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Kenmore / Dishwasher Caught Fire

1 New York, NY, United States Review updated:

Our 3 1/2 year old Kenmore dishwasher is apparently manufactured by Whirlpool, serial number FR3305103, Model 665.[protected], Type No. 577-0.

Last night, acrid-smelling smoke started coming from the front door, and now the dishwasher does not work.

This first link is for an official recall of dishwashers similar to this one, but with a plastic body (ours has a metal body and a stainless steel front):

Original; see modified release: Whirlpool Corporation Recall of Dishwashers

This link is for Whirlpool's official recall:

Apparently, even though our dishwasher's serial and part numbers fall within the range given on both pages, it is not covered in the recall, perhaps because it has a metal body.

The defect with our dishwasher seems exactly like the one described in the recall. We are going to attempt to have Whirlpool repair or replace ours for free, since this is not a natural malfunction due to the age of the appliance or for any other reason.

We will report back after we see what Whirlpool says tomorrow (Monday)...

Just had a Whirlpool affiliated technician come over (this Kenmore is really just a Whirlpool with the Sears brand name). The service call was $118, non-refundable. Our dishwasher originally cost us $1, 048.10, including all taxes, and delivery. I know, that's expensive, but we thought we were getting the best, something that would last for a while, maybe ca. 10 years. We bought this on 9/11/04, it lasted four years, four months. Little did we know...

The technician's tally for replacing the parts comes out to ca. $400. After calling Sears, they said that they could either offer Service Parts up to $100 OR Service labor up to $150, One or the other, but not both. Obviously, this is not cost efficient.

I am attaching a picture of the burned out inside of the electronics panel on the front door of the dishwasher. Notice the charred insides.

What have we learned from this?

1. As the technician recommended, ALWAYS purchase the largest warranty, and then when it's about to expire, purchase an extension. Once your warranty expires, you have absolutely no recourse whatsoever, even if your place burns down.

2. Sears service is abysmal.

3. Whirlpool products are cheaply-made, and according to the Whirlpool affiliated technician, they are getting worse. (She admitted that she's so dismayed by the quality of modern dishwashers that she doesn't even own one, she washes by hand.)

4. It's a crapshoot purchasing what you think will be a top-of-the-line, excellent appliance. As they say, they just don't make them like they used to.

Finally, if there are others out there who purchased the same dishwasher and had the same problem, PLEASE post here. If enough people have this problem, there will inevitable be a recall of this batch of serial numbers in this model.

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  • An
      9th of May, 2008
    0 Votes
    Kenmore - Handle comes off
    United States

    When the gas oven is set for 350 degrees for longer than ten minutes the scres that hold the plastic handle heat up and the holes in the plastic handle melt and release causeing the whole door assembly to fall apart. It happen all of a sudden as well as when you pull on the handle. It is a serious design flaw.

  • Ke
      1st of Sep, 2008
    0 Votes

    My Mother purchased a hot water tank from Sears about 4years ago with a warranty. As of June 2008 it stop working. She called the repair department they came out and fixed the problem. Two weeks later it stop working again. They came out order a part (heat coil) that took awhile to come back. Put part on it worked soon as the technician left it quit again. Call customer service that lied to us about dates coming back out. Now the technician says it is a bad switch. They scheduled an appt. for August 22 then moved the date to September 2nd. It has been 3 1/2 months without hot water. I was told that it is up to the technician to determine whether she get new tank or not. No one is willing to help you for real, but you will talk to 100 people then the phone hangs up. Why get a warranty and Sears not honor it. WOW !!!

  • Ro
      18th of Nov, 2008
    0 Votes

    I am in agreement with this complaint. However, while knowing others have had issues is nice, I want the FIX! Did the manufacturer admit the failure and then build a retrofit for the handle so that competent consumers can fix it? I highly doubt it as in our litigious society they would not want to let us do that for fear of the backlash.

    I refuse to pay $50 plus dollars for another defective part. So I'll keep looking for my own fix, most likely using my local hardware man!

    Thank you American manufacturing! Your products that used to last 30-40 years are now barely able to last 5 of the 10 years that you claim they should (and this is progress)...????!!!

  • Ho
      20th of Feb, 2009
    +1 Votes

    Our Kenmore dishwasher also caught fire two nights ago (model number 665.17372301). When I pulled the panel off, all of the wiring and the interior was charred. The smell of burnt plastic has overtaken the house and part of our counter has been burned.

