Major kitchen appliances, in general, have been fairly reliable over the past 60 years. Certainly, their appearance on the home kitchen’s horizon and continued improvement over the years have been a boon to homemakers, freeing them from time-consuming kitchen drudgery to attend to other pursuits. Yet, some appliances may have reached their own version of the “Peter Principle” vis à vis safety issues. A case in point could be the dishwasher. Invented in 1886 by Josephine Cochran, the first practical dishwasher was exhibited at the 1893 World’s Fair. Although Josephine’s dishwashing machine was purchased by hotels and institutions—the company she founded ultimately became KitchenAid–the idea and fact of having a dishwasher in one’s home didn’t bloom until the 1950s. Now, dishwashers have come full circle from the utilitarian to electronic wonders encased in sleek stainless steel decorator cabinetry sporting technology the dishwasher’s inventor couldn’t even imagine. But, like many man-made products, even the seemingly pedestrian dishwasher can present serious safety hazards.
On August 9th, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and GE Appliances of Louisville, Kentucky, recalled 1.3 million dishwashers due to a possible fire hazard. That’s enough dishwashers to wash the dishes of nearly all the households in Brooklyn, NY (Population approximately 2.6 million). So far, GE has received 15 incident reports of dishwasher heating element failures, seven reports of fires, and three reports of extensive property damage due to fires caused by the dishwashers. While, no personal injuries have been reported, owners and consumers are urged to stop using the dishwashers immediately, disconnect the electric supply to it, and making sure everyone in the home who uses the dishwasher is aware of the recall and risk of fire. This is a safety-related recall.
A list of dishwashers recalled includes GE, GE Adora, GE Eterna, GE Profile and Hotpoint brand dishwashers. Available in various colors and exterior finishes, including black, white, bisque, stainless steel and CleanSteel™, they were sold by appliance dealers, builder distributors and stores throughout the U.S. from March 2006 through August 2009 for between $350 and $850. The recalled dishwashers’ model and serial numbers are located on the dishwasher’s inside tub wall. GE, GE Adora, GE Eterna, and GE Profile dishwashers recalled have model numbers beginning with: GLC4, GLD4, GLD5, GLD6, GSD61, GSD62, GSD63, GSD66, GSD67, GSD69, GLDL, PDW7, PDWF7, EDW4, EDW5, EDW6, GHD4, GHD5, GHD6, GHDA4, GHDA6. Hotpoint dishwashers have model numbers beginning with: HLD4. For a list of serial numbers and to view photos of the recalled dishwashers, consumers can visit the CPSC website: http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml12/12244.html
Consumers also can contact GE at (866) 918-8760 to schedule a free in-home repair or learn about obtaining a rebate toward the purchase of a new GE dishwasher. But GE says: Don’t take the product back to the store where you bought it, as distributors and dealers are not prepared to receive them.