/ 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

Quote from Duncan Lucas: The biggest devious-sly- secretive downright evil US takeover of Europe just to control the EU

Although it’s nowhere near as simple and Machiavellian as that, in what must be a moment of unprecedented rarity I do agree with DL that we need a full debate about TTIP and its possible consequences and advantages. I know other folk are similarly concerned and, as TTIP is directly concerned with consumerism, it would seem Which? is the most appropriate hosting venue for such a debate.

TTIP is enormously, horrendously complex and some fragments regarding how similar treaties are favouring retailers over consumers are emerging all the time. This is exactly what Which? is for. Which? has the resources, the expertise and the commitment to conduct a searching investigation into the treaty before it is signed into existence and before irrevocable changes are made.

TTIP has been mentioned various times in the past year, including a couple of ‘ideas’, yet there is no indication that it is on the agenda for Which?. If Which? feel that it is not within their remit, it would be nice to tell us.

” TTIP is enormously, horrendously complex and some fragments regarding how similar treaties are favouring retailers over consumers are emerging all the time……….. This is exactly what Which? is for. Which? has the resources, the expertise and the commitment to conduct a searching investigation into the treaty before it is signed into existence and before irrevocable changes are made.”

YOU MAY VERY WELL THINK SO! However Which? is not anywhere near as consumer active as it should be. I suggest you look at the much smaller EU and Australian consumer organisations to see what active means.

Unusually Which? has a preponderance of appointed businesspeople on the Which? Ltd Board and in fact the voluntary chairman Mike Clasper is very much an embedded. Formerly a head of the mega-consumer multiinational P&G Europe, a one-time chair of HMRC, and currently boss of Coats plc.

By fate he was on the selection board that gave our CEO Peter Vicary-Smith his first job at P&G. The immediate past chair was a marketing professional working in the fast moving consumer goods field.

The Trustees of the charity Consumers Association, which in theory control the organisation, have been meeting less frequently since the early 2000’s and one might well consider neutered with a reduction in elected and bad governance. There is also the business like discussion that four executives should have a £2.24m bonus being paid this year. There are now several more bonus schemes in existence. The CEO earns around £350,000 a year , that is probably too much.

This money might have usefully been spent on research on adapting poor houses to better insulation or benefits of ground source heat pumps etc etc.

Clarification

Many charities are limited companies also. One very famous example would be Save the Children Fund which has up to fifteen shareholders. This select band are all Directors [Trustees] of the Charity and can only hold a share whilst a Director. It was founded in the 1920’s.

The Consumers’ Association , hereafter CA owner of Which$ Ltd, had tens of thousands of shareholders before 2000 but since then it has declined to around 7527 in June 2014. Curiously only 311 new shareholders appeared on the Register since 2004 despite booming numbers of subscribers to the charities products branded with the Which tag.

Given that the number of shareholders who can hold the Council to account is dropping rapidly [over 900 had been subscribers for 50years] I think that there is perhaps only 6000 members now. Joining as a Ordinary Member means you are prepared to pay 50p if the business goes bankrupt.!

It also means perhaps we can improve the governance of Which?

May I inform everyone that a Facebook page has just been set up which you might wish to contribute to – entitled Campaign to get Hotpoint, Indesit and Creda to recall their faulty products

You might ask why our consumers’ champion Which? has not set up such a campaign before now (or has it?). Perhaps if we want something done we should use social media (I, personally, have so far had no wish to join in). 🙁

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Duncan,,,,I wont deliberately avoid or ignore the points you make and I’ll agree that some are,,,,ignoring them…… because they choose to though for why I know not
Perhaps they think that everything is too perfect for such a system to slip into being un-noticed……..
It was after all meant to be un-noticed

I have simply watched today at the goings on and some are pretty hard of hearing so being ignored is not out of the ordinary and neither is splitting hairs………
Being ignored is a tactic when there is little answer to some who are often either correct or simply adamant.
Some dont hear so good through their ears but may hear better through their a*** is a comment a once teacher of mine often made……….and that is not the first time of late that someone with a little sense mentioned teachers……………
Often the teacher was the one in need of a little “education”

I think Duncan some are consigned to the sidelines if they will go quietly but I dont think you do quietly so I think you’ll be around for a wee while yet…….”God willing” as we would say here…..

Hotpoint are doing well as I note this article in the crusading consumer organisation the Daily Mirror:
“Family left without a kitchen after exploding Hotpoint washing machine destroyed worktop and cupboards

Father-of-three Simon Bettridge said Hotpoint washing machine exploded
Bus driver, 43, was out with his children when wife Zara put washing on
Mrs Bettridge thought family were burgled when she saw state of kitchen
Appliance blew up and cracked worktop surface and shattered cupboards

By Keiligh Baker for MailOnline

Published: 17:21, 16 February 2016 | Updated: 18:25, 16 February 2016

dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3449690/Family-left-without-kitchen-Hotpoint-washing-machine-exploded.html#ixzz40S2Zytl4
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

I have not seen this before as I’m sure near everyone will not have seen but I have seen worse damage caused by an automatic washing machine……………….I dont remember the make but here goes
The woman who looked after my grandfather came home to an even worse situation although the machine itself did not look as bad as such
No one ever knew what the machine actually done but it appeared as if it had went mad…………..as in it went into spin mode full of water or spun whilst totally out of balance…………………..It was a smallish council house kitchen and literally there was nothing left undamaged……………..The machine was below the work top in the corner…………All the units were pulled apart…………..The place including the entire ground floor was flooded as the water met Marg at the door…………….
The machine had continued until it pulled the 13a plug from the wall
The machine was in the middle of the floor surrounded by 100s of contents of cupboards……
All she got was “the machine is out of warranty”
She needed a complete new kitchen which the council would not pay for and she dried everything else out as the flooding was obviously clean water
That would have been around 1985

We will not leave a machine on whilst no one is here and never have done…………….No machine ever made is or was perfect nor would I trust any machine to be perfect enough to leave alone
We dont have cookers with timers and I would not use one……………
The only things that remain going are the fridges/freezers and Sky box…………….Thats it…………nothing else
No chargers,,,,,,,,,,,no leads with phones attached or unattached…………….They are all rubbish made as cheap as possible

And thats before we get into overloading of washers and dryers which we will not do although our son has proved pretty good at that one……………..

Hello, returning to the topic of tumble dryers…

In case you haven’t seen already, today an independent review into product recalls has been published. The Lynn Faulds Wood’s review for the Department of Business Innovation has made a number of recommendations to improve the product recall system. In particular, it has recommended that a national product safety agency is established to coordinate the system of recalls.

While we’re pleased to see progress on this issue, we think that recent events show that much more than a steering group is needed to protect consumers. We have called for the Government to increase pressure on manufacturers to improve their approach to product recalls – particularly in speeding up their response time and effectiveness of communication.

Further information is available here: http://www.which.co.uk/news/2016/02/action-needed-on-unsafe-products-says-review-433855/

Thanks for the update Lauren. Please can you let us have an link to the independent review when it is available.

I am very strongly in favour of a national product safety agency or giving this role to an existing government agency. I’m not happy about giving my details to companies because they can use the information for marketing or sell it to others. When I registered a product to qualify for a ‘free’ extended warranty, one of the marketing questions was about my annual income. All we need is for companies to pass on information about recalls etc. to the appointed agency and let them inform product owners. This system has worked fine with cars for many years.

Thanks Wavechange … you beat me to it! 🙂

Here is our story. I heard in the media about a month or so ago that certain models of Hotpoint tumble dryers were a fire risk, but didn’t hear from Hotpoint until 30th Jan (although the letter was dated the 13th). I immediately registered on their site for the modification and was informed that the repair would be done in about 8 weeks. Not brilliant, but tolerable.

Tuesday, I received an email regarding an ‘estimated repair date’ (as if I’d never been told this previously). This gave me a new date of July!!!

As a ‘gesture of goodwill’, I was offered either of two replacement dryers at reduced price; one condenser at £99 and one vented at £59. On the face of it, this seems reasonable, until you realise that Hotpoint are neatly turning their problem into a sale. I’ve no doubt that the cost of the repair to them will be at least £50 to £100, so instead, they get us to pay them for machines which have poor reviews wherever you look.

Furthermore, we would want and need the vented model, but it is no use to us because our current machine opens to the left and the only replacement on offer opens to the right, where it would interfere with the transfer of laundry from the washing machine.

So all in all; I am extremely unhappy about this. OK we are cleaning the lint filter every time we use the machine (we always did), but 6 months to rectify a life threatening fault is simply not good enough, with or without their derisory offer.

Helen says:
24 February 2016

Just been telephoning – the nearest they are repairing mine is December!!!

Sorry Helen but at least I’m lucky! Hotpoint ARE concerned about my safety AND they value my custom. Perhaps they do not value you so highly… oh, no… hang about… they won’t be fixing my drier either until December . At least they’ve offered to sell me a replacement drier if I think it unreasonable to wait TEN MONTHS (!!!) with a fire risk before they to fix the faulty goods they sold me. Then again, the replacement model is also on the list of faulty items! Good, eh?
I think I’d prefer a refund rather than buying anything from this firm again.

I’ve had a quick look through Lynn Faulds Wood’s review and am not very clear about what the key solution is. The proposals seem to be less than precise.

A national product safety website, coordination etc are all fine, either
– if you look at it in case your products is involved (I doubt many will do that particularly in view of the huge range of products proposed for inclusion)
– if MSA (Trading Standards) use it to somehow communicate information to individuals
– or…..?
Maybe I’ve missed something.

One highlighted problem is lack of funding for Trading Standards by local authorities. As Market Surveillance Authorities they should be a nationally-organised group properly funded by central government. One of their role is mainly to prevent fraudulently unsafe products from entering the market, that is those that pretend to comply with standards, CE marked, but do not.

If a manufacturer has produced a batch of products with a fault the requires remedy I would want to know direct from, preferably, the manufacturer or the distributor or even AMDEA, not have to look at a website.

My favoured solution, therefore, as a first line of defence is to register your appliance with only your necessary contact details on line / post and have it legally obligatory for you to be contacted if there is an essential recall by, for example, the manufacturer, their agent or distributor. I realise this does not deal with those who move address but that is not insuperable – the central website would still be there and a label on the appliance could remind the owner what to do such as amending their details and with whom.

The document seems to mix two problems – safety issues with basically decent products caused by some flaw or fault, and poor products that do not comply with standards but claim to ( fraudulently marked / certified to get into the EU for example). These are different, and the latter should be dealt with by our Market Surveillance Authority – which is why we need properly-funded national Trading Standards. The report also mentions low quality (cheap) goods; these should only still be sold if they meet appropriate EN standards and cost is no excuse for being unsafe. Compliance with national and international safety standards deals with that.

Here is a quotation from the independent review:

“8. There is a need to improve consumer interest and involvement in the recall process – to research evidence-based ways to reach consumers and influence their behaviour

Consumers’ trust in handing over their personal data is low. They worry about how their details will be used and at present they do not see filling in cards for new purchases, nor registering, as a safety bonus which outweighs the possible disadvantages.

