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Is your tumble dryer dangerous?

15 August 2019

Tumble dryer manufacturer Whirlpool has launched a massive fire safety repair campaign following reports of faulty tumble dryers catching fire. Is your tumble dryer at risk of causing a fire, and what should you do about it?

Is your tumble dryer safe?
Is your tumble dryer at risk of causing a fire, and what should you do about it?

Whirlpool – the manufacturer of popular UK home appliances – embarked on a nationwide repair campaign in 2015 following reports of problems with tumble dryers causing house fires - and in 2019, that campaign is still running.

There were over 5 million potentially faulty tumble dryers sold in the UK between 2004 and 2015, and there have been reports of families left homeless following fires caused by faulty tumble dryers. However, despite Whirlpool's campaign to repair every single faulty dryer, by 2019 only 1.7 million issues have been resolved. 

You can take action to check if you are one of the millions potentially affected by a faulty tumble dryer, and prevent the risk of a house fire.

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Why is Whirlpool fixing tumble dryers?

Whirlpool has launched a national repair scheme to fix the faulty tumble dryers. Whirlpool says it has contacted 4 million customers directly to ask them to check for a faulty tumble dryer. 

If the tumble dryer is faulty, Whirlpool will send an engineer to visit to repair the faulty tumble dryer for free.

What is causing the tumble dryer fires?

In some cases, fluff can come into contact with the heating element in the tumble dryer and potentially cause a fire, according to Whirlpool. 

It says such cases are rare, but affected models will require repair in order to negate the risk.

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What brands are affected?

Whirlpool owns a number of tumble dryer brands and there are several that pose potential fire hazards. 

Affected brands are Hotpoint, Indesit, Proline, Swan and Creda. If you own a tumble dryer sold in the UK from one of those brands between April 2004 and September 2015 and you have not already had it modified by the manufacturer, you need to check if your tumble dryer needs repairing.

How can I check my tumble dryer?

You should visit the Whirlpool website and follow the instructions, entering the model number and serial number of your tumble dryer. You can usually find the model number and serial number on the frame inside the door.

Alternatively, Whirlpool has set up a tumble dryer helpline that you can phone on 0800 151 0905 to get advice and check if you have a faulty tumble dryer. Their call centre is open 7 days a week.

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What should I do if my tumble dryer is affected?

If you have a faulty tumble dryer, unplug it immediately and stop using it. Call Whirlpool on 0800 151 0905 and you’ll be able to arrange for an engineer to visit and repair or replace the tumble dryer.

Under the recall, all consumers with affected Whirlpool tumble dryers that have not already been modified or replaced are entitled to one of the following four options:

A free replacement dryer

Consumers can choose between a new vented or condenser dryer, provided free-of-charge. Whirlpool will also arrange for free-of-charge collection and disposal of the consumer’s old dryer.

A free-of-charge in-home modification

A Whirlpool engineer will visit the consumer’s home to carry out the free-of-charge safety upgrade, which has been approved by the UK regulator for product safety. The appointment takes approximately one hour and consumers can schedule the engineer visit for a date and time that is convenient to them, including evenings and weekends.

A heavily discounted upgrade

Consumers can return their affected dryer and upgrade to a superior model for a fraction of the retail price - £59 for a vented model or £99 for a condenser dryer. There are more than 10 models to choose from with an MSRP up to £349. Whirlpool will also arrange for free-of-charge collection and disposal of the consumer’s old dryer. These dryers are a higher specification than the free replacement option.

An age-based refund

Consumers can return their affected dryer and receive a refund up to £150, with the value dependent on the age of the appliance. Whirlpool will also arrange for free-of-charge collection and disposal of the consumer’s old dryer.

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.

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