Is Your Dishwasher A Fire Hazard?

How to know if your dishwasher is at risk.

Gina Schenck is doing her dishes the old-fashioned way: in her sink. That’s because she won’t use her two-year-old Kenmore Elite dishwasher anymore, after noticing a strange smell.

“All of a sudden we started smelling a strong electrical burning smell,” she said.

While running a wash load last month, she smelled something like an electrical fire in her home.

“We did not see smoke or flames,” she said, “but it was definitely a strong enough odor where you wanted, even in November, to open up your windows.”

After the dishwasher gave out a burning smell again the next day, she called Kenmore to ask for help.

Confused by recent recalls

She looked at the model and found that some Kenmore Elite dishwashers were part of a massive recall of thousands of dishwashers in recent years.

But there was one problem with hers, she said.

“They looked up my serial number, but then they said it was only older models that were being recalled.”

Thousands of Kenmore, Maytag, Kitchen Aid, Bosch, and Whirlpool dishwashers have been recalled for fire risks.

But it involves only models sold from the late 1990s up through 2010.

Newer models not covered

Schenck’s dishwasher model is too recent, so she worried she might have to pay hundreds of dollars to have hers repaired.

“Based on their diagnosis, I could be paying for parts and labor to get it fixed, and I’m thinking that could cost as much as a new dishwasher,” she said.

So we contacted Kenmore, and have some good news to report. Sears Holdings, which own Kenmore, says it will replace her dishwasher free of charge (full statement below).

What you can do

If you smell something strange from your dishwasher (that’s not rotting food), see if it is on the Dishwasher Settlement.com website for recall.

Also check the separate Consumer Product Safety Commission list of individual dishwasher recalls over the past decade.

If you don’t find it, report it to the CPSC for possible future recall, which is what Schenck now doing.

As always, don’t waste your money.

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Full Statement from Sears and Kenmore:

“At Sears and the Kenmore brand, our top priority is the safety and satisfaction our members and customers. Our member solutions team evaluated Ms. Schenck’s situation and although her appliance is out of warranty, to ensure her satisfaction, the Kenmore brand will replace her dishwasher at no charge. We hope she remains a loyal Sears and Kenmore customer and Shop Your Way member.”

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“Don’t Waste Your Money” is a registered trademark of Scripps Media, Inc. (“Scripps”). John Matarese reports on deals and scams so you Don’t Waste Your Money.

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