In a recent survey 51% of industry professionals said they would not give their personal details, so how can we expect consumers to be more trusting? Once trust is lost, evidence shows it is hard to recover.
There is no magic wand.

The system which I have outlined – led from the top by a national product safety agency – could immediately promote trust. The agency would be charged with examining what works in other countries (like the US CPSC), and monitor how rapidly changing consumer behaviour can be detrimental to good business. They could implement evidence-based change.”

I very much agree. We must avoid a requirement for consumers to provide their contact details or other personal information to any manufacturer or manufacturer’s representative. It is telling that even ‘industry professionals’ would not do this. Perhaps they don’t want their details used for marketing or sold.

The EC already makes information available about recalls on a weekly basis, via the RAPEX website. This could be used by the proposed national body which could pass on the information to consumers that have registered their product information. For those who have smartphones and tablets, registering product details for new and secondhand products could be made simple and error-free using QR codes. If the information is held on a secure website, owners could delete items they have sold or otherwise disposed of.

We are usually urged to register domestic appliances and other electrical goods but products designed for children are subject to recalls, so the range of products that should be registered is rather larger than it might seem at first glance.

I read that but giving my address and email to a manufacturer, distributor or shop doesn’t bother me. And most people will do this when they buy anything on the internet. My main concern is that I am informed automatically when a product I have bought needs remedial safety work.

What bothers me is that the huge data base that will be needed will not be done by the government but subbed out to a “contractor” – someone like Capita. How well will they deal with it and how secure will your personal data be with them?

And at what cost to the taxpayer? This is a responsibility in the end of the manufacturer and they should both deal with it and fund it, but if we go our own way are they likely to cough up the cash? 🙁

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Duncan – You are up to date on what happened to FERA, Duncan, but it’s not my area and I don’t know what will happen now that Capita is involved. Quite apart from the conflict of interest you mention, any monitoring or regulatory body needs to retain independence from industry.

I have considerable respect for Prof Lang’s achievements, his involvement in creation of the Food Standards Agency is what I associate with his name. In 2014 he said we should avoid eating chicken. I can’t remember whether this was before or after I boycotted it because of the appalling standards in the industry. I am seriously concerned about the amount of influence industry has over government.

Malcolm – You may be happy to contribute your personal information to companies, but I am not. I agree that it is possible that information might not be secure, but I’m sure it would be far less secure in the hands of companies that could use it for marketing or sell it to other companies.

“Personal information” – like your address? How many people know this already? People who buy off the net, have bank accounts, mortgages, visit estate agents, have their car serviced, use home delivery……………all with “commercial” companies. But somehow, giving your name and address (and perhaps other details) to a “commercial” company that might run a government database is a different kettle of fish? I have registered most of my appliances with the manuacturer (i.e. a commercial company) and the only marketing post I have ever received has been from an extended warranty company to see if i would like to cover my appliance.

We need to look at the practicality of proposals. Who should be obliged, legally, to tell someone if an appliance has a safety issue that needs to be dealt with? The manufacturer or the EU (or UK) distributor. Who would it be best to inform? The purchaser directly. Should I pay (through taxes) for another bureaucratic organisation, maybe with an iffy track record who may not hold my data securely, to do this instead? Why take on a mountainous pile of work that individual suppliers could, and should, be doing far more efficiently? Enforce the manufacturer’s obligations; they can easily be penalised if they fail. Governments job should be to ensure that manufacturers and distributors deal with recalls properly,

I’d rather the money the government would spend on this were given it instead to the other problem that only they can deal with – funding a proper and effective national Trading Standards organisation that could stop illegal and dangerous products getting into circulation in the first place.

Last time I tried to register a product online I was faced with a barrage of questions including one about my household income. The incentive was to extend my two year guarantee for an extra year. I have no intention of being used as a target for marketing, thank-you.

Anyone owning a car will be notified by the government agency DVSA of a recall, whether the car is new or old and irrespective of whether they are the original purchaser or not. I have only had one recall but over the years I know of many who have benefitted from this information. The fact that the keeper of a vehicle is registered certainly helps, but I have suggested how registration could be promoted if we keep it out of the the hands of commercial organisations.

To repeat a sentence from the recent review: “In a recent survey 51% of industry professionals said they would not give their personal details, so how can we expect consumers to be more trusting?” We are not given the reasons for their preference, but I am not surprised.

Here,here Wave
I came up against those questions twice and I never registered anything again
They dont need to know all this for a blasted washer or fridge…………..

DeeKay, no, of course they shouldn’t. So either don’t give the information, or one result of this review should be to ensure only necessary contact details were needed to register a product.

Survey – I like to know what information is given to those surveyed, and what question is asked. If we asked consumers (why was it only professionals?): “to enable a manufacturer or distributor to contact you in the event of a product recall, would you give them your postal address and/or email address?” I wonder what the response would be. My belief is that many would have the common sense to say – yes, that’s reasonable.

Personal details in this context should only be contact information. Are you suggesting that other information was compulsory for you to register online, or simply that it was required if you wanted an extra warranty (separate from recall)? I’d ignore the fields you don’t want to complete, or just send information in by mail. If this is a problem then legislation would easily address it. But one maybe bad example should not condemn everyone else.

The DVLA keep a database of vehicles for reasons other than recalls; recall information conveniently makes use of a system that already exists. Are your personal details secure? Well, I don’t think allowing the DVLA to pass on your details to a private company that wants to rip off motorists with excessive parking penalties is any recommendation, is it?

I am against creating bureaucracy at the taxpayers’ that is not necessary; it wastes resources that can be better used. Recalls are a manufacturer’s direct responsibility and they should fund and deal with them properly.

Malcolm – Other questions on the product registration page included email, landline and mobile numbers, whether my home was owned, mortgaged, council property, etc.; date of birth; whether I was married, single, co-habiting, divorced, widowed, etc. There was no indication of what information was essential. I hope you agree that it is disgraceful to ask this sort of question just to register a product. It is the worst example I have seen but I think you will find that other companies ask for more than name and address.

It is important that product owners are alerted promptly to recalls and I support the recommendations in the independent review.

You may not want bureaucracy but I’m not keen on people losing their homes or lives because they have not been made aware of a recall.

wavechange, just don’t answer these questions – it’s your choice. email address should be sufficient and if this review does anything useful it would be to mandate the minimum information that is necessary to register a product.

I’m not at all clear what the review proposes to alert consumers individually to product recalls.

as far as security of information is concerned I assume that as you do not wish to give your basic contact details to a manufacturers, you would be quite happy to give them to a commercial dsata collection company contracted by HMG that might be British, or might be American. It sends a shudder down my spine, I’m afraid.

A well organised recall system made obligatory on manufacturers and their distributors, informing the purchaser directly, will do what is necessary. Or one organised through a trade association maybe for the product type. I’d suggest it might be best covered under European legislation since most products will be sold throughout the EU. But i’m still not clear what the current review actually proposes as a working solution, other than statements such as “creation of an official national product safety agency or ‘centre of excellence’ to show leadership and coordinate the system, promoting, protecting, informing and empowering business and consumers”. I have so far not found any working proposal for registering individuals products so they can be informed directly of a recall. I may have missed it in the waffle; hope I have because that is the core of any sensible solution but, as I have said before, can easily be done by the manufacturer or distributor.

As I have commented below, the vast majority of the problems are not from household names, but rogue companies (hoverboards as a recent example). This is where many of your household fires will come from. Tackle this major problem correctly.

Malcolm – I did not provide the information requested. I phoned up the company and politely gave them a piece of my mind. However, I have little doubt that others will complete the form without question, maybe even providing the details of their annual income.

I agree that minimum information should be given but I don’t want that to get back to the manufacturers. If recalls are handled by a government agency, we don’t need to give the manufacturers any information. I would rather they spent their time testing products properly with a view to cutting the number of recalls.

The review done for BIS says in one part
“It is not in the main the household name companies which are the problem with unsafe products. Good business is undercut by poorer quality products sourced, assembled, shipped from who knows where, with little chance of being discovered and detained by depleted market surveillance authorities – in this instance Trading Standards Officers.
Suppliers using shielding agencies and fulfilment houses (storing and shipping a wide range of goods to us on behalf of suppliers) are becoming harder to trace and virtually impossible to catch, which is now having a serious effect on the UK economy and good business.”

So surely we should devote resources to dealing with this problem. These suppliers are not likely to be helpful with product recall cooperation with anyone, are they? So we need to stop them getting into circulation. Trading Standards need to be resourced to do this. Some huge database, if it ever came into existence, won’t deal with these miscreants who cause the vast majority of problems. Their fake or unsafe products need seizing, and those involved need prosecuting and penalising, to make this trade not worthwhile.

“It is not in the main the household name companies which are the problem with unsafe products.” We are in a Convo about the recall of millions of tumble dryers branded Hotpoint, Indesit and Creda. There was a big recall on Bosch dishwashers some years back. BIS should have been rather more guarded in their statement.

Like you, I am extremely concerned about the amount of counterfeit and substandard electrical goods on sale but until Trading Standards are properly funded, I don’t see what we can do other than being careful about what we buy. Which? has an important role in informing the relevant organisations of its findings and hopefully we might see a campaign.

Yes Wave,,,,,,,,,,It is the biggest of names that are often the worst offenders like these white goods and of course VW
Yes Trading Standards are underfunded but has our Gov Ministers got shares in TS or BB??? BB of course
The problems or the vast majority of the problems I have came across are not from cheap Chinese/Asian produced goods but are from recognised brand names…………..
This is why I come out with what seems nonsense to many that Standards are no use and outdated…………………Not because they are not well meaning but because circumstances have and legislation or the lack of have overtaken them………..
It is completely pointless having endless calls for probes or research or for asking for Standards on something like these dryers……………..No one is going to do anything anyhow……….No matter what…………..Gov is going to work with business because that is what they do………..Some are even of the opinion that business works with the inspectorates to benefit the end users……….
Business is very good at pulling those people along so long as they get the piece of paper at the end of the day……………..
We are rapidly reaching a point where all these quality CE, BSI, etc will be ignored by everyone not because TUV or BRE etc are not attempting to do their job but because so many will be of the opinion that they have seen it all before and it’s all lies…..which if the truth be told may not be far from reality
The general public do not know anything about self certification or what goods can or cannot be self certified nor should they need to know………..
Our Gov should never have allowed this situation to come about
Self certification……..Inmates running the jails??? But wait,,,we may have several of those already it seems………….
The EU make the rules but the EU does not seem to include governance when it makes the rules………………
These dryers go back many years…………….Many proper fire service records exist of dryers stating fires it seems…………..If this is nothing new what’s all the noise about???
VW go back many years and records exist of VW cheating over decades and even when they are caught red handed do they step up to the mark……………….Well we or rather Wave and the other customers are still waiting…………..
There is no point in having a recall or a repair that is going to take years……………Go bust and be done with it…………..We’ll find the few quid somewhere as usual and get ourselves some foreign brand that will in all probability be no worse…..
I still see quite a few UK Built Rovers driving around despite their demise and some owners are quite happy to date…………So were Rover or VW best????????? Big question with many answers it seems
BB is just way too big

“It is the biggest of names that are often the worst offenders “. That is contrary to what Lynn faulds Wood’s review says.

