It appears that there's no let up in exploding appliances through poor design and on tonight's BBC Watchdog it is Hotpoint's latest Quadrio fridge freezer models that have been highlighted as being a potential fire risk.
The issue appears to be with wiring that runs from the controls through the door at the door hinge of the fridge section which can wear through and cause a spark. This can then lead to a fire or, in extreme cases, an explosion.
On the show, users reported a flash, bang or explosion from their Hotpoint fridge.
A TUV expert stated that this was a clear design flaw and the a failure of this nature was inevitable. he did go on to say that this fault wasn't a fire risk as such but there was a risk of electrocution.
Mention was also made that there had been a modification carried out and an admission from Hotpoint about the problem has been posted on the Which? website.
Hotpoint's response has so far been variable.
A further modification, a superflex cable, is said by Hotpoint to resolve the problem.
Hotpoint Response In Full
Hotpoint is aware of a problem caused by the design of an electrical cable located inside the top of the door of an initial production of Quadrio fridge freezers.
This problem only affects a very small number of Quadrios manufactured between June 2008 and October 2010. All Quadrio models currently on sale through retailers are built to a modified design that has eliminated this problem.
The issue is caused by wear to the plastic insulation sleeve that houses the electrical wires that feed into the left hand door of the fridge. These wires are connected to a heater on the fridge door that comes on intermittently to ensure condensation does not build up within the fridge. With repeated opening and closing of the door the cable insulation on the older models has been known to split leaving the wires slightly exposed.
In a few cases, this problem has caused the appliance to 'short' causing the household circuit to trip. While we recognise this has caused inconvenience and could be alarming, we would like to reassure our customers that this will not produce an electric shock when opening or closing the doors in the normal way.
The issue first came to our attention in 2009. In order to evaluate any possible risks to consumers, we immediately instigated a thorough investigation and assessment in line with the General Product Safety Regulations 2005. This assessment concluded that the risk to consumers was 'extremely low' and a product recall was therefore not necessary. This is because the wires are located at the top of the door, within a plastic casing that insulates them from the rest of the appliance; therefore, there is no possible connectivity between the wiring and the metal parts of the door or the door handles. Also the area where the cable insulation has been known to split is located in a recessed part of this casing so, in the course of normal use of the fridge, there is little chance of accidentally touching the wires. Our owners' handbook states clearly that the appliance must be turned off and disconnected from the mains before cleaning.
An initial modification was introduced in 2009, and we instructed our service engineers to automatically replace the hinge block cover to prevent the cable from being squeezed, and to check the wiring on any call to a Quadrio manufactured after June 2008, regardless of whether the appliance has suffered this issue or not. A final modification was introduced in October 2010 and this has completely resolved the issue. We have been, and will continue to provide free-of-charge repairs to any owner of a Quadrio fridge freezer, manufactured between June 2008 and October 2010, experiencing this issue, regardless of the status of their warranty.
Anyone who purchased a Quadrio manufactured between June 2008 and October 2010 can contact our Quadrio Helpline if they have any problems or concerns.
Quadrio Helpline Telephone: 01733 287 843
We accept that this failure is not in keeping with our normal high product quality standards and we apologise unreservedly for any inconvenience caused as a result of this. We would also like to reassure all consumers that the reliability and safety of our products is always of the highest priority for Hotpoint.