Is your dishwasher dangerous?

No recall issued for smoking dishwashers

By Amy Davis - Reporter/Consumer Expert

Channel 2 investigates a common appliance that almost everyone has in their kitchen that could catch fire.

A Richmond couple called consumer expert Amy Davis when their GE dishwasher caught fire, and GE claimed that it was not a safety risk.

"(My wife) opened it up and saw sparks and flames," homeowner Jim Fuchs told Davis. He said his wife saw smoke coming from the appliance.

Fuchs said it was fortunate that his wife was nearby and able to shut off power at the breaker box.

"Usually when you do a dishwasher, you turn it on and load them up at night," said Fuchs. "(You) turn it on and go to bed. If that would have happened, I don't know what would have happened."

A GE technician confirmed that the dishwasher was a total loss, but in an email to KPRC, GE spokeswoman Kim Freeman wrote: "The (Fuchses') dishwasher did not catch fire. There was smoke, but their situation did not present a safety risk. Had a fire occurred, the dishwasher is designed to contain the fire."

GE recalled the same dishwasher model that the Fuchses own in 2012, but since theirs was made later, it's not covered under the recall. Fuchs purchased it in 2010, so the 5-year warranty has expired.

Davis learned that GE has recalled more than 7 million dishwashers since 2000 because of electrical issues and overheating causing fire hazards, but hundreds of other consumers have complained to the Consumer Product Safety

Commission that dishwashers not included in the recalls are malfunctioning in the same way.
One consumer wrote that his dishwasher "overheated during (the) dry cycle, causing all plastic contents including utensils, silverware racks and spindle arms inside to melt" and that the "one-inch-thick granite countertop and cabinets above the washer were so hot after the incident ... it burned (his) wife's fingertips."

GE told the man that his unit was not covered under any of the recent recalls.

"They should be standing behind their products," Fuchs said. "I thought GE was a good company."

GE offered to sell the Fuchses a replacement dishwasher, but Fuchs said he found the same model at Lowe's for $120. When David contacted GE, the company said it is sending the Fuchses $500 for a new washer. When Davis asked why hundreds of consumers' dishwashers are smoking and sparking, the GE spokeswoman did not reply.

If it happens to you, report it to the Consumer Product Safety Commission immediately. Complaints to the CPSC are public. That is how Davis was able to find all the existing complaints. If there are enough complaints, federal safety regulators could force another recall, Davis reported.

2016 Click2Houston/KPRC2