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Top Loading Samsung Washers Exploding

Samsung acknowledged that some of its top-loading washers “pose a risk of personal injury or property damage,” the latest safety issue to hit the South Korean manufacturer in recent weeks.

Over a dozen consumer complaints about Samsung washers, some referring to “exploding” machines, prompted the Consumer Product Safety Commission on Wednesday, September 28, to issue a warning about certain top-loading machines made between March 2011 and April 2016. Only top-loaders are affected, not front-loading Samsung washers. Consumer Reports, meanwhile, suspended recommended status for any top-loading Samsung washers that earned that designation in its washing-machine tests. According to the complaints filed with the CPSC, the problem seems to occur during the spin cycle when some machines suddenly and sometimes violently break apart. In a statement, the agency said it is “actively and cooperatively working with Samsung to address safety issues.” Samsung said that “in rare cases, affected units may experience abnormal vibrations that could pose a risk of personal injury or property damage when washing bedding, bulky, or water-resistant items.” The manufacturer’s statement goes on to recommend that consumers with the affected models use the lower-speed delicate cycle when washing the aforementioned items. According to Samsung, there have been no reported incidents when using the delicate cycle.

The CPSC also advised consumers to “only use the delicate cycle when washing bedding, water-resistant, and bulky items. The lower spin speed in the delicate cycle lessens the risk of impact injuries or property damage due to the washing machine becoming dislodged.” The problem with some top-loading Samsung washers comes less than two weeks after Samsung was forced to issue a massive recall of the Galaxy Note7 because of problems that can cause the battery to overheat and catch fire. Neither the CPSC nor Samsung could provide Consumer Reports with model numbers of affected units at this time. There are 10 Samsung washers in our high-efficiency top-loader ratings, four of which were recommended models. When we checked the serial numbers of the specific models we tested on Samsung’s website, six of the 10 turned out to be affected machines. But we have no way to know yet whether that indicates an issue with all production runs of any particular model. In our washer tests, using the normal wash, heavy-soil setting, none of the top-loading Samsung washers experienced this issue. Note that we run our performance tests on new machines and we do not wash loads of bedding, water-resistant, or bulky items since not every washer has a specialty cycle for these items. We test a washer's response to an unbalanced load—the score is included in the overall score—by placing cotton towels in a mesh bag, wetting it, and using the normal wash cycle and the highest spin speed setting. Then we watch how the washer reacts to our unbalanced load.

Consumer Reports will post the model numbers of the affected Samsung washers as soon as we find out what they are, along with any other news updates.

What You Can Do

If you have a Samsung high-efficiency top-loader, check the serial number on the back of the machine. Then enter the 15 digits in Samsung’s online search tool to find out if your particular machine is affected. If you have questions, call Samsung at 844-483-3881, and report any incidents to the CPSC at Post your comments below.

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