By Chris Nicholls

SYDNEY:  Electrolux has issued a recall for 20,000 dishwashers manufactured under the Electrolux, Electrolux Dishlex and Westinghouse brands, after it was found a wiring fault could cause a small fire or control panel components to melt.

The dishwashers affected are:

Electrolux EX 401 SB, ESL6163

Electrolux Dishlex DX303SK, DX303WK

Westinghouse SB908WK, SC908SK, SB916WK, SB916SK, SB926WK, SB 926 SK.

According to Electrolux, a faulty wire connector within the above devices could cause an arc of electricity that could start what the company describes as a “small self-contained fire” or melting of plastic components within the control panel. Either of the two problems would result in product failure, the company said.  

All five affected models sold in Australia came from Electrolux’s dishwasher plant in Solaro, Italy. The same models have also been sold in Europe and New Zealand.

According to Electrolux regulatory affairs manager Ian Forte, there have only been “a handful” of problems reported by customers in Australia, with none reported in New Zealand or Europe.

An Electrolux spokesperson said they first notified retailers of the problem two weeks ago, but did not inform the general public through a recall notice until today, claiming the company’s quality control department had not completed its investigation.

Electrolux has enlisted retailers to modify affected products in warehouses and showrooms by applying a fibreglass insulating tape to the suspect connector. The company started applying this tape at the factory in Italy two weeks ago, said Forte.

However, for customers, he said Electrolux would only replace plugs with a bulge in the terminal, which showed they were at risk. Non bulging plugs were not at risk and would be secured with the same fibreglass tape to prevent any possible problems should a fire occur, Forte said.  

“We realised you’ve got to be 1000 per cent sure that you’re right. By putting the tape on, we’ve got an extra backup there. If the worst did happen and that the arc did occur, that it would definitely be self-contained.

“You’ll still get a product failure, but we can be very confident then that it will fail absolutely safely.”