Thread Number: 94112  /  Tag: Modern Automatic Washers
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Post# 1188080   8/21/2023 at 09:07 by alanlondon (London)        

We had a message from our tenants recently to say there was a burning smell when they came back home and they had traced it back the washing machine. When I went round to investigate first bad sign was this...

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Post# 1188082 , Reply# 1   8/21/2023 at 09:08 by alanlondon (London)        
Here it is in situ:

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Post# 1188083 , Reply# 2   8/21/2023 at 09:10 by alanlondon (London)        
Took the bottom plinth off and this is what I found

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Post# 1188084 , Reply# 3   8/21/2023 at 09:13 by alanlondon (London)        
Lucky for us...

... the heater had melted the rubber door seal, allowed water out and put out the smouldering heater and tripped the electrics

Post# 1188085 , Reply# 4   8/21/2023 at 09:17 by alanlondon (London)        
But, it has been a really good washing machine up until now

I fitted it 15 years ago and it's not needed a single repair and has been abused by numerous tenants over the years. I was only saying to my husband the other day that at the very least we should plan to change it or I will need to change the brushes at the very least. We always tell new tenants not to leave things going when they are not there, but I guess you can't really police this, just hope for the best. Could have been a lot worse, we feel very lucky. We've just replaced it with another Bosch.

Post# 1188086 , Reply# 5   8/21/2023 at 09:19 by alanlondon (London)        
Here's its replacement

let's hope we get 15 years out of this one!

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Post# 1188134 , Reply# 6   8/21/2023 at 21:19 by cfz2882 (Belle Fourche,SD)        
very lucky indeed.

that was a decent little fire going in there until the water was released -if I owned a bosch like this one,I would be checking for loose connections at the heater and remove any unneeded plastic parts in that area !

Post# 1188141 , Reply# 7   8/21/2023 at 22:17 by combo52 (50 Year Repair Tech Beltsville,Md)        
Washer, fire

combo52's profile picture
Most fires like this donít spread, but it is still scary, the steel cabinet will normally contain it.

But itís another good reminder that itís really not a great idea to have a heater in the washing machine. The wiring eventually gets loose and overheats

As a repair tech, I see things like this pretty often, however, here in the states, people never use the heater in their front load washer, so we donít see it as often,


Post# 1188147 , Reply# 8   8/22/2023 at 00:44 by Brisnat81 (Brisbane Australia)        

John, I love you, but when your view is one sided youíre definitely blinkered against any other reality.

So Ovens, ranges, cooktops are all ok to generate resistive heat, but drawing 2000-3200 watts in a washer is significantly more dangerous?

The world in most 240v countries has washers with heaters now and our houses donít generally burst into flames. The big difference to the US, is that the rest of the world can plug in a 2kw plus appliance into a standard outlet, without fear of overloading the circuit or melting the plug/socket, so we just do and for the most part safely for decades without a fire.

Yes sockets in the US donít always spontaneously combust, but theyíre not designed to run two 2kw loads from a single duplex outlet either.

Post# 1188150 , Reply# 9   8/22/2023 at 02:01 by foraloysius (Leeuwarden, Friesland, the Netherlands)        

foraloysius's profile picture
And then there are dishwashers with heating elementsÖ

Post# 1188152 , Reply# 10   8/22/2023 at 02:15 by ozzie908 (Lincoln UK)        
Most of us with dryers with electric heaters

ozzie908's profile picture
rarely combust as we do NOT have dryer vents like the USA and are they not one of the biggest causes of house fires?
I think its safe to say we all have appliances that can burst into flames but on the most part they are all safe when used correctly.
You also have to remember most of us with 220/240 outlets as standard don't have to have huge tanks of hot water using energy as we heat from cold what we need. Swings and roundabouts as they say!!

Post# 1188161 , Reply# 11   8/22/2023 at 06:11 by Aquarius1984 (Planet earth)        
Another one who finds Johns attitude towards europe

aquarius1984's profile picture

Some of the bs he comes out with is absolutely cringeworthy.

Yeah we get it. You donít like Europe. Hell knows why you bother coming here.


Post# 1188162 , Reply# 12   8/22/2023 at 06:53 by combo52 (50 Year Repair Tech Beltsville,Md)        
Electrical fires in major appliances

combo52's profile picture
My point is, itís not a good idea to have a two or 3000 W heating element in a plastic outer tub.

We have ovens with up to 6000 W of heat here but theyíre not made out of plastic.

Clothes dryers have very few plastic parts in them, and certainly nowhere near the heat source.

