Consumers complain about exploding washing machines

Jay Kimelman said his Whirlpool front-loading washing machine exploded.

"I heard what I thought was a car crashing into the house, a loud bang," he said. "Came in and saw it and oh my gosh."

Kimelman said a 22-pound concrete block, which is used as a counterbalance inside the machine, shot out and left this hole in the wall.

"I'm just glad my family wasn't here when that happened," he said.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has seven complaints on this topic involving Whirlpool and its sister company, Maytag.

One says the washing machine "blew up" and ended up "on its side blown apart."

It also claims "the house shook from the force."

Another complaint says the washer "violently [threw] itself around the room."

Whirlpool issued this statement in reference to Kimelman’s washer:

"We quickly connected with the consumer and arranged an exchange of the washer so we can analyze what happened. Although we cannot speculate about what happened with this particular product, Whirlpool is committed to delivering safe, innovative products to consumers. We stand behind our products and encourage anyone who has questions about their Whirlpool appliance to reach out to us at 866-698-2538."

Other companies have faced similar allegations.  In 2016, Samsung and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recalled almost 3 million top-loading washing machines.  There were reports 730 units exploded and that nine people were hurt.

Boston 25 News showed the damage from the front-loading explosions to Chris Blanchette, President of Mr. Appliance of N.E. Massachusetts.  He has not come across this issue personally and was surprised at the extent of the damage.

“These machines are in use every day in millions of homes and people are not having this issue,” Blanchette said.

Blanchette said he would be interested to know what was happening to the machines before the explosions.

Blanchette said more commonly, he sees front loading machines getting out of balance.  Blanchette says proper set-up is key to avoiding that problem.  He recommends making sure the appliance is set up on solid flooring, and that there is no movement of the machine before it goes into the spin cycle, especially for stackable units.

“A loud metallic banging or very loud vibration - if the machine is above and they start to notice pictures shaking on the first floor…that's probably a time to have a tech come out and make sure everything is working properly in it,” Blanchette said.

Blanchette says just using too much soap can cause balance problems in a machine, as can washing large items like rugs or comforters, or constantly running heavy loads.

If you experience an explosive event with your appliance, take pictures and/or video of the damage, show the company, and let Boston 25 News know.

Comments on this article