Tumble dryer risks and what you need to know
In a spin: Millions of Creda, Hotpoint and Indesit tumble dryers built in the past are facing recall over potential fire risk
But is yours a problem model? And what can you do about it if it is?
House fires must rank as one of a family’s biggest fears. And it turns out that 5 million dryers sold by Creda, Hotpoint and Indesit between 2004 and September 2015 could be at risk of going up in flames.
The company has admitted that, in rare cases, excess fluff can come into contact with the heating element in the tumble dryer and present a risk of fire.
The design defect came to light after Whirlpool bought the Creda, Hotpoint and Indesit brands back in 2014, and an investigation into a series of domestic fires ended up with the company issuing a huge number of warnings and alerts. And undertaking a massive programme of repairs.
If you’re worried you’ve got a problem appliance, there are dedicated model-checker websites for both Hotpoint and Indesit machines:
Whirlpool’s repair plans
There are two problems with this – letting them know, and then getting in the queue.
First you need to register your repair with the company. Bearing in mind that Whirlpool has written to more than 3 million customers, and just 1,000 engineers to make the repairs. Even though the repairs take on average just an hour… there is definitely a backlog building.
By mid-January, the company said it had 625,000 customers registered, and 70,000 machines fixed.
It’s even been reported that it can even take up to 10 weeks for an estimated date for an engineer visit to be provided.
Perhaps somewhat incredibly, the company is still suggesting that owners can still use their driers. Just not while their around. Or asleep.
Whirlpool said in a statement: “Until the modification has been made for those that require it, as an extra precaution we are asking that consumers do not leave their dryers unattended during operation (i.e. do not leave the house or leave the dryer on whilst asleep).
“They should also regularly clean the lint filter after every cycle and ensure proper venting, in accordance with the original instructions for use.”
Register your goods
The whole Whirlpool saga does raise one really important issue – when you buy electrical appliances, you NEED to register them with the manufacturer
A charity called Electrical Safety First recently advised people to register their electrical products with the manufacturer once they’d bought them;in order to receive details of any recalls.
According to Electrical Safety First, almost 50 deaths each year are attributable to electrical fires, and faulty electrical appliances caused £41.6m of damage in the UK every year.
And so much of these things can be fixed by paying attention to recalls issued by manufacturers (or rather being alerted by email). In fact, in the past five years, there have been recalls on more than 300 different electrical appliances. And Electrical Safety First said that only around 10 per cent to 20 per cent of products due for a recall actually receive it.
"We know electrical products are high on shopping lists this sale season so we are urging the public to keep their families and homes safe by making a habit of registering a new product as soon as they get it home," Electrical Safety First’s Emma Apter told the BBC recently.
"People may think it's too much hassle or there is no benefit of providing contact details but an unregistered appliance can be a hidden danger in homes as it's difficult for manufacturers to trace them."