I see several cases of burned up wiring connections every month servicing, major appliances, if things are properly built, it doesnít have any tendency to spread or cause a big problem. It just stops working.

Dishwashers have been a significant fire risk here in the US because of control failures and plastic tanks, etc.. and yes, the heating elements in the bottom of plastic tank dishwashers have cause some problems, not the least of which they can distort and melt through the tank and destroy the tank.

The machines with stainless steel tanks have been significantly less of a problem, but even Bosch and Siemens had a big recall on their models here in the US because of control fires.

The whole point of my original post was not knocking European washing machines with heating elements. It was merely to show the danger of adding heating elements to front loading washers that have plastic outer tubs etc.. This definitely is a potential danger in the machines we sell here but as I stated very few people ever use that heater anyway so it seldom happens thankfully.


Post# 1188168 , Reply# 13   8/22/2023 at 08:06 by Aquarius1984 (Planet earth)        

aquarius1984's profile picture
John read this. Actually read it. Donít assume what you want to assume.

For FIFTY 50 years washing machines have been made in Europe WITH heaters AND plastic outer tubs.

Itís exceedingly RARE for a heating element in a washing machine to cause a fire. END OF.

We are talking millions of machines made and used across Europe over the past 50 years. Millions.

Stop trying to beat a dead horse.

Post# 1188174 , Reply# 14   8/22/2023 at 09:29 by henene4 (Heidenheim a.d. Brenz (Germany))        

Some faults always happen, any fault constellation will happen at some point and some will end BADLY.

BSH had 3 major recalls in the past years, 2 involving fire/explosion risk.

If this was common, and I mean more than 1 in a million basically, there would have been a recall.

I would still maybe send a mail to the Bosch UK tech support.

They might be interested and check the machine out just to make sure everything is "ok" so to speak.

Post# 1188177 , Reply# 15   8/22/2023 at 10:48 by alanlondon (London)        

Thanks for all the comments, views and discussion about heaters. Having been a washing machine repair guy here in the UK I can say that heaters were/are extremely reliable things, I canít actually remember replacing one to be honest. I have seen quite a few melted pumps and blackend control boards though. I only know of EBAC that makes a hot and cold fill machine now, but it still has a heater in the plastic tub. My mumís first Automatic was a MK72 Servis and that was back in the mid 70s, it was hot and cold fill, but on most programmes took both when filling for the wash water and then used the heater to raise the temperature. The low water level (even black then) meant that what hot water went in was largely cold due to the long pipework from the hot tank. Weíve been used to heaters in washing machines for so long now (even my Mumís Hoover twin tub had a heater in the 60s), so I guess weíre just not in the same mind set that you have in the USA from your days when you had your big agitator top loaders (which by the way I longed for as a child!).

Anyway, back to the point that we feel extremely lucky this didnít cause a substantial fire, indeed two house down was gutted by a fire last year with a charging scooter, but thatís off topic!

When you have good paying tenants we didnít want to mess around with this machine so it was taken away and a new one fitted within four days. I think 15 years service isn't too bad.

Thanks again for looking, lesson again is donít leave anything going when youíre not there.

Stay safe


Post# 1188222 , Reply# 16   8/22/2023 at 19:08 by Maytag85 (Sean A806)        
Reply #11 & #13

maytag85's profile picture
Why are you being combative and condescending towards John? Itís silly to argue with someone who has over 50 years experience repairing and servicing appliances for customers, since you have ď1984Ē (assuming thatís the year you were born), you are only 38 and if you have repaired appliances since you were a teenager, thatís only 20 something years of experience, which is a little less than John Lís career working on and servicing appliances.

You are beating on a dead horse by being combative and argumentative.

Post# 1188258 , Reply# 17   8/23/2023 at 03:52 by henene4 (Heidenheim a.d. Brenz (Germany))        

Being wrong for longer isn't always a good thing.

Just being in a business for a long time dosen't mean you are right.

All I can say beyond that is that I have black-listed Johns messages for 2 years now - so I don't know what he has been saying.

But the fact that that is the case should give an indication on how I see his contributions.

Post# 1188292 , Reply# 18   8/23/2023 at 14:03 by Maytag85 (Sean A806)        

maytag85's profile picture
ďJust being in a business for a long time doesnít mean you are rightĒ

Thereís some truth to that, however thereís no replacement for gold old fashioned wisdom and experience my friend.

Btw, I see you purposely have no email listed on your profile, same with Aquarius1984.

