A major independent kitchen retailer has warned that the instruction manuals for the Hotpoint fridge-freezers implicated in the Grenfell Tower fire are “too vague” and “could potentially lead to future problems like overheating”.
Earlier this month, Whirlpool announced that that the two models – FF175BP and FF175BG – have been exonerated by two separate investigations.
One of these was led by the Government’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), and a second by product safety experts at Whirlpool Corporation.
However, speaking to ERT’s sister magazine, kbbreview, Darrell Durose, owner of Lifestyle Kitchens & Bedrooms in Nottingham, claimed the instructions for the products lacked sufficient detail.
He went on to claim other brands’ instructions were of varying standards.
“The instructions are just not good enough in my opinion,” he said. “They’re too vague. I mean, why not have at least some dimensions for clearance for ventilation requirements?
“The instructions for these models show nothing regarding ventilation dimensions. For the FF175B model all it says in the manual is to place the appliance in a well-ventilated humidity-free room.
“It says not to obstruct the rear fan grills and that the compressor and condenser give off heat and require good ventilation to operate correctly and save energy.
“It also tells the customer or installer to ensure the appliance is far away from any sources of heat.
“However, there are no diagrams for the customer or installer to work from. I would like many manufacturers to actually read their manuals and realise that they are missing some serious information and sometimes wrong information that never gets corrected. Some don’t even make sense, with poor translations from another language.”
Mr Durose went on to question the positioning points described in an excerpt from the manual.
“Line one describes a ‘well-ventilated, humidity-free room…’ How well-ventilated?
“And ‘humidity-free’? Is there such a room in an average home? Line two talks about not obstructing the rear fan grills? Like with what? A wall? I don’t want it in the middle of the room really. And it says the compressor and condenser give off heat and require good ventilation…’ So how much clearance around the appliance then please?
“And how far should we put the appliance away from a heat source? In the next room?”
Mr Durose said he knew appliance manufacturers would accuse him of “not using common sense” but claimed it shouldn’t be down to the owner to quantify the correct positioning of the appliance when it comes to the required ventilation it needs.
“It made me laugh when they recommended the cable attached to the appliance ‘must not be bent’,” he continued.
“Really? Why supply it with a bendy flex then? It was bent when I took it out of the packaging, so can you send me a new unbent cable please?”
Mr Durose claimed the general standard of appliance instructions varied between manufacturers and even between models.
“Like with anything we buy these days it could be just a re-branding of another manufacturer’s appliance so the instructions layout and details can look completely different.
“How can they say for the fridge-freezer that those instructions are comprehensive to avoid problems later on? Yes, common sense should be used, but every appliance should at least have a drawing showing the minimum requirements and not just relying on customer interpretations, which could potentially lead to problems in the future like overheating etc.”
In a statement issued to kbbreview following Mr Durose’s claims, Whirlpool said: “Independent investigations and testing of the model FF175BP and its colour variant FF175BG by the UK Government, confirmed that the product complied with all legal and safety requirements. This includes installation instructions included in the appliance manual.”