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500,000 Whirlpool tumble dryers recalled in fire hazard

Half a million of the home appliances have been deemed unsafe for use in UK households

Home-appliance manufacturer Whirlpool is set to recall half a million tumble dryers from UK homes amid safety concerns. The tumble dryers are said to be at risk of setting alight, with the offending component identified as an internal route which allows clothes fluff to interact with the machines’ heating elements.

The move was ordered by the government in June, with the announcement coming today. However, anxieties over the safety of the machines was first voiced back in 2015.

As for who will be affected, the recall includes machines built between 2004 and 2015, with models from Hotpoint, Swan, Creda and Indesit all at risk. One in ten owners of the five million machines sold during this period will therefore be affected. Faulty tumble dryer owners are being encouraged to stop using the machines right away, and to make contact with the company immediately.

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For its part, Whirlpool is offering affected users a free replacement tumble dryer; free in-home, one-hour modification of faulty machines; a discounted upgrade; or a partial refund of up to £150, with the total sum dependent on the age of the original appliance. Owners wanting a free replacement will also be entitled to collection and disposal of their old model.

As for the machines which have already been modified, the company has rolled out no plans for them, despite some of them having caught alight after alterations were made (Whirlpool has logged 54 fires in its tumble dryers, three of which were in supposedly modified units). Whirlpool has said that customers whose machines have been modified do not need to take further action.

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While the company’s vice-president Jeff Noel issued an apology via the BBC for the sale of dangerous machines, Whirlpool has pointed to the fact that the issue in question has been resolved for some 1.7 million people after concerns were first raised in 2015. Many issues had been dealt with “faster and sooner” by a safety fix, Mr Noel explained.

Nonetheless, he went on, “expanded” efforts now need to be made, before offering an apology for “putting our customers through hardship”. “The crucial message is please contact us immediately if you still own one of these tumble dryers and haven’t already had it modified or replaced by us.”

Whirlpool recall: How to find out if your model is affected

There are two main routes to finding out if your tumble dryer is at risk. First, users can call the Whirlpool helpline on 0800 151 0905.

At-risk customers can also use this dedicated website to find out if their machine is faulty. Customers first have to disclose when they purchased their model (i.e. before 1 January 2016 or after), then whether or not their tumble dryer has a green “dot” sticker on its door or back plate. Models sporting a green sticker have been given the all-clear.

If your machine does not have a green dot sticker, you’ll then be asked to enter its full model number and serial number in order to run a definitive test, before being alerted to whether your machine is at risk or not.

If your machine is on the recall list, users have been advised to stop using it and unplug immediately, before contacting Whirlpool on 0800 151 0905 to arrange a modification, replacement or removal.