Owners of Hotpoint fridge freezers with model numbers FF175BP and FF175BG have been told that their appliances pose no greater risk than similar models manufacturedat that time, a government report has revealed.
Both models have been tested by Whirlpool (which owns Hotpoint) and the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), after the Metropolitan Police Service linked the FF175BP fridge freezer to the Grenfell Tower fire last June.
The investigations independently found no evidence of any fault with the FF175BP or its colour variant, the FF175BG. Both models fully complied with all legal, safety and regulatory requirements that were in place at the time, the findings confirmed. As a result,BEIS has informed Whirlpool there is no reason to undertake a recall or any other kind of corrective action.
Further Which? investigation into the government report found that the Hotpoint fridge freezer in question had plastic backing.
Although BEIS's independent testing confirms that the fridge freezers in question met legal safety requirements, and the risk associated with them is low, our own testing shows that plastic-backed fridge freezers that meet the standards are still a potential fire risk. This means consumers' lives could be at risk.
Whirlpool issued a statement saying there were no safety concerns with Hotpoint fridge freezers with model numbers FF175BP and FF175BG. In light of the backing material used, we think this is irresponsible.
Since last July, we've been conducting our own investigation into fridge freezer safety.
Our industry-wide study covers more than 500 of the most popular refrigeration appliances on the market. We've found that almosthalf (45%) of all fridges, freezers and fridge freezers tested are made of plastic that poses a potential fire risk.
While the plastic backing is not the cause of the fire itself, our expert research indicates that this design can accelerate the spread of flames in the event of a fire. If the backing cannot withstand a flame, it risks leaving the flammable insulation exposed. See our video below:
While the risk of a fridge freezer fire occurring in the first place remains low, manufacturers should be doing more to make product safety a priority. We've called on them to immediately stop making refrigeration products that have any plastic backing.
Following this investigation, a number of manufacturers have committed to replacing plastic backing, but this must be done immediately.
The Hotpoint FF175BP and Hotpoint FF175BG were not part of our investigation, as they were discontinued more than 10 years ago.
Peter Vicary-Smith, chief executive of Which?, said: 'We believe that UK safety standards are inadequate when it comes to plastic-backed fridges, and therefore meeting these standards is insufficient protection for consumers.
'Our tests show that plastic-backed fridges are a potential fire risk and should be withdrawn from sale.'
Faulty household appliances cause an average of 60 fires every week in the UK, according to our March 2018 analysis of UK fire statistics. Our research proves that Britain's product safety regime is no longer fit for purpose.