According to reported fire records in 3 years there have been 500 fires a year attributed to tumble driers. There will no doubt be more unreported. What is not recorded is how many were due to inherently faulty appliance and how many down to misuse or abuse. There are 13,500,000 driers in our homes. So 0.004% affected – 1 in 27000.

Standards are prepared by a range of interested parties to raise levels of safety and provide means by which products can be consistently assessed for safety marking, and sale within the EU. They are a very valuable part of the process.

I dont like being misquoted………………..
“It is the biggest of names that are often the worst offenders “
Surely these tumble dryer manufacturers fall into “the biggest of names”
The other word “often” does not mean majority it simple means often which is fact…..They often do appear…………Can you find me a Chinese or cheap unknown dryer that has a fire risk of 1 in 27000???

Why the quote on numbers of fires………..I did not mention numbers in my above post…….That is old news………..
I have already quoted using similar numbers of dryers in a much earlier post to compare the amount of car fires per year as a comparison but they dont seem to matter as you nor anyone passed comment on this and car fires unlike dryer fires surely cannot have the same number of bad users as such yet car fires kill many more people……………….
There are many recorded deaths as a result of car fires every year and whether dryer fires are 1 in 27000 is not the question as any one of those dryer fires could have killed…………..Dont belittle the numbers to change the facts………….Dryers are going on fire and along with that comes risk…………

If one suggests that some or many of these dryer fires might be down to the fault or misuse of the machine by the end user everyone is jumping up and down writing that everything must be so well put together is is next to impossible for the machine to allow the user to make a mistake

We already know your views on standards but I am allowed to differ am I not and let me tell you I will differ on that one
I will not be told that this Standards system is a full proof method under which to make things…………….NASA cannot do full proof and neither can you or I
Yes it is a well meaning system…………..I have written that have I not…..

DeeKay, as is suggested, the beginning of a comment is copied so the response can be linked to it. As you raise it, often means “frequently, many times”, and “worst” means “of the poorest quality or the lowest standard”. So maybe the wording did not convey the meaning you intended. I am sorry if I misunderstood you but i was not being critical of your opinions, just drawing attention to other information.

Standards are not fool proof, but they are a good basis to work from. They are about safety in general, not quality in the sense of “goodness”. They should set a minimum acceptable standard. Quality does come into standards in that companies who use quality symbols, such as the Kitemark (BSI) or ENEC (Europe, electrical goods) must have products independently tested and have approved quality systems in their company that are regularly audited. This all works on the consumer’s behalf, as well as the status of the company.

Regarding fires I think it is necessary to use statistics to place information in perspective. I did not suggest the results were good or bad (I don’t think so anyway).

The statement was from Lynn Faulds Wood’s review which, presumably, is based on in depth research. It is not my statement.

I didn’t expect you would have given away more personal details than were necessary. If others choose to part with more of their information I don’t see how they can be stopped. But I did suggest that we could mandate that to register a product should only need appropriate contact information to be given. A form to register a purchase need only have this and no more. that would solve the problem, it seems to me.

Here is a recall that has resulted in owners being contacted. Whether it was timely, whether the subsequent advice given was adequate, are separate matters. The key is for owners of potentially faulty appliances to be notified personally as soon as a fault is known. Do i have faith that a government-organised scheme might do this? No. Do I have faith that government mandating the way companies and distributors do it at risk of prosecution – yes. that is their job. The means (product registration) are already there. Ensure they are used and that companies meet their obligations. Then no time is lost, no extra bureaucracy is created. Just get on with it.

Malcolm – I mentioned the earlier recall of Bosch dishwashers. Following the recall it was reported that only one in four owners were contacted: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/retailandconsumer/9933927/Bosch-half-a-million-dishwashers-that-catch-fire-still-being-used.html

What you are suggesting demonstrably does not work. Let’s try leaving the recalls to a government agency, as suggested in the review.

wavechange, firstly, had all owners registered their appliance with Bosch?

I have said earlier that manufacturers or distributors should be given a legal obligation to contact all registered owners, and be penalised if they don’t. That would deal with this example if,indeed, all owners had registered.

Maybe registration should be compulsory when the appliance is purchased by requiring the purchaser to gave contact details at the time of purchase.

BIS are not in favour of a new public body to deal with this but have asked “stakeholders” to discuss. I have a post in the pipeline regarding this. (Ah, it has now appeared below!)

“What you are suggesting demonstrably does not work”. Please look carefully at what I have actually suggested, rather than simply condemning what I believe are constructive proposals. I have not suggested the present system works properly, but proposed how a system could be made to work that involves the manufacturer, distributor or trade association with a legal obligation to issue recall information direct to purchasers. My personal view, others will have different proposals. As long as a workable, effective and quick solution is found then progress will have been made.

I want to see action a.s.a.p, not stakeholder and government procrastination that might take a long time to resolve. Nor do I want to see a taxpayer-funded bureaucracy contracted out to a commercial organisation of unknown credentials when it is not necessary (in my view). Nor do I want to have to examine a website regularly just in case one of my many appliances is listed.

Bosch, the German manufacturers, said concerns had been raised about 632,000 models sold in Britain between 1999 and early 2005.
Despite a product alert issued in July last year, only a few owners have been traced or warned of the risks, the company admitted.
Executives told ITV News that almost 479,000 dishwashers remain “unaccounted for” despite significant efforts to track down the appliances.
The firm said it had placed scores of advertisements in the media, sent more than 850,000 letters to consumers and phoned up to 140,000 customers.

Bosch seems to have made a great effort to deal with this. I’d suggest that compulsory registration is part of the answer. But if owners do not notify any change of address then it is difficult to know what else to do, isn’t it?

Malcolm – I’m not offering any criticism of Bosch. I think their actions over the recall was exemplary. With the exception of the dishwasher fault, I cannot remember any other recalls, though a quick check on Electrical Safety First shows that a range of sanders has been recalled because there is a risk of electric shock.

I am very strongly opposed to consumers being expected to provide contact details to any commercial organisation. Look at the way that our contact details are already misused.

It will be a “commercial organisation” if we have a central body, and more than likley one that will delight in having such a huge amount of data in its hands.

“Look at the way that our contact details are already misused.”. I don’t suffer from this alleged problem and I give details away in a sensible way. I can deleted unwanted emails and throw away unwanted mail (I don’t get much), and I don’t suffer from unwanted phone calls. I do want to know if something I have bought might be faulty as soon as possible. If that is at the expense of receiving an extended warranty invitation letter well, I can live with that.

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“The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) has responded to these recommendations, arguing that the creation of a new public body would not be an effective use of taxpayers’ money.

Instead, it says that the ‘centre of excellence’ should be virtual – though this website would not be led by the government. The government intends to set up a steering group of key stakeholders – including manufacturers, trade associations and consumers groups – to look into what the ‘centre of excellence’ might look like.”

Read more: http://www.which.co.uk/news/2016/02/action-needed-on-unsafe-products-says-review-433855/ – Which?

What I hope is that a system that alerts individual consumers directly if there might be a safety problem with an appliance they own is established quickly. I hope Which? will press for this and not subscribe to some protracted consultation process that does not expedite a pragmatic and effective solution. I believe one is obvious.

I also hope Which? will push hard for better (much, much better) market surveillance by better (much, much better) Trading Standards Organisations for example. That would get to the root cause of many consumer problems.

This problem is right up Which?’s street. Has it got the resources and the will to deal with it, even if it is at the expense of more peripheral activities?

I don’t have a great deal of faith in BIS, which is far too much aligned with the wishes of industry for my liking. BIS was involved with the new Consumer Rights Act, which replaced the Sale of Goods Act last October. I welcome the overdue coverage of ‘digital rights’ and clarification of how long the consumer has to return new purchases, but it does nothing whatsoever to help the consumer over goods that fail prematurely outside the guarantee period. If Which? had been able to do more than submit their views we could have had legislation that fairly protected both consumers and the companies involved.

Now why would companies want to keep the process of registering the contact details of purchasers in-house. It’s obvious that this gives the opportunity for marketing. Back in the pre-computer days, it made sense to complete a card to register your new washing machine or tumble dryer, but we are now in the 21st century and it is high time to have centralised registration of products in a way that keeps our contact details out of the hands of the companies.

Why was it acceptable then to fill in a card and send to a company, but not now? I have registered appliances direct with manufacturers with no after-effects, except a letter about extended warranties. We should question the assertion that we will be innundated with “marketing”.

Registration that “keeps our contact details out of the hands of companies”. It will almost certainly be a “company” that holds all our data if a central registration is set up. Probably – well almost certainly – one with “form”. Why is that better?

I was happy to fill in a card and send it to the manufacturer at one time, but that was before the days before email addresses were used for marketing or passed on to other companies, and before marketing phone calls started in earnest.

It is not impossible that contact details registered with a government agency could be misused, but there is not the same incentive.

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duncan, an interesting site. Well found. No doubt those interested will look at it, but here is an extract from one part:

“Lint Build-Up, Flexible Exhaust Ducts, & Dryer Thermostats

The predominant cause of dryer fires is lint build-up in the dryer or the exhaust duct. Lint build-up restricts air flow, which results in the clothes taking longer to dry. Lint build-up often occurs because the flexible exhaust duct gets pinched or crushed. Flexible dryer ducts are known to collapse. In addition to prohibiting the use of plastic and vinyl flexible ducts that support combustion, dryer manufactures, do not allow using metal foil ducts. Except for the fact that they will not burn, metal foil ducts have the same problems as plastic and vinyl ducts; air flow can be restricted, and they can collapse. ……..Although a foil metal duct is a flexible metal duct, it is not “the” flexible metal duct that manufacturers refer to in their installation instructions. This is a heavy metal flexible duct that cannot collapse. Again, dryer manufacturers do not allow the use of foil metal ducts. …….

Most dryers have at least an operational thermostat, a high limit thermostat, and a thermal fuse. The operational thermostat measures the temperature of the air flowing through the dryer. That is, the air that is drying the clothes. Depending on its location, the operational thermostat is usually between 120-160°F. The high limit thermostat and thermal fuse are usually located on the heater box. The value of the high limit thermostat depends on the design of the heater box, but 250°F is a typical value. The value of the thermal fuse is usually 100°F higher than the thermal fuse, but again its value depends on its location. The thermal fuse is a one shot device; when it melts, it has to be replaced.

