Beko fridge freezer fire risk: Q&A
- Beko fridge freezer safety warning - what you need to know
- What to do if you have a faulty Beko fridge freezer
- Full details of affected fridge freezer models
Beko fridge freezer fire alert
In July 2011, the London Fire Brigade (LFB) issued an urgent warning of a fire risk related to certain Beko fridge freezer models. The fridge freezers have been linked to 20 fires in the capital since 2008, which injured 15 people and killed one.
The fault may affect up to 500,000 Beko fridge freezers manufactured between 2000 and 2006. Our Q&A outlines what you need to know.
Why is there a fire risk?
A fault has been identified with the defrost timer, which can fail and overheat. The LFB says the problem happens when water gets into the timer switch, which can lead to an electrical malfunction - 'resulting in plastic components and other highly flammable insulation inside the appliance catching on fire'.
Fires involving any sort of fridge freezer develop rapidly and produce a large amount of toxic smoke.
Which Beko fridge freezer models are affected?
The safety alert specifically concerns certain five to 11-year-old Beko fridge freezers, produced between January 2000 and October 2006. LFB is urging all Beko fridge freezer owners to see if their appliance is affected - the individual model numbers are listed below.
Standalone Beko fridges or freezers are not affected, and neither are newer fridge freezer models produced after 2006.
- CA 5411 FFS (silver), CA 5411 FFW (white), CA 5411 FFX (stainless steel)
- CA 7014 FFX (stainless steel)
- CA 7015 FFW (white), CA 7015 FFS (silver), CA 7015 FFX (stainless steel)
- CDA 539 FS (silver), CDA 539 FW (white), CDA 539 FX (stainless steel)
- CDA 543 FS (silver), CDA 543 FW (white), CDA 543 FX (stainless steel)
- CDA 645 FW (white)
- CDA 647 FS (silver), CDA 647FW (white)
- CDA 648 FS (silver), CDA 648FW (white)
- CDA 653 FS (silver), CDA 653FW (white), CDA 653FX (stainless steel)
- CDA 659 FS (silver)
- CDA 751 FS (silver), CDA 751 FX (stainless steel)
- CDA 752 FS (silver), CDA 752 FW (white), CDA 752 FX (stainless steel)
- CS 460 FF (white), CS 460 FFS (silver), CS 460 FFSD (stainless steel)
- CS 461 FFW (white), CS 461 FFS (silver)
- CSA 4706 FFX (stainless steel)
- CSB 4606 FFSD, CSB 4606 FFS (silver), CSB 4606 FFW (white)
How do I know when my Beko fridge freezer was made?
You should look for your fridge freezer's serial number, found inside the fridge compartment, to see which year the appliance was manufactured. If your model's serial number begins with 00, 01, 02, 03, 04, 05 or 06 you should contact Beko. Here's where to look for it.
I have one of the affected Beko fridge freezers. What should I do now?
If you have one of the highlighted models, you need to contact Beko immediately to ask what steps need to be taken, and to arrange a date for a Beko repairer to make a free-of-charge modification to your appliance's defrost timer. Beko says the work will take around 30 minutes.
How do I contact Beko?
- You can call Beko's helpline on 0800 009 4837 between 7am and 11pm, Monday to Friday.
- Alternatively you can visit the Beko website and enter your model and serial number to check online whether your fridge freezer is affected.
Some Beko customers have been getting in touch with us on Which? Conversation, describing the problems they're having with contacting the company. Beko has apologised for these difficulties, advising on its website that it is experiencing a high volume of telephone enquiries, and urging customers to first check their model online before calling. It has now extended its customer service opening hours.
Should I stop using my Beko fridge freezer?
The reported number of incidents involving Beko fridge freezers so far is very low compared with the number of at-risk fridge freezer models - so Beko has not recommended you stop using your fridge freezer.
If you have a fridge freezer model affected by the safety alert, you should contact the company to arrange for a Beko repairer to make a modification to the defrost timer.
Regardless of whether your fridge freezer is involved in this safety notice or not, make sure you have a working smoke alarm on each level of your home, checking them regularly to make sure they work. The Direct Gov website has advice on what to look for when buying a smoke alarm.
Is it true that Lec fridge freezers are also affected?
The discontinued white Lec TF2304W, manufactured between January 2004 and October 2006, features the same faulty defrost timer as the affected Beko models. Owners are being urged to contact Lec to arrange for a repairer to carry out a free modification. According to the company, this is the only Lec model affected.
You can call Lec's parent company GDHA on 0800 110 5728 (between 8am and 6pm, Monday to Friday).
Could I invalidate my home insurance if I use a faulty Beko fridge freezer?
Because the safety risk is low, we think this would be unlikely - but it's best to check with your individual insurer if you're concerned that continuing to use your fridge freezer, knowing it has a fault, could invalidate your policy.
Direct Line and Saga have both announced their home insurance policies won't be affected.
Have Which? tests picked up safety problems involving Beko fridge freezers?
Which? independently tests fridge freezers, as well as standalone fridges and freezers in a lab-based environment. We have tested several of the affected Beko fridge freezers, but did not experience any problems with the defrost timers that are linked to the fire risk.
The issue doesn't become apparent until after a few years of use. Beko believes the problem is caused by a 'combination of factors within the kitchen environment such as humidity and air flow around the fridge freezer'.
How long has Beko known about the fridge freezer fault?
London fire investigators established a link between several fires and the affected Beko fridge freezer models, and formally warned Beko of this in June 2010.
Between then and July 2011 when LFB issued their public warning, Beko says it had been working with LFB, trading standards officers and shops selling the fridge freezers to alert customers to the problem. It says it tracked down and sent letters to 200,000 customers, and located and made modifications to 11,000 appliances.
As of 31st December 2011, Beko had modified 164,782 affected fridge freezers, with appointments for a further 1,601 modifications booked.
What does Which? say?
We're questioning Beko on why it has taken a year to make this safety problem public to all customers.
Which? magazine editor Martyn Hocking says: 'Beko has taken some steps to contact customers who have the affected models but we don't think it acted swiftly enough and more could have been done sooner to ensure all customers are protected; not just those it had contact details for.'
More from Which? on refrigeration: consult our fridge freezer and standalone fridge and freezer reviews for our latest Best Buy recommendations, and top tips to help you buy the best fridge freezer for your household.