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Tumble dryers pose fire risk

Technology is constantly evolving to make our life easier in this fast paced, busy world. Manufacturers of appliances are always introducing new designs to the market, promoting these appliances to be the ‘next new thing’ and the best in the market to achieve what it is designed for.

It is not unheard of that we start the washing machine or put the clothes in the tumble dryer whilst we have gone out or gone to sleep as it saves time.

Statistics

Did you know, tumble dryers are the most common cause of a fire reported to the emergency services. New figures reveal that fire brigade crews were called to 926 tumble dryer fires between 2011 and 2013.

There have been a number of reports in recent news of tumble dryers catching fire in UK homes, destroying property and causing serious personal injuries and even death in some cases.

Warning

Consumers have been warned to check their tumble dryers after leading manufacturers, Indesit, Hotpoint and Creda issued safety warnings that their appliances may pose a fire risk.

The models affected are the large air vented dryer and the condensing dryer. The tumble dryers were manufactured between April 2004 and September 2015.

A spokesperson for Indesit said excess lint can come into contact with the heating element and present a risk of fire.

The Which Director, Richard Lloyd said it is ‘crucial that products known to be dangerous are recalled as quickly as possible’.

Indesit have warned customers that they can still use their dryers but not to leave them unattended. They have also warned customers to clean the lint filter after every wash.

Is it really safe?

Even with this guidance from manufacturers, I question whether it really is safe to use these dryers given that they pose a dangerous fire hazard. The charity group, Electrical safety first share this view and have sent out a strong message that they would advise that recalled products should not be used until they have been inspected and are safe to use.

I have personal experience of this myself. I was notified of my tumble dryer being affected in November last year. I have recently been informed that the tumble dryer will now be repaired in May.

I also note that many consumers do not know of the defect with these products as they have not been sent out individual letters alerting them to the defect. We question whether landlords who have bought a tumble dryer that is defective are aware of the defect and whether they have reported this. It is very unlikely tenants would be aware of the defect.

This is however about to change. Last month the Retail Ombudsman confirmed that the UK will produce it’s first product recall register whereby manufacturers of recalled products must notify consumers directly.

We welcome the news as consumers can obtain clear information on defective products, and the reasons why they are recalled thereby preventing household fires and the devastating consequences. Recently there have been a number of cases in the news whereby people have died in a house fire. In two of these cases, investigations are currently underway as it is suspected that the tumble dryer has been the cause of the fire.