Benton Harbor, MI: Whirlpool is in the middle of another appliance recall, this one involving 2.3 million Maytag and Jenn-Air dishwashers.
The recall was announced February 1, after the company learned of 135 reports of dishwasher fires which resulted in some property damage. There were also four reports of personal injury including smoke inhalation and a serious hand laceration sustained when the victim used a fire extinguisher to put out the fire in the dishwasher.
The fire occurs when liquid rinse-aid leaks from the dispenser into the dishwasher's internal wiring, causing a short circuit which can ignite and spark a fire.
Dishwashers affected by the recall were manufactured between 1997 and 2001, before Maytag was acquired by Whirlpool. The units are under-counter and portable plastic tub models that sold for $370 to $800. They have black, white, almond, bisque, and stainless steel front panels with the model and serial numbers printed on a label positioned on the plastic frame near the door opening.
Whirlpool announced the voluntary recall in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. The recall generated so many calls that the company could not handle the volume immediately, resulting in some delays. At one point the computer system designed to manage customer inquires temporarily shut down.
Maytag was purchased by Whirlpool Corp. on March 31, 2006.
If you have one of the recalled dishwashers, do not take it back to the retailer. Disconnect the unit and call Maytag. Owners of the defective dishwashers are being offered either a free in-home repair or $75 toward the purchase of a new Maytag, Jenn-Air, Whirlpool, or KitchenAid dishwasher.
Whirlpool has also had problems with its Energy Star Qualified side-by-side counter depth stainless steel refrigerator. Problems with the refrigerator/freezer include a malfunctioning temperature gauge which reads 50 degrees Fahrenheit when the freezer is really 20 degrees below Fahrenheit, water in the drip pan freezing and leaking onto the floor, and an extended warranty that is not being honored by Whirlpool.