    I have posted the information on the managemyhome-site, but they haven't (and I am sure won't) decided to post it. I have also called- or attempted to call Kenmore, only to get the runaround that they are not Kenmore, they are Sears and the number won't connect directly, even though it should...

    And of course we did not have a warranty.

    Is it treu that even though this product catches fire and causes damage to your home, there is no obligation by the company who produced to be in any way responsible?

  • Je
      31st of Jul, 2009
    +2 Votes

    My 9 month old, lightly used Kenmore dishwasher just caught on fire. NOT the wiring - but the plastic spray arm somehow getting burned by the heating element. My repair guy said never to use heat dry when you're going to bed or leaving the house. Who knew? Oh, and by the way, they're ordering new parts which probably exceed the value of the machine and are not sure that the motor will work when they replace the parts but Sears is unwilling to just replace the unit (which is under full warranty).
    I guess next month when I buy my new stove and fridge it won't be from there!

  • Pa
      20th of Nov, 2009
    +2 Votes

    I had the exact same problem with the exact same model of dishwasher. I posted a complaint with the Consumer Product Safety Commission ( and hope that you do the same if you've had a similar issue. We can then hope to get this model recalled and get Kenmore (and Whirlpool, the actual manufacturer) to cover our losses. I read on another site of the exact problem posted by a different person, so this problem is definitely due to a faulty design. After calling both Sears and Whirlpool, they both denied any responsibility for this and refused to cover any damages. Hopefully, CPSC will force them to do the right thing. Without any action, it's going to possibly kill someone by burning down their house.

  • De
      10th of Dec, 2009
    +1 Votes

    we also had a dishwasher melt down, about 2 years ago, it was 8:30 at night and the cat who was in the kitchen started meowing in a panic tone, i went and checked it out, and i found that there was a heavy smell of burning plastic around the dishwasher, so i opened the door and found a smoking hole burned in the bottom of the dishwasher, so i switched it over to the wash cycle to fill the tub to extinguish anything burning,

  • De
      29th of Dec, 2009
    +1 Votes

    Contributed by Derrick

    Our Kenmore Elite dishwasher caught fire yesterday. Model NO. 1595 (665.15953000), Serial NO. FK4604478. It was an apparent electrical fire inside the door of the unit. Our fire extinguisher put the fire out. Smoke filled the house. A big mess to clean up. Fortunate we do not run the dishwasher if we will be stepping out for a while. Dishwasher no longer works. Would no longer use it even if it still worked. Will need to replace it. It is not part of any recall. I would suggest never running dishwasher if it will not be attended.

  • Zs
      21st of May, 2010
    +1 Votes

    Same story for our Kenmore Elite. Model: 665.16499300, Serial: FR3303150, Type No. 577-0. Sears offered to send a technician two weeks from now, only to determine whether there is a problem or not! The attached picture is not evidence enough for them. I should also add that the dishwasher's intake valve failed to close a couple of months ago, the dishwasher finished its cleaning cycle but water kept coming in for about 5 hours, leaking out of the dishwasher and flooding the basement below. Why the pump did not keep on going when water was still in the tub at the end of the cycle is beyond me. Beware of such a risk, and the fire hazard, when you run the dishwasher on the 'delay' cycle as we do.

    Worst part is that it is not obvious what else to buy. GE, KitchenAid, Kenmore, and Whirlpool all look like they are manufactured from the same parts. Kenmore models came highly rated, I shudder to think of what other models would be like.

  • Ir
      31st of May, 2010
    0 Votes
    Kenmore - Rust
    United States

    Sears does not acknowledge poor paint applications. They will say its because you live near the ocean that the rust will show through. This said even as the appliance stands next to one that has been in the home for 15 years and looks new. "Do not buy Sear's appliances if you live near the ocean" should be in their advertising.

  • Ed
      31st of Aug, 2010
    +1 Votes

    Our Kenmore elite dishwasher 5.5 year old just caught fire on (8-29-2010) Model 665.16482300

    Fire came from control panel (inside door, upper right corner)

    We could not shut it down. Even with door open, dishwasher continued to work, spraying hot water all over our new kitchen.
    The only way to stop it was to shut off circuit breakers and turn-off water. As of now Dishwasher is disconnected from electrical supply.

    We have contacted Sears. There is no recall on this model as per sears representative.

    They have given us 10% up to $100.00 on the next Sears dishwasher.

    My assessment of the problem - water got inside control panel through cracked water seal.