When the dryer vent is pinched or clogged with lint, air does not circulate through the dryer. Hence, the operational thermostat is not measuring the temperature of the air flowing across it because there is no air flowing across it or the amount of air has been severely limited. Air circulation is also what cools the heater coils in the heater box. Without air flowing, the heat in the heater box will continue to rise until it activates (opens) the high limit thermostat. Now the dryer is cycling according to the temperature of the heater box; the operational thermostat is not working because there is no air flowing across it. Usually high limit thermostats are not designed for the millions of openings and closings that operational thermostat sees; it is a safety device. If the high limit thermostat sticks or the contacts become welded together, the temperature continues to increase until the thermal fuse melts. At this point, the dryer stops heating. The thermal fuse is a last resort device. No one wants to go in the interior of their dryer and replace a thermal fuse because they forgot to clean the lint filter”.

I’d be interested to know how the protection of UK driers compares with US / Canadian. So relevant information from the European standard might tell us. Or Ken, if he is watching.

Thanks Duncan. I will have a look at the site. I know that some websites can be hidden but two common browsers turned up this site on the first page when I did a Google search for ‘electrical clothes dryer fires’. They don’t seem to call them tumble dryers over there.

As Malcolm says, it will be interesting to compare UK and US machines – and standards if we ever get to see them.

The truth seems to not be an agreeable subject…………..I sympathise with you

I enjoyed your link,,,,,,,,,,,I really enjoyed your link

I’m not for copying and quoting but if I may I’d like to say my piece

The author is by his writing and admittance some form of insurance inspector/valuer or whatever they’re called here and makes reference to being an engineer……

To see so much lint in machines is beyond my wildest dreams/expectations/or anything I had ever imagined

I have or our family has several dryers and never once have I seen anything like any of these photo’s for lint buildup…………….ever,,,,,,,never,,,,,,,period,,,,,,,,,,end of

To see also that he himself reports on himself and writes that they’re own dryer had not be cleaned out in 17 years shows me that just because these people think they know everything does not mean diddly……….
Surely I can be allowed to get off with saying that this time,,,,,,,,,,they dont know diddly

He also writes that a metal clothes hanger was left in a machine by someone highly educated in electronics is the pot callin the kettle black if I ever saw the like

Yes leaving a hanger in a dryer was not a good idea but neither is having a dryer 17 years and not once looking at the vent…………….

Yes lint may start some of the fires and after seeing this I can see why……………….

I also know Wave calls for machines to be equipped with interlocks etc but non of that will ever make up for a absolute lack of maintenance and for that matter wisdom……………
I really cannot take on board that the author writes a complaint about someone with a PHD and in the same pages posts pictures of his own dryer stuffed to the gills………….
As to bypassing the the blown stat??????? I’m beyond words……………

The reference to solid type vent pipe is never going to work here…………….If this be the future we can all throw our dryers in the skip……………There is no room to get solid pipe fitted in our tiny UK homes

An here’s me this evening thinking that I know nothing,,,,,,,,,That I cannot write English that anyone can understand and that I have to take a back seat to others who are educated and are the experts………

Well this expert in this Electrical Forensics has showed me that I have forgotten more than the likes of this dude may ever learn……I would not leave a machine unlooked at for 17 years not if you paid me to do so
And like Duncan and this not being America I dont want to read a load of wishy washy sit on the fence namby pamby about why I cannot call a flower a flower……………..

Tumble dryers are dangerous…………..Like a car can be dangerous those are both facts…………..
Perhaps we need a tumble dryer licence to drive them because I dont see an end to the madness of the current drivers if I can refer to them as such ………….17 years!!!!!!!! by an expert who has seen repeated fires in dryers…………………I am bewildered………………

@user-66219 – I have finally had a proper look at the Electrical Forensics site you mentioned. This can be Exhibit A in my evidence that we need to design domestic appliances to improve safety, even where they are misused by owners. I am referring to failure to contain lint filters and we are never going to be able to avoid danger if safety devices are bypassed or substandard repairs are carried out. One thing that surprised me is the way in which many of the manufacturers are now part of the same group.

The rest of the website makes interesting reading, though I’m not impressed by the admission that the author was daft enough not to maintain his own dryer.

I hope we are not totally reinventing the wheel in this review by Lynn Faulds Wood? As the review says, there exist websites (that have been mentioned here before) to check electrical appliance recalls (Electrical Safety First), but this does require consumers to actively look for their particular appliances regularly. This also links to registermyappliance operated through AMDEA, and supported by, among others, BIS and Dept for Communities and Local Govt, RoSPA, CAB, where you can register your appliances with the manufacturer. I tried one with a link directly to a manufacturer and I found no need to put anything other than basic contact details in.

So the basics seem to exist; what is missing is compulsion, or at least persuasion, to register your product. But can we not modify and build on this sort of approach without having to start from scratch?

Compulsion is tricky but I believe it should be mandatory for landlords, at least, to register all appliances in the properties they let and make them responsible for dealing with recalls. Their property insurance may be invalid otherwise, but my concern is for the protection of tenants.

Good point regarding landlords and tenants.

As for compulsion to register. AFAIK taking a horse to water and making it drink has always been a problem and I really do not wish to be seen flogging a dead horse. Provide an easy to use system, and as you know I think people should have a single body to which all their details are recorded to make it as easy as can conceivably be people who change addresses or who get new kit.

if people choose not to use any system then more fool them . Rather like wasting sympathy on those who choose to go abroad without adequate medical cover. You can only go so far.

Please note that in the US they have now decided no hoverboard is safe. Amazing to see how retroactive thoughtfulness works versus testing new products before unleashing them on the public. Who had ever heard of lithium battery fires ………………. astonishing to consider how they had never been out of the news since becoming common in lap-tops

Maybe the answer is to let both landlords and tenants register the tumble dryers and other goods with the agency responsible for recording their names and addresses. Manufacturers already provide information about recalls, and this is publicly available via RAPEX. It does not matter if both the landlord and tenant is notified of a recall and can only help to ensure action is taken.

RAPEX provides an extensive catalogue of manufacturers’ recalls in Europe, so it’s just a case of relating this database to another with product owners/users. http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/consumers_safety/safety_products/rapex/alerts/main/?event=main.listNotifications

An effective recall system for cars has been in place for years. Discussing this with a neighbour, she remembers having a recall on a Vauxhall Chevette, which gives an idea of how long automated recalls for cars have been in place.

Seems to me there are perhaps 3 steps that need tackling to recall unsafe products, such as domestic appliances.

Step 1 – identify the need for a recall. This may be the producer themselves identifying a fault, or a suspected fault discovered by a consumer, trading standards, fire service or another third party.

Step 2 – report suspected faults to a central body. Maybe this is the so called “centre of excellence” – but why not be specific as to what it does? This body analyses the reports and decides whether a significant enough number of products exhibit the fault to warrant triggering action. I don’t see why a revamped Trading Standards could not do this.

Include, I suggest, European equivalent organisations in this on the basis that if we in the UK have faulty appliances it is likely to repeat throughout the EU – more evidence to support action.

Step 3 – report and discuss with the producer / distributor and agree mandatory action to be taken. Producer / distributor directly inform all registered owners. Monitor progress and penalise where necessary.

I don’t know why some feel that if they give their contact detail to a manufacturer – so that in the event of a recall they can be immediately contacted directly – they will be assailed with marketing “stuff”. I never have been and I’d rather know my appliance needs fixing quickly to protect my safety than worry about something I can deal with easily – delete an email or chuck away unwanted post. So, buy an appliance and be required to give a contact detail – email or postal address for example. If you opt out then you will have only yourself to blame if you cannot be contacted.

Personal contact details are essential for you to know about a recall. Would I want to give them to some government contractor operating a scheme – why is that any better? Just think of the vast amount of data they would hold. Secure? Not from past experiences.

Anyway it’s just a suggestion.

Identifying the need for a recall is another issue but a very important one. Obviously it is essential that efforts are coordinated so that genuine safety issues are discovered as soon as possible.

If Trading Standards was working effectively, I would very much support them looking after the recall process and managing registration of consumers’ purchases. At present, TS is hopelessly underfunded and I fear that a new body is the best way to go to develop an effective system to make use of existing recall information and inform the public. I have been impressed by the Food Standards Agency and the transparency in this organisation.

In the days before email was in common use, a friend used slight variants on his address to help track who was misusing his address. All the junk mail was being sent to the address he used when communicating with companies. Others have used different email addresses. With my ISP email account, I can put whatever I want before the @ and it all comes to the same mailbox. For example I could have wavechange1@, wave change2@, wavechange3@ etc, etc, and be able to identify who I have given my contact details to. I have not done this but others certainly have.

If any government agency is passing on contact details then that must be stopped, unless the law demands that this is done, for example to fight crime.

Another problem is that companies require consumers to register products to qualify for ‘free’ extended guarantees. That is totally wrong. Now that longer guarantees are becoming commonplace, I am very unhappy about companies effectively bribing us to supply our details for marketing purposes.

The positive suggestions and criticisms made throughout this convo are, like tumble dryers emit, just so much hot air unless some organisation that will be involved takes them into account.

The danger is making the new process too wide ranging. The review wants to cover everything “The Review covers everyday consumer products – from toys to make up, from domestic appliances to vehicles and the recommendations should be seen in that context:” I think that would take too long and be too complex to do everything at one (and are not cars covered effectively anyway?). I’d rather see key areas attacked first – domestic appliances being top of my list. Get a recall model that works and then build on it.

The review also looks at two quite different problems that require quite different approaches
– decent manufacturers who have a product fault,
and
– “rogue manufacturers / importers who don’t care about product safety and are allowed to infiltrate the market.
The first problem can be dealt with by a structured recall system. The second requires a policing approach to prevent entry and prosecute traders who attempt to put dangerous good into the market.

Why create a totally new bureaucracy to handle this when we already have a basic organisation in Trading standards. It needs money, recruitment, training and the creation of a national body coordinating local bodies. We will have to do all these things and more if we try to create a new organisation; why waste time and resources when it is not necessary?.

Trading Standards is a failing organisation due to limited resources. Rather than adding to its responsibilities, I favour a separate organisation that will manage product registration and informing consumers of recalls as quickly as possible. Of course, this should provide Trading Standards with information so that poor quality dangerous products are removed from sale and the appropriate people prosecuted.

It is not failing, it just cannot do the work it used to carry out because of loss of staff due to cuts. The organisation and expertise still exists, so rebuild it by funding it properly. We need effective trading standards. Why on earth set up something else to do the same job? What kind of a message would that send to Trading Standards? It needs to have a national as well as a local presence.

We can certainly agree on how vital Trading Standards is but I stand by my comment that it is failing. I do wish that Which? would push government to restore Trading Standards to what it used to be. One of the biggest problems has been the influx of substandard, dangerous and counterfeit goods from abroad.