Post# 1188315 , Reply# 19   8/23/2023 at 18:25 by Rolls_rapide (.)        
The washing machine fault...

I wonder whether the heater really was at fault.

Perhaps the real culprit was a leaking door seal, which then allowed water and detergent to drip onto the heater wiring loom. But in that case, surely the electrics would short-circuit, tripping the electrics and blowing fuses? (That happened to a Hoover New Wave we had).

Another scenario might be that the heater relay stuck 'on'. But wouldn't the thermistor, safety thermostat, and any built-in heater fuse detect overheating errors and blow?

Or the pressure vessel/sump hose somehow was clogged with gunge, allowing far too low water levels?

Maybe the heater simply developed a 'hot spot'? (hard water and scale?)

Thankfully it wasn't catastrophic.

Post# 1188323 , Reply# 20   8/23/2023 at 18:59 by combo52 (50 Year Repair Tech Beltsville,Md)        
Burned wiring on a water heating element

combo52's profile picture
In a front loading washer.

This type of damage would be caused by loose, high resistance, wire, connections, or possibly water leaking onto the terminals.

This type of thing is not caused by a stuck heater relay or a hotspot on the heater or a heating element thatís burning out Iíve replaced easily 1000 or more heating elements and stoves, dryers, etc. it never damages the wiring. As a heating element is burning out, it actually draws less power at the end of its life.

Yes, itís fortunate that it didnít start a house fire, but since the cabinet of the washing machine is steel, itís very unlikely to spread to the home plus the homes sprinkler system with protect from a catastrophic fire very effectively. However, if the tub had continue to burn, you could have a lot of smoke damage.

Question for the European guys how common are arc fault breakers on that side of the ocean?

Here in the US, theyíre starting to mandate arc fault breakers, which, when something starts to arcing like this should theoretically shut the power off immediately. When my business partner, Jason was rewiring his home, he updated to all arc fault breakers. Thereís somewhat more expensive and every once in a while, something will cause a nuisance trip especially something thatís older that has a contact at arcs internally.


Post# 1188338 , Reply# 21   8/23/2023 at 20:22 by Brisnat81 (Brisbane Australia)        

In Australia, it became mandatory to use arc fault breakers in April this year. They didnít exist in the AU standards until 2018.

So going forward all new breakers will need to provide earth leakage and arc fault protection.

Post# 1188362 , Reply# 22   8/24/2023 at 03:27 by henene4 (Heidenheim a.d. Brenz (Germany))        

Yeah, I don't post my E-Mail publicly.

If you have an upgraded membership - like I have - you can message me directly.
Giving my E-Mail out with the only the requirement of creating a free account is in my view to big of a risk for abuse.

A few people on here have my private E-mail.

And sure, experience is unmatchable.

John has NO experience in European appliances, so maybe, he should actually listen to you and give out opinions on stuff he ACTUALLY knows about.

Post# 1188365 , Reply# 23   8/24/2023 at 04:12 by marky_mark (From Liverpool. Now living in Palm Springs and Dublin)        
Arc-Fault Detection Devices

marky_mark's profile picture

AFDDs (as they are called outside the US & Canada) have recently become required in the UK in high-risk situations such as student accommodation and care homes.  AFDDs are recommended for socket outlet circuits in all premises but are not yet mandatory.


I have them in the US on some circuits and not one of them has ever tripped for any reason except on one occasion when a dishwasher blew up in smoke!  I bought this Whirlpool for $20 and it had been sitting outside and the seller had hosed it down (!).  I tested it outside and it worked for a while and then this happened.  It was plugged into a circuit protected by a combined GFCI-AFCI.  After it tripped, the indicator light showed that it was an arc fault that had caused the trip and not a ground fault.  Check out my video:





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Post# 1188366 , Reply# 24   8/24/2023 at 06:38 by Adam-aussie-vac (Canberra ACT)        
Hosed it down?

Like literally sprayed it with a hose on the front?

Post# 1188367 , Reply# 25   8/24/2023 at 06:58 by combo52 (50 Year Repair Tech Beltsville,Md)        
Burning control board on a whirlpool dishwasher

combo52's profile picture
Wow, Mark, you caught one on camera, they had a lot of boards burn in point voyager dishwashers it could be particularly bad on the plastic machines like that because sometimes the fire spread pretty badly.

The connections on the board would overheat and start a fire. this one may have been caused by water if enough water got in there when the guy cleaned the machine but it was still a bad design.

Itís good the arc fault breaker shut down however, Iím not sure this was a success. The dishwasher couldíve still burned the house down if the fire had really gotten going.


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