Washing machines recalled by Whirlpool

Whirlpool has announced it is launching a new recall campaign – this time aimed at half a million washing machines across the UK.

It has been reported that Hotpoint or Indesit branded machines (which Whirlpool owns) were sold more than five years ago, but their door locking system can overheat, creating the risk of fire.

It is thought that 79 fires have been caused by the fault, which develops over time, according to Whirlpool.

The company 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 extra current that runs through the machine when the heating element is on can cause the door locking system to overheat.”

Whirlpool reported that the issue had been identified by its safety team, but had led to fires, although none had been significant enough to cause more than minor damage or cause any serious injuries.

About 20 per cent of the Hotpoint and Indesit washing machines sold in the UK since 2014 are affected by the fault – up to 519,000 machines are involved.

The saga continues

This new recall comes after the ongoing saga of faulty Whirlpool tumble dryers, and the manufacturer was heavily criticised for its initial response to the issue and handling of the recall campaign.

Consumers could be facing the Christmas period without their washing machines, as it’s said the repair or replacement process for these washing machines will not begin until January.

It was reported that Whirlpool has suggested owners could still use their machine if it is affected, but with a vastly reduced risk, by only using the cold wash cycle at 20 degrees or less. This means the heating element would not be activated, avoiding the problem that had been identified.

Jeff Noel, Vice President of Whirlpool, said: “We know this will cause some concern. We especially understand that the washing machine is so important to family life, and in Christmas holiday season it will be even more of an important matter and, for that, we apologise.”

The company’s customer service department was being built up, Mr Noel said, with more engineers hired and delivery and collection capability stepped up for the January recall start.

There is an appliance model checker online for consumers. Upon checking the site today (18 December), ERT found the website had crashed.

Owners of Hotpoint and Indesit washing machines bought since October 2014 will need to enter the model and serial number of their appliance – found inside the door or on the back – to see if it is one of those affected.

Also, there is a free helpline on 0800 316 1442.

To eliminate any risk, any affected machines should be unplugged and not used until it is repaired in their home by a trained engineer, Whirlpool said.