Home appliance manufacturer Whirlpool has announced a recall of its Hotpoint or Indesit washing machines in the UK due to a fire risk.
According to Whirlpool, it is issuing a recall for the washing machines in UK because their door locking system can overheat creating the risk of fire. Owners who will return their units will have to wait for months until the products are repaired or replaced.
The company is already experiencing troubles with its fire-prone dryers. Whirlpool received heavy criticism for its initial response when it was found that five million of its tumble dryers sold in a span of 11 years were prone to fire.
It only issued a full recall for the dryers after four years and following the regulator’s intervention. It took a different approach with the washing machines and went straight to a recall.
According to Whirlpool, around 20% of the Hotpoint and Indesit washing machines sold since 2014 are affected by the problem and these include up to 519,000 washing machines sold in the UK. The fault, which develops over time in the machines, are thought to have caused 79 fires.
Whirlpool said: “When the heating element in the washing machine is activated, in very rare cases a component in the door lock system can overheat, which, depending on product features, can pose a risk of fire.”
The company’s safety team discovered that the extra current that runs through the machine when the heating element is on can cause the door locking system to overheat, causing fires.
According to Engineer Colin O’Neill, who runs CJM Washer Services, he was not surprised by the recall because he had observed faults related to the door lock “for quite some time now”.
“When we go out, we remove the door lock and quite often find it has either failed or quite often we find that there’s actually signs of burning to the door lock wiring harness. Sometimes I’ve even seen burn marks up the inside of the cabinet of the washing machine, so it looks like there has been a little mini fire there, but the customer hasn’t known anything about it,” O’Neill said.