Tumble dryer fires: What you need to know

Up to five million tumble dryers have been affected by a fault which can cause fires.

Manufacturer Whirlpool has written to around 3.8 million people about the issue, which affects machines sold under the Hotpoint, Indesit and Creda brands.

ITV News consumer editor Chris Choi reports:

  • What is the issue?

In some cases, excess fluff has been able to come into contact with the heating element in the tumble dryer, posing a fire risk.

The Whirlpool fault affects two broad types of tumble dryers - the large air-vented dryer and the condensing dryer - sold under the Hotpoint, Indesit and Creda brand names between April 2004 and September 2015.

  • How do I find out if my model is affected?

Customers can check online whether their model is one of those affected, by looking on the Indesit and Hotpoint safety sites (Creda owners can check via the Hotpoint site).

Machines with green dots do not need to be modified. Credit: Indesit

Customers can also call 0800 151 0905.

A quick way of checking also to see whether your machine has a green "dot" sticker on it - either in the door area or on the back plate. If one is there, no action is needed.

Customers with potentially affected models will receive a free visit from an engineer to check and modify the appliance.

  • Should I use my machine in the meantime?

Whirlpool has said you can continue using the machines as long as they are maintained - however, campaigners at Which? and the Electrical Safety First charity recommend that owners of affected models do not use them until they have been checked and modified by Whirlpool.

A Whirlpool expert has told ITV News how to help prevent tumble dryer fires:

Whirlpool advises owners to clean the lint filter after every use, ensure proper venting and recommends not leaving dryers on when out of the house or asleep.

Read: Plan for automatic recalls after tumble dryer fires