Yes Wave,,,,,I agree,,,,,Trading Standards are failing……..It doesnt matter whether its because they are underfunded or not they are not able to begin to follow up a fraction of complaints……..Try calling them about something local……….You’ll get a council official who couldn’t wire a 13a plug out to ,,,,,,,,as we say here “to save face” and that’ll be the end of it………..
The sheer amount of new products repeated design changes etc are a minefield……………
Currys have a range that Euronics dont and vis versa.
We have a local retailer here who sells the same recognised brands but its not that simple……….I can only find his models as being available in Italy………….
This is to get around people pricing one shop against the other as the sales person can often turn around and say “your price is not on the same model Sir”
For Trading Standards to work they need a lot of people who know a lot about everything and at present this is not the case………….Its no bad reflection on TS,,,,,,,,,,I liked TS…………It’s the repeated poor Gov’s spending money on silly things…………..
If we dont have a fully functioning Trading Standards how can we police anything…any product……..TS were the guys to go to,,,,,,,,,,,,,Once

We are on on our own if something goes wrong…………..
The Fire Service has recorded many fires caused by dryers………..It doesnt matter whether there is high percentage partly or wholly caused by neglect of the owners…………The dryers started the fires………
As to owner neglect,,,,,if there is no real practical manner to stop lint buildup as suggested by the expert who let his own dryer block and we are to keep using dryers there should have been a proper campaign to spotlight the risks…………
I can personally vouch for maintaining dryers………….I will swear and oath that I have never seen lint on a scale as is shown in some photo’s and any one of you can come see today,,,,now……….
It seems that even the Fire Service are not expert enough to say what starts a fire and be listened to………..
Exactly the same can be said of car fires where many died as a result………….The only recent news about that was the Zafira debacle which is only the tip of the iceberg………….

I dont have the answers but I’ll make as much noise as I can……………..

DK – What you say about the large number of similar products is very true. Some of the recalls by large manufacturers illustrate the extent to which similar products are rebadged. One of the reasons for this is that it allows companies to offer price matching when you cannot buy the same model elsewhere. 🙁

Some people are practical and recognise the need to maintain their possessions. There are always going to be people who ignore instructions but I believe we should design household products to be safe even if they do. I don’t believe that it would be costly to develop a tumble dryer that was inherently safe. Common sense suggests that manufacturers should work together and develop effective solutions. My view is that safety devices should be non-patentable, so that they can be shared for the common good.

Like seat belts and air bags………..Ride on Wave……………
But where would BB be without their profiteering off the the backs of our safety……………
Dont understand me completely wrong when I reference to end user inspired problems…………
If a thing can be made fool proof then good………….Just like these automatic dont run into the car in front brakes that I think are brill and whats wrong with a car automatically keeping the speed limit……………
I know locally of a guy got a new Golf and the brakes broke his tooth……..
He headed off in the car park and while reaching for the belt a woman pushed a trolley out and the car stopped so suddenly even at that speed it threw him forward against the steering wheel………………Still a broken tooth is better than a broken woman…………….
We will still however have a load of dryers for years to come that are wide open to abuse
I dont think the problem was as bad in the past………As time has went on people have came to expect rather a lot from machines and expect them to look after themselves………..
Machines are like computers they are often only as good as their operators……
No one has passed comment on my scathing post about the insurance mans pictures but this ,,,whether wise or not is where we find ourselves……..
Maybe I was a little flat out but I was surprised
I was kinda hoping I would not be on my own in thinking that a supposed expert who himself inspected burned dryers would see the reasons and make sure his own did not become one and the same………………

I also have a parallel story to his hanger in the dryer which I think I may have told before
My wife washed two little curtain/blinds with the little springy cord thing with hooks on the ends once………
One went through the holes in the washer and got into the bearings destroying them……………I had to dismantle the washer to get the stretched spring thing removed and spring material is pretty hard stuff so the damage was extensive
I could be heard cursing my head off and handing out dire warnings never to do this again…………..
I went to town to get bearings and seals and came home to the dryer making screeching noises…………
Yes she put the remaining other thing with hooks in the dryer………………
The White Knight dryer is nowhere near as easy to get appart as the washer we have and I was livid……………….
I got told I had said “dont put metal or wire things in the washer” and I had not made mention of the dryer??????????????
I think that tells the story does it not………..

@patrick, the safety of tumble driers rumbles on. Have Which? yet looked at the BSEN safety standard to see what safety testing and protection against fire is, or is not, specified?

Can you also tell us yet whether Which? has access to all relevant product standards – BS, EN, ISO etc? Is it a BSI subscribing member with online access for example?

The whole area of consumerism and consumer protection is suffering from a serious fog and also misunderstandings as to the capabilities of some bodies. Not least being TSO’s and Which?

TSO’s were never the all seeing and powerful body that some posts seem to suggest. I am totally in favour of them and acknowledge the cuts. I have had dealings with various TSO’s over the last few decades and they are mere mortals with a difficult task and inadequate framework.

Giving them more money and more staf will not solve current problems looking solely at the subject we are discussing.

Which?, of whom I have been an ordinary member for 30 years has become commercial to the point that one no longer feels that even they could be an honest broker for data. This is a great shame however the revelation of the proposed reminder site and third party messages, and the Trusted Trader logo given to Stannah Stairlifts, are showing that monetising the name is taking us away from the honest broker product tester and serious information provider.

There seems to be a perception that Which? has people capable of understanding the various regulations requested by malcom r above. It may be that this is because some people believe Which? has engineers and scientists who test things. This ain’t so.

Which? has surplus cash of around £10m a year and I think it fails badly with its subscribers. There sould be a CAWikipedia where we can easily see relevant information that is actually useful. For instance this thread could provide the basis of an article on dryers and the dangers of lint. It can have real statistics real photos and details of duffish machines. How useful and easy to access.

Can you do it now? Course not. this is getting to be a talking shop organisation generating funds from commerical links, and awarding Best Buys even when reviews by customers saying the opposite.

Essentially it has lost its way and when I see how the continental and Australian consumer bodies do so much more with less money I am actually now ashamed of the organisation. It has been neutered.

Diesel,,,,,,,,What in this UK of ours has not been neutered by what I see as wishy washy wait and see what industry does and so forth………….Take the blighters by the short and whatsits and squeeze………….Thats how you get things done…………Asking nicely only gets bluffery in return

diesel, I am just as frustrated with Which? as you are. We need an active, proactive, independent non-commercial organisation that represents consumer interests. I am prodding Which? to see just where their expertise is. An organisation that professes to examine, test and rate consumer products should possess the expertise and knowledge to understand the fields in which they work, otherwise their views have limited value. I hope they do, but am trying to see just what they have. A knowledge of, and access to, product safety standards is just one area that is needed, in my view. Otherwise I do not see how they can properly assess products, nor contribute to improvements. It is essential to be competent for us to have trust in what an organisation tells us.

Got me on a not-so-good day today. Rant over (for now).

Just to show that it goes a bit further than testing this was sent by in December . I posted it on the Community Forum in December which has now been unavailable for the last few days …:

Open Letter to Council December 2015

Dear Trustees,

We the undersigned being shareholders of the Company have serious concerns about the governance of the Charity.

There are several matters that we wish to raise and request a response

1. Ordinary Membership
a] A statement on what Council is doing in terms of the Ordinary Member numbers which are declining rapidly and have been for the last decade.
b] Was/Is there a policy decision by Council on Ordinary membership levels.

2. The Consumers’ Association adopt the good practices of the National Trust :
a] Videocasting the AGM. Providing on-line input to the meeting. Providing a transcript. Provide a downloadable podcast. [Cost around £25,000.]
b] Adopt the National Trust articles to bring forward Resolutions.
c] Full disclosure of Trustees links and interests.

3. Only members and/or subscribers who receive the Accounts and AGM Minutes be eligible to vote for Trustees.

4. Any Resolutions put forward by Council should be placed on a new Consumers’ Association website where a specific area is open for members to discuss the matter prior to voting. This site information to be included with the Resolution documentation.

5. The Accounts are accompanied by the AGM voting form as is normal practice.

We look forward to the response of Council.

Signed by Ordinary Members

Patrick Taylor
Brain Smith
Michael Lee
James R Briggs
Jim Cunningham
Colin Lawson
John Wiles
Stephen Williams
Stephen Lanles
John Butler
R Chapman
Roger Kagan
Jon Patrick
Christopher Jardine
P Darling
Andrew Constable
Rachel Rycroft
Chris Smith
Foynes Atsuko
David Cutler
Bob Jowett
Colin McEachran
Andrea Weller
Michael Howkins
George Westwell
Bill James
Fred Niblett
Maurice Larcombe
Paul Donatantonio
John Wiles

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I infer from what Malcolm is saying that if Which? were to divest itself of its compromising quasi-commercial activities it could once again become more authoritative and respected in the service of consumers. I see no signs at present of the government impinging on Which?’s freedom of action – any restraint is self-imposed in my opinion. Overall it does a good job but there is no doubt it has lost some of its force, but then the landscape around it has changed out of all recognition and it has to deal with the authorities that we have rather than those we should like to have. It is possible that the governance, management and overall administration of Which? in its various guises conforms to an orthodoxy that makes it appear more obliging and complicit in the present political climate to the extent that it has become captive, but personally I wouldn’t extrapolate too much from that [but I recognise that in saying that I am open to the charge that I too am not being sufficiently objective and disinterested]. Rightly or wrongly pragmatism is a necessary lubricant to getting anything done at all.

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Duncan, I’m struggling a little to relate your comment to mine. I think what you are saying is the government ( and possibly BB – big brother or big business?) control what Which? is allowed to say?

If so then I’d like evidence to support this, because I do not believe it is so. If I’ve misunderstood, i’m sure you’ll explain.

Some other countries seem to have more “aggressive” or “consumer facing” (ugh) consumer organisations. I would like one that is much more thorough and searching in its testing and investigations of issues that are of real importance, particularly key products and services, that follows up issues like a dog with a bone and nags for results, and that is quite separate from any commercial interests.

If Which? want a commercial arm it should be totally separate – financially, staff, physically and not market its products under the brand of an independent consumers’ organisation, a charity, that I fund to stand up for consumers. I do not fund it to be a mortgage broker, to write wills, to pursue speculative ventures in India at my expense, to take money from companies in exchange for letting them use Which?’s branding.

I would also like its members to feel they had a more active part to play in its operation and to return the level of its executive salaries and bonuses back into the world that its members inhabit. It is a charity.

I believe, however, that the way Which? operates is of its own doing and not influenced by Govt or BB (whoever they might be). Please, someone, if I am wrong then try to persuade me otherwise with some evidence.

I suggest this is not off-topic as it relates to the way Which? deals with product testing and the way it follows up problems, such as tumble drier safety that may need revision by the standards authorities, in an informed and effective way.

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duncan, Once again, if I have understood your comment, I am saying I want Which? to approach problems like this (tumble drier safety) in a more rigorous way. Identify potential problems that need resolution and take them up with the standards authorities for example.

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The standards authority (BSI in the UK) is not under our government’s control. It is part of an international effort to provide guidance through internationally agreed standards. The EU, for example, requires compliance with these standards for all appropriate goods to be sold. Standards are of great benefit to all the EU states because they (should) prevent unsafe products from entering the supply chain; that is in governments’ economic interests. It is also in businesses’ interests because it sets to exclude rubbish competitors.We would be far, far worse off if the rigorous and extensive standards that we have did not exist.

