “the Secretary shall make available on a publicly accessible Internet website, a true or representative copy of each communication to the manufacturer’s dealers or to owners or purchasers of a motor vehicle or replacement equipment produced by the manufacturer about a defect or noncompliance with a motor vehicle safety standard prescribed under this chapter in a vehicle or equipment that is sold or serviced.”

Some will say that working with industry works but many industries simply use the co-operation to drag their heels………………
I got a letter about these dryers but the letter did not state model of type not even basic dryer or condenser dryer
Good on ye Diesel for finding this

Apropos dryers I was on a cruise ship where the passengers laundry room had a stack of six Miele dryers. These all had either broken or missing mesh filters. They also took an inordinate amount of time to dry clothes.

As I have a Miele dryer I was suspicious why it was taking longer and had a look at the air passageways. It was quite dark but when scraped with a finger revealed a roughly 10mm of “felt” on all sides of the airflow tunnel. This of course was restricting airflow quite drastically, absorbing moisture , capturing the fluff and also providing an unhygienic flow of air to the clothes.

I only examined and took photos of the one machine. However I have no doubt they were all affected similarly. I complained to the Bursar about the missing filters but felt inhibited about mentioning I had been looking into the innnards. Being thrown of ship at the next port is actually an option for cruise companies.

After a service engineer mentioned the build-up of lint unseen in dryers in another Conversation, I did some investigation and found the problem mentioned on other websites. Some models are worse than others and failure to clean the filter regularly can accelerate accumulation of lint.

I have got myself into trouble on a few occasions by investigating safety issues myself.

Wave,,,,,,,,,you done right…………..take care of yourself first
I’ve been blowing out our dryers for some 25 years…………Pull them out………….wee cover off the back and attack them with the air line……………then give the elephants truck a good blow and shake
I’ll take a chance on saving myself rather than rely on the letter mentioned below…………..2004 to 2016 is 12 years…………..Are there people using dryers for 12 years without a service???????????
There probably are but I’d say that is foolish with a thing that more or less generates an endless supply of fluff

There’s nothing wrong with self protection

We clean the filter every load……………vacuum sits beside it and the fluff gets sucked into the cleaner

Just an add on
My son has another of the gas dryers and like near all newer generations does everything without asking about anything…….
Dryer stopped working last week after it had not failed in many years

Flame wouldnt stay lit according to him…………….actually spark never stopped due to no flame signal to controller and it timed out
The lower probe had been overheated so many times it had bent down under its own weight of a few grams
Got it sorted with firm instructions to only fill it up to around the half way point…………He had brought a load to home along with his problem to dry and he absolutely filled our dryer………………I explained they were called “tumble” dryers for a reason……………..The washing needs to tumble
The washing machine was the same……………wouldnt have held another pair of trousers…………..his answer went something about its going to take a long time to wash………I asked him if it was him or the machine that was doing the washing!!!!…………….
A serious job this washing nowadays………….I dont know what he’ll do when his wee boy starts to play football etc

When I said that I have got myself into trouble, it is usually by pointing out electrical equipment that is obviously unsafe, though like Dieseltaylor, I have sometimes looked a little further.

I agree about the importance of servicing. When I first checked my tumble dryer I discovered that there were no strategically placed thermal fuses or even self-resetting thermal cutouts to shut off the power in event of overheating, just one near the heater to afford protection in event of failure of the fan. Even though it was in a detached garage I rarely used it after that.

Just came in for a cuppa and there’s a letter from HOTPOINT/INDESIT/CREDA telling me that if I bought a dryer since 2004 it may be dangerous and so forth
Just thought I’d better report the letter although it surprised me as we haven’t bought any new electrical goods since 2004 or at least not new retail/new……….We bought a new/unused larder fridge and a dishwashers still on their pallets but wrong colour in all cases……….Private sales as such

Helen Hilliard says:
4 February 2016

Hotpoint are useless. They do not keep their customers updated, don’t meet their own timescales and quite frankly do not seem to care. They make it impossible for you to contact them. They are burying their heads in the sand.

I registered our model (which we had only bought in September 2015) and received an acknowledgement email on 7th December. I have had no recall notice or communication from Hotpoint since that date. What to do?????? The 8 weeks within which they promised to repair my machine has passed. There has been not a single email communication or letter.

What’s more, Which? are still listing the model I bought (based on the strength of their review – Hotpoint FETV60CP White) as a Best Buy. Isn’t that a little irresponsible?

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AR Howe – It is possible that the Hotpoint tumble dryers on sale are not affected by the recall. Often recalls are limited to a range of serial numbers. You are right to be concerned but hopefully Which? will confirm that all shop stock is safe. The Hotpoint website allows owners to check if the problem affects their model and serial number.

I recently bought a product that I know was affected by a recent recall. Before placing the order I checked with the online retailer and was told that they were aware of the problem and that they had new stock. When the item arrived it was conspicuously marked Version 2.

I have had a look at the Which? review of this model and some serial numbers are not affected by the recall: “If you own this dryer, check whether it has a green dot sticker on the inside of the door at the top, either on the door itself or on the door rim. Also check the back of the machine in the middle and towards the top. If your dryer has a green dot sticker in either of these locations, the manufacturer tells us that it’s not part of the safety alert.”

I inherited a Hotpoint tumble dryer from my next door neighbour when he moved last year.
It’s one of the ones affected, so I notified Hotpoint via their website. I got an email on 25th November 2015 saying ‘Thank you for registering your details.
Due to the high volume of registrations, we will be contacting you within the next 5 weeks.
Please note in the meantime you can continue to use your product, although we recommend that appliances are not left unattended whilst operating.’

Have heard nothing since.

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Update : Monday 8th Feb – have received email from Hotpoint to say an engineer will come “in April”.