  • Si
      21st of Feb, 2011
    0 Votes

    Same thing has happened to us: Kenmore Elite dishwasher mod# 66517269400 Ser # FR 3901388
    Upper part of door started smoking and caught fire. Horrible plastic/electric fire smell. IT WOULD HAVE CAUGHT THE HOUSE ON FIRE HAD WE NOT BEEN HOME.
    After several calls to sears, who directed us to kenmore, who directed us to whirlpool, who directed us back to sears, who tried to direct us back to kenmore (I am not kidding about the phone run around), finally I filed a formal complaint with sears. Our model number is so close to the recall, but is not paqrt of it. Many others have had the same complaint.
    A manager is supposed to call me back with resolution, and a free service visit this week, to assess the problem.
    I for one, cannot believe that this obvious problem has not been addressed on a larger scale with recalls and safety checks- if my house had burnt down or my family been injured or killed, what then?????????? More people need to know of the potential danger involved here!!!
    I will post a follow up when the situation is settled, one way or another.

  • Vo
      21st of Mar, 2011
    0 Votes
    Kenmore - Stay away from these guys
    United States

    If your older Sears Kenmore side by side refrigerator section suddenly stops keeping your food at proper 40 degrees. Make sure your intake & outlet vents are not covered by anything. For example a plastic bun bag.

    It would have been nice to be able to check for something this simple in the owner's manual and save the $45 service charge that I had to pay to Sears.

  • Au
      30th of Mar, 2011
    0 Votes

    Same here 3/29/2011 control Panel on fire Kenmore Elie Dishwasher Model 665-16382300, Serial # FR 4403519, heavy smoke and smell in the entire house. Did you all know that over 150 Kenmore / Whirlpool Dishwashers control panel caught fire since January 2011! Something has to be done, we paid over $800 for a product which isn't safe! Sign this for record keeping and report to the Consumer Safety Commission

  • Au
      2nd of Apr, 2011
    0 Votes


    KitchenAid, Sears Kenmore, Whirlpool dishwasher fires (all manufactured by Whirlpool)
    Over 150 Dishwashers caught fire since January 2011 please sign up here if your Dishwasher caught fire too, together we can force a product safety recall and/or class action.

  • Kr
      3rd of Apr, 2011
    0 Votes

    Well...add us to the list. Our Kenmore dishwasher mode 665-16039400 serial number FR4503868 started billowing out white smoke wednesday night. STRONG electrical smell burning from the upper right side of the unit. Opened dishwasher and it DID NOT STOP..had to unplug it. Terrible smell for days in our house. This was at 1am...had I not heard a "POP" noise and went to check this could have been a lot worse. Getting run around by Kenmore/Sears..will keep trying to get someone to take responsibility for this!

  • La
      11th of Apr, 2011
    0 Votes

    Add us too!. DWF - Our Kenmore 66517052400 UltraWash dishwasher started on FIRE yesterday, April 10th, 2011. Luckily my wife was in the area and shut off the power. Our unit was not included in the "fire hazard" recall per Sears back in 2005 because we have a metal tub, but this fire occurred in the top panel, and is just like all the other fires I've now seen. Sears & Whirlpool have a severe safety issue with these. The unit ages a bit and then the wire size or component wiring is not suitable for the amperage draw and it catches fire. If you think you've smelled something funny check your dishwasher, it is probably about to burst into flames. DWF

  • Ho
      22nd of Apr, 2011
    0 Votes

    Tonite, April 22, 2011 my Kenmore Ultrawash. model 66515882000 started making strange sound at 1am. Entire house smells of burnt plastic. My children are asleep breathing in the fumes. Lucky I was still awake. Right top of door has melted and dishwasher is dead. Turned off breaker panel. really upset that such a risk has been put on my family

  • Rp
      28th of Jun, 2011
    0 Votes

    Add me to the list. Kenmore Elite Mod#: 665.17462300 Ser#:FR3318038. Control unit caught fire, upper right side. Burn marks on the outside of the unit, most of the electrical connectors inside are melted, even to the point that the back of the control unit is burned all the way through. Whirlpool and Sear both pointing fingers at each other and not helping. CPSC next. Not expecting much help from them as they need numerous complaints to force Whirpool/Sears hand.

  • De
      8th of Oct, 2011
    0 Votes
    Kenmore - stopped working
    United States

    I bought a Kenmore microwave last year and after exactly one year and one month it stopped working. What a peice of junk Sears is selling to the public. Calling Sears they would not acknowledge that this is a quality issue rather they try to blame me for not buying the extended warranty!. I will never buy this brand again.

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