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Whether we belong to the EU or not is not relevant to the UK’s view of and use of standards. Much of the world, including the EU, requires compliance with standards, and the UK will continue to participate in the world wide standards organisations. They are essential to trade. Business sees standards as an asset. “The British Standard Institution defines a standard as ‘an agreed, repeatable way of doing something’. They are designed to make life simpler and to increase safety, efficiency and effectiveness of goods, services and products that we use.”
Business sees standards as an asset.

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A safety standard is not about basic design or quality of a product, but about the product’s ability to meet consistently safety requirements required by that standard. It can still be a poor quality product in other respects.

In your example, a car must meet certain safety criteria to be offered for sale. If the manufacturer installs components that cause the car to fail to meet those requirements then it is not compliant and would be withdrawn or recalled.

I don’t agree, Malcolm. Some cars are safer than others even if they are compliant with requirements. I see standards as minimum requirements.

Pass a driving test, graduate with a degree or higher degree, or become a qualified engineer and you will have met the required standard but there’s always going to be people that do better.

My guess is that we will find that a heat pump dryer is safer than a simple conventional one, even though both are compliant with requirements.

There is no disagreement, wavechange. A standard that specifies safety requirements and appropriate test procedures must, by its nature, be the minimum to achieve compliance. Nothing stops manufacturers from incorporating more or better safety features in their product. But unless you meet the minimum requirements you will not achieve compliance and appropriate certification.

You can buy a pair of steps; the standard will require they must support a minimum weight but better ones will support more weight.

I hope you can get hold of this and other standards, Malcolm. In the meantime I will try to learn something about how tumble dryers work before pontificating any further. 🙂

Like several here I’d love to know the answers to the dryer statistics but I feel we will be using our well trained noses to find out that the heat pump ones will be safest
Now I suspect that Wave is looking at dryers I’ll be interested to see his opinion as I have came to the conclusion that less heat = less danger in this case plus the heat pump ones are at minimum equal to gas (lpg) dryers for running costs

My daughter has a heat pump one on my advice so I hope it doesnt nite me on the ass and I’ve sat through an entire cycle and at no time could I feel anything like the heat of either a traditional or condensor dryer nor at no time did I smell heat if anyone understands that statement
It smelled safer??
The heat pump one is a lot slower. . Perhaps half the speed and most are given as below 2kwh per load so given that there is a motor driving a drum and a fair sized fridge inside I’d bet there is little energy going to any element.
As best I see the dryer is a dehumidifier for clothes built into a tumbler with a fan on it..
The air should be so dry that the moisture in the clothes should be being very encouraged to migrate tot he dry air caused by the evaporator not unlike using the air con in your car to demist the front screen quickly
One thing I didnt like was that not all heat pump dryers had a drainage kit but only had the “empty water drawer” feature. . A bit silly fitting a sump and pump to pump water up to a drawer when it might run away anyhow
I await your findings Wave

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I’ve given an example in the photo I posted, Duncan. The plastic parts at the top of the tumble dryer have melted, which will allow the metal casing of the tumble dryer to act like a chimney.

I’m no expert but believe that we could improve safety by using more metal and less plastic in domestic appliances.

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Of course. 😉 I would be interested to know if you can find anything else like the Electrical Forensics site.

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Thanks Duncan. It’s in my reading list for tomorrow morning.

@user-66219 – I have had a look at the website you posted a link to: dryerbox.com/reduces_fire_hazard.htm

This website belongs to a US-based company that sells rear boxes designed to prevent vent hoses from tumble dryers becoming kinked or crushed. I have no idea whether US dryers are similar in design to UK machines. The company has identified many reports of fires over the years and from the brief snippets we have been given, lint accumulation is widely seen as a problem. In one article on the website, the failure of users to maintain their machines is identified as the major cause of fires.

Thanks for posting, Duncan.

I would love to see more metal in white goods but the increased use of plastic in/on cars has brought about a lot less rust and such nice manifolds etc..so plastic is not all bad news
I cannot see it happening though

DeeKay, I had a plastic manifold that split. and those diesel cars with the black death – carbonised diesel from a leaky injector – try cleaning that stuff off without damaging the plastic manifold. Give me metal anytime for this.

I am a great fan of plastics, used in appropriate places. Much of what we buy could not be made for the prices we are told we want to pay without the ability to make complex shapes with integral fastenings, for example. But we must learn how to recycle plastics more and not just throw them away.

DK has given a graphic description of blockage of EGR valves and inlet manifolds on diesel cars, Malcolm. 🙁 Plastics certainly have their uses but some designers don’t realise their limitations, allow for ageing or even use the best plastic forthe job. I’m looking at a food processor where one of the lugs on the lid has snapped off and I am concerned that the plastic tab operating the stiff safety interlock will follow. Hopefully I can adjust the interlock before this happens but Kenwood should have allowed for the inferior properties of a transparent plastic. It was the same problem with my Philips microwave oven, where a longish 5 mm plastic peg broke off and had to be drilled, tapped and replaced with a metal equivalent fit for the purpose. If designers are not up to understanding the properties of plastics they should stick to metals, which are more forgiving. Apologies for the rant. 🙂

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Malcolm, ,
I dont know why you quote me on the manifolds blocking
You are quoting me quite often

Plastic or aluminium both block and neither are easily cleaned so much so I refuse to help even a neighbour because I know that the blockage is often neglect and often caused by diy servicing or by blissful ignorance
It does not happen quickly nor without symptom/s

I feel I have to write a lengthy story here because your few words where you use the term “the black death” in conjunction with “carbonised diesel from a leaky injector” and so forth could lead others to believe that this modern diesel inlet blocking is as a result of faulty injectors

The clogging of inlet manifolds is not as a result of a blocked injector as the injector injects directly into the cylinder in a diesel. . not into the inlet manifold
If there is excess fuel, ,burned or unburned it can get into the sump oil in extreme leak cases or more likely the exhaust manifold/exhaust and I have not see a plastic one of those as yet. . .

Clogging of inlet manifolds will be as a result of blow-by resulting in oily fumes getting into the inlet manifold which is normal but worsens over time and mixing with soot from somewhere almost certainly from the EGR.
Excess fuel or oil alone will not block an inlet
A faulty or slightly faulty EGR will and does result in blocked manifolds but this should never be allowed to reach this point as the EGR has been leaking for some time
All seized or leaky EGRs give off black heavy smoke of a greater or lessor degree and the nature of the smoke is a very heavy,, very black cloud that likes to stay near the ground at low speed
One may not see this in ones mirror but this is often the cause of a slight blackening of carbon on the rear of the vehicle. .
The EGR has became the thorn in the flesh of the modern diesel and I have written on them many times
It is a well known and popular, , perhaps even to the extent that the majority of diesels by the time they hit the scrap yard have had their EGRs disabled and mechanically blocked off and sometimes removed entirely because to clean or replace is often found to be a waste of time as as time goes by the diesel engines gets little by little dirtier and and other route is found to be short lived
Termination of an EGR is about the only way to permanently solve the problems

Blocked injectors alone do not block inlet manifolds and never have done
Blocked inlets are almost the sole domain of the faulty EGR
To block a manifold one needs soot/oil both
Diesel will not “carbonise” in an inlet manifold. . It has had to made into carbon first
Unless your exhaust manifold joints had been leaking for an extended period of time and allowing soot back into the inlet which would have been sore on air filters the EGR is about the only route
I have seen generators in poor condition in houses with poor exhausts and no air filters suffer from this but to get this in a car would be difficult.

If you look on fleabay and search for Vectra inlet manifold for one you will see several both used and new and I use these as an example of the regularity of manifolds blocking and that there are those who buy new manifolds rather than clean the old one out
The majority of mechanics buy a manifold rather than spend hours which are money doing a thankless job as many will see it
They will look at it with the thought that they didnt block it they’ll not be cleaning it
So even aluminium manifolds are near impossible or at minimum impractical to clean out and at prices over £100 it can be seen that cleaning must be a labour of love to perform
Note these manifolds are aluminium not plastic yet still get blocked and are so difficult to get the crust out of people are buying new ones

The Vectra is not unique and there are many aluminium manifolds get blocked by the same cause’s as do the various swirl flaps etc which get broken as a result of soot build-up. . You will also see various kits for those for sale and they are sold by the 100s as are the kits to do away with them.
Perhaps the efforts required to remove the crust had more to do with your manifold breaking than any fault of the manifold which should have never been allowed to get to that state in the first place

Prior to later diesels I had never seen a diesel manifold blocked, , ever. .apart of course from those which were breathing their own soot
I have seen exhaust manifolds blocked. . i have seen cylinder heads needing as was once known de-carbonised but never an inlet prior to EGRs
Prior to the use of the EGR diesel manifolds were oily things and little else but add the soot and the problems starts. . Add excess soot and the disaster has begun

Actually to have an inlet blocked with carbon takes quite some time and the symptoms should be picked up on before things got that bad

Here amongst us and I’m using “us” here because although I am not very able bodied today we have a little band of brothers of mechanical enthusiasts/weirdo’s if you wish,, the type you see at the GDSF and you will see us at the GDSF who have seen most things and I’d not want to be the person who has to follow where any one of us have failed let alone the band of brothers who get to know what everyone has been at but to see blocked inlets often the preserve of the diy mechanic who doesnt see what is happening over a few years.
We are all time served and several further Educated and all have forgotten more than many will ever learn. .
Some of us even got to learn about gas turbines when we were young and although I dont have one there are two in the area and both work because we know how
So if you see a man with a black face and hands at the fair standing beside or on top of a big engine dont assume he has a dirty hobby and that all he knows is from the previous bygone era
Those guys will work at and repair their common rail trucks just the same as they did DPA pumps etc..
They know more about your near new diesel than the technicians servicing it and what’s more their software collection put many a dealer software to shame

So although your manifold was blocked and you didnt like the plastic I would not be so scathing of them as they allowed production of some pretty difficult shapes which gave gains in torque and economy something a lot of people want. .

Long manifolds by their nature increase torque whereas short as in race engines where there is near to no inlet with throttle slides almost at the head and sometimes built into the head have little to no torque advantage but instead help at silly rpm’s
The long manifold has to be done in very confined spaces and requires rather a lot of weird shapes to keep it compact which will be a lot easier to make in plastic as aluminium

Renault were one of the first on the scene with these manifolds and the first one I seen was on a new Megane coupe petrol
It was so flimsy that if you gave the engine a good rev and let the butterfly close one could see the flat plenum area just downstream of the butterfly flex. . as in visibly moving up and down as a result of the vacuum
I would not considerer this problem to be a result of the use of plastic but a result of very poor design.. .
Anything that had to flex every time the throttle was closed after a good rev will eventually give in and and they did

Not long after that near everything had plastic inlets so they’ve been around 20 odd years and there is little criticism of them most places
As best I know time has not had an adverse effect on them either so the materials must be pretty well thought out
With the plastic manifold came more or less a blanket use of rubber/O-ring type gaskets that were and are way superior to paper gaskets which from a mechanics perspective all too often leaked and when they leaked on a turbo diesel they howled. . squealed but they made a load of noise and lost a load or power quickly
When they leaked on a petrol the engine would not idle
When you had to effect a repair the aluminium could occasionally be worn away by the gasses rushing through (usually only turbo type) if they had been left to too long and the manifold either had to be replaced or if it were big engine stuff built up with weld and machined flat again

The o-ring system is way superior as is the plastic inlet.

