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Which? and Watchdog find failings in Whirlpool’s fire-risk tumble dryer fix

Evidence of ‘repaired’ Whirlpool tumble dryers catching fire and continuing to pose a fire risk to consumers

Whirlpool tumble dryers are still posing a fire risk two-and-a-half years after the manufacturer admitted that 5.3 million of its machines were affected.

BBC’s Watchdog Live last night revealed concerns that tumble dryers modified – or replaced – by manufacturer Whirlpool to tackle the risk of fire may not be safer than the models that led to an unprecedented safety warning in 2015.

And we have evidence to show that some repaired Whirlpool fire-risk tumble dryers have caught fire despite being ‘made safe’ by the manufacturer.

Has your tumble dryer caught fire after it’s been repaired by Whirlpool? – let us know.

Singed fluff and ash

We assessed a random sample of 19 Hotpoint and Indesit fire-risk dryers – all of which were had been repaired by the manufacturer.

One of these previously repaired tumble dryers had fluff coating part of the heating element, despite the Whirlpool repair being designed to stop this from happening. We could see singeing around the edges of the fluff.

There was further evidence of ash collecting at the bottom of the heater. 18 other dryers assessed at the same time appeared to have been repaired effectively.

Flames at the rear of the drum vent

We also tested a second model that we’d learned had caught fire just two years after it was repaired by Whirlpool. With the drum empty and after around two minutes of turning it on, flames could be seen at the rear of the drum vent, where hot air passes over the heater and into the drum to dry clothes.

When we opened the machine up to find the cause of the fire, we found an excessive amount of dust on and around the heating elements, something the Whirlpool fix was supposed to resolve.

Whirlpool fire risk dryers

In November 2015, Whirlpool admitted that more than 5.3 million of its vented and condenser tumble dryers had a fire problem, with its appliances causing at least 750 fires.

The dryers affected were made between April 2004 and October 2015 and were branded Hotpoint, Indesit, Creda, Proline and Swan. Whirlpool branded dryers were unaffected by the safety issue.

Whirlpool refused to publish a list of the affected models, instead directing worried owners to check online on its site. So, we’ve published our own list of all of the Whirlpool dryers we know to be affected.

Find out if your model poses a fire-risk by checking our list of Whirlpool fire risk dryers.

Whirlpool also advised owners to continue to use their machines until pressure from Which? forced the company to now tell owners to not use their machines until they’ve been modified.

What to do if you suspect you have a fire risk tumble dryer?

If your tumble dryer is on our list of affected models, call Whirlpool on 0800 151 0905 to arrange for it to be repaired.

Whirlpool told us that it has total confidence in the modification, that three fire, safety and engineering experts concluded and testing shows that the repair is effective. It went on to say it knew of no reports where the modification was ineffective and that it couldn’t verify our claims.

Sign our petition to end unsafe products.

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