Go see fast bike engines manifolds. . Try suggesting going back to aluminium and see the look you get

That should make it abundantly clear that a leaky diesel injector is pretty unlikely to block an inlet manifold and it should be clear that we have the plastic inlet to thank for just a little of out torque and economy
It was not all a cost saving exercise for all plastic inlets

Can I add also that whilst I would like to see more metal in these dryers it is not because plastic is bad because we have dryers with plastic fascias over 25 years old now but because the plastics may cause fumes should a fire break out
I cannot see any part of our gas dryers where the plastic could contribute to a fire even it were the type of plastic could burn.
But it can smoke

duncan, I have not quoted you on “manifolds blocking”. I have commented on the use of plastics for manifolds. Leakage from an injector seal onto the exterior of the engine, not the inside of the manifold, is widely reported and was a big problem for many Mercedes cars and vans. I have a bad case of it on an Espace. Removing it from a plastic manifold requires a physical attack and would probably pierce or damage the plastic.

“Quoting” is not necessarily critical but a way of linking one comment to a related one. As in this case. 🙂

I think Malcolm you mean DeeKay not Duncan. , time for correction perhaps

I dont need my word for word to be used to see it as being quoted. .
If you choose to go down that split hair route fine but the first letters in the post are DK and you use or reference my previous post and comment about plastic manifolds and you clearly do not like plastic manifolds.

Near to anyone would consider your ramblings about a build-up on a plastic manifold to be in connection with soot as in an EGR as did Wave also and as one with mechanical knowledge I certainly considered your post in reply to my own to refer to a carbon build up
To have a diesel leak from an injector onto the outside of any manifold would be a serious fire risk as is any fuel leak and the vehicle will smell of diesel fuel so needs repaired pronto

When I write I may run on a little but I make most things abundantly clear I hope even for those with little knowledge in that field. . In other words I try to explain everything such that no one will be left in any doubt
I have never heard of this black death despite being in mechanical things all my life
A crust on the outside of an inlet would hardly be a black death if it needed removed as all to enable the engine to go
I’d be much more afraid of the fuel than the crust

So sorry if I got the meaning of your story all wrong but I’ll stand my ground not because I have to have the last word but because I seen what I seen as others did and it needed explaining because it could and was misunderstood

DeeKay and Duncan. Yes, quite right, DK was meant. Sorry – lost sight of the beginning of the comment when responding.

Type “Mercedes black death” into your search engine and you’ll see what it is. the problem is not that it accumulates on the manifold but that it gets around the glow plugs and injectors making then difficult or impossible to remove.

We are so far off topic its not funny but one cannot bring something up and leave it incomplete as such
Nothing to do with having the last word, ,just about finishing on facts that all will understand

I have looked up the term
I have never seen a mess like that, , not in my life
All our vehicles and any vehicles we would ever have worked at would never have been allowed to get into that condition
Who would let this happen to the extent of some of those images

Actually before Google has picked up on the cookies one has typed in “mercedes black dea” before it gets picked up so its not a common term all over
So,, No it’s not called the black death around here, , but it is a well known problem

Simply cleaning the outside is not the solution too that problem
This is no simple diesel leak and is far from diesel leaking from injectors

This is the combustion processes making their way up passed the injectors from the cylinders due to a terrible design flaw that has became all to common and I will admit Merc are the kings on this one
The soot and oil are one and the same as created by the EGR and is the same as that that blocks the inlet manifolds but they are making their way past the injectors to make the mess
Diesel is not laying on the outside of the engine getting carbonised, , It is carbonised if you will in the cylinders
This is what is inside a modern diesel engine, , Nothing strange about the product
This is what the use of EGRs cause
Your engines are running on this stuff day and daily
This why EGRs get blocked off

Anyone I know who works regular at cars watches out for this injector problem because it can and does get a lot worse

The injectors blow right off their seats especially on some Ford diesels including some fitted to LandRovers. .
I still have an interest in a LR business and I can assure you the mechanics will always check all they can in an attempt at preventing the injectors blowing out
The result is that the cylinder pressures make their way into the crankcase and blow all out in front of them. . All seals etc
The only repair is to replace or completely dismantle and rebuild neither of which is cheap

It also if allowed for any length of time in particular engines cause them to gum up the sump oil which in turn can cause terminal failure
Again this takes some time and should not be allowed to happen as at oil change the very thick oil should be noticed and the upper covers if not regularly removed from these suspect engines should immediately be removed and 9 times out of ten you see the problem long before those terrible photos
The lessor problem photos look more like the norm to me where someone had the wit to go look see as such

If one can get the problem in time it is kinda repairable. . There are usually specialised guys in every area who effect a good effort
But waiting to you have to hammer it off with a big screwdriver and hammer is a bit late
The guy will have pullers to remove the injectors, , I have some Fiat injector pullers, , My friends because we dont have “mates” here have the Merc ones but I dont want to see any of our family own one and they have been warned
Other Friend has various LR ones
He (the specialist) can pull the injectors out and will/can re-cut the injector seats and recoil the retaining studs for the injectors
He can do the same for the heater plugs usually

However I would never have this done in situ on a diesel. .
There is too high a chance of metal getting into the area around the top of the piston and the top rings seizing
We have seen rather too many like this a few weeks or months after the repair or as happens a few weeks after a private purchase.
We have here all seen the guy who wanted a Merc all his life and thinks or once thought that they were the greatest thing on earth arrive not long after his new and cherished purchase with oil smoke flying from it
It is so obvious one barely has to rise from the chair to know what is wrong
His engine is not in good shape and when he learns the cost of repair neither is he

I will and have done many petrol spark plug threads in many engines of pushrod/ohc/twind cam and 16V types but the spark plug hole is large enough to see down into the cylinder and with careful placement of the piston up near the top of the cylinder followed by a lot of very patient work with a vacuum and a 10mm pipe end on it one can have the swarf never come near the edge of the piston and with a little camera one can be pretty sure the swarf is all out
We can all I think tell you stories about the little piece of stainless knocked from a heli coil getting embedded in the top ring groove. . Mostly the cylinder wall is trashed with a big score perhaps a mm deep..This is the same in either petrol or diesel once anything gets between the piston and cylinder wall/liner

It’s not a bit wonder I like Fiats nowadays. . not perfect but they’re not telling you any lies is what one friend said to me and its true. .
He has worked mainly at fork-trucks for many years and has a massive interest in ex military vehicles. . The bigger the better for him, , He has an Iveco Daily not because it perfect but because its not telling lies
Many of us know what he’s talking about and many of us know to shut up when the all knowing guy starts up about his latest great car, , the one he couldn’t find the dipstick in if he knew how to open the bonnet first…

I hope this is this injector fuel leak, ,black death thing laid to rest and just about everything I can remember about these problems out in the open for all to read so we’ll not get into assuming anything
And we can get back to tumble dryers which I’m also interested in from a personal perspective and that being the case I have seen the inside of several traditional and gas versions of those also although I’ll admit I have no formal qualifications on those but they are electromechanical and right up my street as such

duncan, I’ve asked Which? about any standards requirements for plastics – inability to support a fire and emitting toxic fumes. Waiting to hear.

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The point is, Duncan, that we see no signs that the government is telling Which? what and what not to do or say.

Hello everyone, thanks again for your feedback. I will of course share it with others here.
I don’t like deleting comments, and I will refrain from doing so here, but please refer to my previous comment posted below.

Which? is a social enterprise – we need to grow our business so we can continue to help more consumers and invest in our campaigning and research. We don’t receive public funding or donations, so we can act completely independently.

I know many of you would like to know more about how Which? works, and how we spend our money. That’s why we’ve published a Mid-Year Review which we’ll be sharing with ordinary members and have published on our website.

We now need to stay on the topic of exploding tumble dryers and product recalls. It is possible for you to talk further about how we test while discussing product recalls, but the wider discussion about governance etc would be much better suited to the member forum: http://member.community.which.co.uk/

Well patrick, whilst I hear what you say, and respect that it is a forum run under Which?’s authority, it is irritating to me when it seems that Which? does not appear to follow through consumer issues in the way I would expect. Questions people ask that would assist the facts of an issue raised remain unanswered by Which? (and have for as long as I have contributed), as in the case of tumble driers. We have, for example, members then forced to try to get their own (difficult) access to standards to attempt to find such answers. This then raises questions about Which?’s policy.

As far as the member’s forum goes, it has virtually no audience, and therefore no active discussion takes place between members and Which? At least this forum provokes a wider discussion.

I’ll prepare to be deleted and say no more on this topic, on this convo. But if you are prepared for Which? to be critically discussed then why not have a convo devoted to it?

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normal service will be resumed as soon as possible! Well, I hope we continue to have a lively and amicable debate duncan. It wouldn’t do to agree all the time.
My (well, mrs r’s) relatively little used tumble drier stopped working properly; only by turning it off at the mains and back on did it eventually complete a cycle. I did clean the drum with vinegar some time ago (the dampness sensor is, I believe, located here) and the next time we used it it performed faultlessly. Maybe a coincidence.

Our clothes horse never fails to get clothes dry and has not yet caught fire.

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I’m on the opposing field. . . We wouldnt be without a dryer. . We found our house damp many years ago and it was drying clothes over radiators etc
Yes you can open the windows and let it out but its kinda swings and roundabouts that so we opted for a dryer although we have a gas dryer which is a fraction of running cost of normal electric
Much dryer house
The heat pump dryers are comparable to the gas ones on LPG and I have a notion the heat pump dryers are nowhere near as dangerous because heat levels are around half of either traditional or condensing type dryers
If I was making the choice of dryer today?? I’d probably go with a heat pump and hope the’d be half as reliable as our White Knight LPG dryers but I’d hope the heat pump were safer
I dont think the gas ones are particularly safe although we have no problems because we keep ours well cleaned vents and all

Living in a damp environment should be avoided on health grounds and there are so many factors including size, permanent ventilation, use of baths and showers, number of occupants, gas cooking and chimneys. Unfortunately, some people run tumble dryers during the summer when they could dry it outside in the sun.

Hi Wave,
Thanks I was waiting on a rebuffal about how to dry clothes but I’m glad to see logic
In our old stone house we have several “through the wall” type MHRV units
I find them a little generous for one room but I need fresh air but dont want uncontrolled ventilation.
I have written about them before as I have about dehumidifiers which really cleaned up our house before I insulated the walls and stopped the breath etc condensing which quickly turned into mildew behind everything.
The dehumidifiers dried the house but the air was still not fresh
Our WC/Shower had when first built a “normal” UK spec 4″ extractor fitted and to be honest they are about as much use a robin flapping.
If showering the water was running everywhere on every wall despite the walls being deliberate 150mm of polystyrene.
This is considered normal because this was in fact normal. . .Normal to me was not satisfactory in my eyes. . I never accept sub standard no odds how normal it may be. . This is probably why I am a little disagreeable on things because I can see i am being ripped off or otheres are being ripped off
I then discovered “ruck” type fans when I was looking for something a little more industrial.
RVK or RUCK fan search will turn up good results
The ruck fan was still 4″ and fitted into the same duct pipe in the roof space.
We can go to the shower now and step out and look at ourselves in the mirror without having to wipe it
The branded RVK versions all have ball bearings and big heavy well balanced rotors and are rated for damp conditions.
No mildew in the grout or in the corners ever.
We have a 1kw heater in the corner away from the shower/bath plus a 160w towel rail and its never cold yet the extraction is excellent.
My daughter has just had me buy another for their house as they have water running everywhere but they know better as they both lived here.

Knowing better is often the bit lacking
It is very easy to dismiss dryers especially on cost but if your of the genes that cause bad chests then near anything is worth it
There is no answer to fresh air and a dry house. .

I have relations who dry their children’s clothes etc on the radiators and they all have damp problems but they blame the house not the clothes

Its everyones own choice and dont let me tell you to but a dryer if your getting along fine continue as is.

I am big into the MHRV though as I am into the idea that the shower needs a good fan not those tiddly little things approved to Building Control standards which barely remove a bad smell and are so limited in their capabilities they require a timer to extend their run time after one leaves the loo.
Note,,I dont use the MHRV in the shower and I wont be in our new cabin either
I’ll still be using a ruck fan

No criticism from me. I’ve not lived in a damp environment but it’s well known that this can contribute to respiratory problems. Fitting upvc double-glazed windows can contribute to dampness unless you have trickle vents or, as I do, keep them slightly open. But plenty of people manage without tumble dryers and I’m one of them.

The ventilation versus heat plus damp is a big debate Wave
We had no problem while we threw heat at it but heat can get pretty expensive according to the market forces
I simply found that insulating near stopped condensate but it wouldnt work with drying clothes unless we chased it with heat
Two of us here had bad chests and there are several things that effect us.
Damp and the mildew is not good but even without the mildew visible or much less visible the addition of heat was lets put it “breath taking” and my daughter and I needed fresher air and cooler at that
We would say that it quickly becomes like breathing through jelly and often sounds like that after a few days also
We had used the dryers for years and went back to drying everything in the dryers unless of course its sunny which in NI doesnt come with much of a certainty at times
Although we have had great results form our gas dryers I’m kinda working on the possibility that the heat pump dryer could be used more and that if the weather was uncertain we could continue as we have excess solar and wind which makes far too much in summer and I have various means to stop it going down the grid as such. .
May as well use it and the heat pump dryer has no big load period which suits also
Renewable energy does not suit big loads going on and off. . The import export meter picks up everything and is immediate unlike the earlier half hour import export meters used
My wife works shifts and cannot be certain when she hangs a washing out that it’ll get back in before a shower so our dryer gets used more than ideal but it is not used more than is practical.
Might I add that we never leave a machine running but I’m a complete disaster at remembering about washing on a line so part of this is my fault. .
I really get into whatever I’m doing and see little else once I have the blinkers on.

As best I can ascertain I cannot see heaters in heat pump dryers and I have watched several videos where there is stated no element/heaters

Curious as usual I could see in many condenser dryers that the exchanger could get fluff/lint in it with no mention of anything else other than removal and clean
This fluff in combination with endless recycling I’d bet is the danger element of things

In some heat pump dryers probably not all as not all are the same and some do need a secondary filter cleaned there are however some that do a nice quirky thing and use the water form the drying to rinse the evaporator/condenser I presume as the cycle finishes

I also note that they are certainly expensive,,perhaps very but not everyone has a clothes line or as we are here pretty wet place and loads of farmyard smells to contend with so a dryer is a must
It will be a balance on cost versus running costs and of course safety

I also could help but notice that virtually no basic dryers had a 5 year warranty whilst both condenser and heat pumps had loads with 5 years
This prompts questions
Are the traditional dryer so good no one asks or needs 5 years warranty or are they so bad that no one will warranty them. . . I already know traditional dryers are not a thorn in everyone’s flesh so they are generally reliable and probably no one needs or wants the extra warranty

Are heat pump dryers so unreliable that they need a long warranty to sell them??
Perhaps in a way. .
They are new technology so perhaps need a little help on sales and they are pretty pricey. . To say the least but if you’ve ran a traditional dryer you’ll know they can run you up a serious electric bill so an alternative with a claimed 70% reduction in energy brings them into run-ability territory even if they are a little pricey

Being interested in all things energy this is a new product I’ve been watching for a few years. .
The early unbelievably pricey efforts were not a disaster and whilst one can read things about the thing failing on the 3rd load this is not unusual in electrical items
Near all items today if fired up and operated a few times should continue for several years but if they are going to fail the first few minutes or hours are the risk time frame. . This is true of units I had a hand in development with and near everyone associated with electrical items will have the same problems to a greater or lessor degree according to the exact components used and how well the thing is put together but they do have to travel and travel has a lot of hidden bumps and bangs along the way
I’ve followed a couple of products on routes that gave repeated problems and I can assure you some movements are akin to violence to machines
It’s not a bit wonder washers get transit bolts etc. . If your moving house you’ll not need them. . Your mover man will never abuse it like a forklift driver can . . Even whole containers get poor handling and bumped about

So unless Wave comes up with bad news I think I’ll be staying with my old quirky washer but leaving the gas dryers in favour of a heat pump version. . I have to buy or repair a dryer anyhow and gas dryers and their parts are not cheap either. .

I wonder if Which? could be persuaded to look at environmental issues in product reviews. In a review of tumble dryers it would be worth exploring the alternatives.

We also need to find out if some dryers are safer than others.

We can protect the environment by insisting on more durable products = less waste of energy, materials and resources. The EU and BEUC are strongly in favour. It should be a key feature of any product review.
Durability includes repairability in my view.

Hello Malcolm, it is possible to discuss Which? testing in this discussion of product recalls, I only want to make sure you’re on that topic of discussion. Please think of new people and the thousands of ‘lurkers’ on these posts who may be holding back from contributing and talking about their problem tumble dryer because there’s a discussion on something very different.

I appreciate that questions often go unanswered and that there are many questions in this thread. We have posed a number of these questions with experts and scientists and I’ll see if we can get some answers up soon. I know we should reply more often, but getting answers on complex scientific queries can take time. So if we haven’t replied it doesn’t mean we’re ignoring you, it can mean we’re working on getting a reply that’s useful for you. I want us to get better at letting you know whether we’re looking into something, and we will try to get useful answers quicker. I appreciate the feedback, and I mean that sincerely.

Back on the quest for access to the British Standard covering tumble dryers, I have discovered that public access is available free of charge in the Glasgow Libraries: https://www.glasgowlife.org.uk/libraries/the-mitchell-library/business-mitchell/british-standards/Pages/home.aspx If you have a library card and a PIN you can have home access to current standards plus historical draft and current standards. As it happens I have a card for the Mitchell Library in Glasgow, but it’s only a visitor’s card.

Meanwhile I continue to wait for a card from the nearest library mentioned on Malcolm’s list and then I just have to persuade them to provide me with access to British Standards On Line.

I have been speaking to British Standards and have learned that a fairly local library has a full set of British Standards. Having spoken to the reference section of the library they are concerned that I was told that they did not hold the standards. They are in discussion about making the British Standards available online for home use if there is the demand.

Here is a current (23/2/2016) list of UK libraries that have a full set of British Standards. It is disappointing that some of our large cities do not, so the sooner online access is rolled out across the country the better. I don’t know why the Glasgow libraries are not mentioned. Which? could ask someone to pop along to the British Library if they don’t have access.

Kent Libraries and Archives
MLA – Bolton Public Libraries
MLA – Essex Libraries
MLA – Hull Libraries
MLA – Sheffield Libraries &
Belfast Education & Library Board
City University Library
Durham University Library
Heriot-Watt University Library
MLA – Cambridge Central Library
MLA – Doncaster Library
MLA – Lancashire County Library
MLA – Manchester Public Library
MLA – Norfolk CC Library Service
MLA – Staffordshire CC Library &
National Library of Wales
Newcastle City Library
Reading University Library
Strathclyde University Library
The British Library
The Open University Library
University of Northumbria-Library
The Oldham College Library
The University of Manchester Library
Coventry Libraries and Information
Liverpool City Libraries
North East Scotland College Library+
ROnline-Kent Libraries, Registration and Archive
University of Sussex Library

wavechange, my county does not subscribe any longer to BSs but our neighbouring county does, to the British Standards Online Service. I can use that, but only by visiting their central library. They will have the means of access, which will be protected. I would not expect otherwise. I presume the same will hold for any organisation subscribing to the BSOL service. Notes can be made but not printed copies or extracts.

I will try and have a look within the next week, Malcolm. I will ask if I can take photos of the screen. That does not seem much to ask if Glasgow residents can use British Standards at home.

Hello everyone, thanks for your continued comments on product recalls. This is definitely an important issue and one we’ve been investigating and working on. We wanted to share Lynn Faulds Wood’s BIS review on recalls with you since it’s a review we fed information into, including our investigation results, your comments and member case studies.

In response to the publication of this review, we responded publicly saying that the system for protecting people remains hopelessly out of date. We’re also pushing the Government for much more than just a steering group to protect consumers from faulty products. We’re urging the Government to put more pressure on manufacturers to move faster to alert consumers swiftly and effectively about product faults and recalls.

We’re working on more campaigns for consumers and achieving more wins in these campaigns than ever, with the issues we campaign on being inspired by our members, supporters and community members. We can’t work on every issue, but we want to work on more and achieve even more campaign wins with your help in the coming years. That’s why we invested £33m in our campaigning activities in the last three years, up from £17m in the three years before that. You know how much I personally appreciate the comments you make here, but your comments are also read by many at Which? and are directly fed into our work. For example, your comments on recalls have been shared with our research team and scientists.

I certainly don’t want to draw a line under the discussion of product recalls – it’s an important issue and one we’ll continue to investigate and work on. So please continue talking about it. However, I would appreciate if we could move back onto talking about recalls. If you or others would like to talk about these issues further with other members, please do so on the member forum.

“We are currently experiencing issues which mean that your account is unavailable at this time. We are working to fix these as quickly as possible.”

Patrick – The member forum has been down for several days so no one can see it.

diesel, if I log in to Which?, and click ” my account” I get the problem message but, on the left, it links to Which? magazine archive and Which? member community.

The last posting (yours) was 13 days ago. Does Which? want this forum to remain underused and partly hidden? If Which? can attract a sudden influx of comments via campaigns to its convos, then maybe it could use its imagination to raise the awareness of Members to the community. I’m sure that both Members and Which? would benefit from more participation. Surely as a Members organisation – it is there substantial subscriptions that raise by far the bulk of its income – they should be very active in involving them in its work. Or perhaps not………?