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Samsung Ecobubble WF80F5E2W4W Heater Element problem after 3 months

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Hi

3 months ago we bought a Samsung Ecobubble  WF80F5E2W4W   from Currys which worked fine until last week when it developed a fault where it would run normally for a few minutes then trip the power to all the sockets in the house.  Fuse, cable and socket were checked and were fine. We suspected the heater element because it would run the cold water, rinse and spin programmes without a problem, and only tripped the power when it was trying to heat up its water.  It wasn't displaying any error codes.  As it was still under warranty we called Currys and they sent out an engineer who confirmed the heater element had failed and had gone open circuit, and replaced it and it works fine now.

I thought perhaps we had just been unlucky and bought one with a dodgy element.  However when the engineer pulled the failed heater element out he said it was jammed solid with fluff and gunge and he had never seen one as badly clogged as that and that was probably why it failed.  It looked like fabric fluff rather than limescale and we don't live in a particularly hard water area. He asked if we washed many towels - we don't, its just normal household washing for 2 adults (i.e. its not as if we are using it to wash all the towels from a hotel or hairdressing salon!). The towels we wash are a couple of years old so they aren't brand new ones that shed fluff everywhere.  He was very surprised that there had been such a buildup after just 3 months.  I asked if there was meant to be a filter or strainer to stop fluff getting through and he said there isn't.  He checked the drum and seals etc for any obvious damage and couldn't see any.

He recommended doing a hot wash with no load every 20 or 30 cycles to flush it through (with a dishwasher tablet! But I thought probably best not to in case the chemicals damage something and invalidate the warranty).  Other than that he wasn't able to reassure me that the element won't need replacing every 3 months or so.

Has anyone else had this problem and found a way round it?  Apart from the inconvenience of having to call out an engineer every 3 months or so it will become expensive once the warranty has run out.

Many thanks

Squeakymouse

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To be honest I can't see how fluff on the element would cause it to fail. Being caked in limescale might cause hot spots and failure eventually but that's associated with much older machines. I've not heard of using a dishwasher tablet either but doing a hot maintenance cycle is what I recommend too. Make sure you use good quality detergent and that you use the correct amount according to the instructions. This will be based on the level of water hardness and soiling. Not using enough can cause a build up of limescale although not in 3 months.

It's possible the failure was just a weird unusual fault not to reoccur. Clearly it would be completely unacceptable if it did reoccur regularly. If it was covered in gunge after only 3 months you need to ensure you are using it properly and not using only low temperature or quick wash cycles which will cause a horrible build up of grease and grime as described in my link above.


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Thanks Andy, I will try out the high temperature wash every month or so.  I mainly use the Daily Wash cycle as its the quickest at ~ 1 hour and does the job for most of our washing as it isn't heavily soiled or stained, but I set the temp to 60 deg C instead of the default 40 deg C, with occasional wool / delicates low temperature washes. I will carry on using the daily wash cycle (at 60 deg C) for most things as some of the other options take 2 or 3 hours, but will programme an extra rinse on the end to try and reduce buildup, and see how long the new heater element lasts.  I use the good old fashioned phosphate based non-bio powders that generally have bleach in them (non-bio because we have allergies)

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I'm afraid this is the problem these days. Washing machines are all designed to wash economically using as little electricity and water as possible. The only way this can be done whilst maintaining good quality washing is to take a lot longer than washing machines from before these concerns were thought of. A modern washing machine needs a good 2 hours to wash laundry properly. To most people this is unacceptable and they don't understand why so they use all the short wash cycle instead. This clearly doesn't leave the laundry dirty to the eye otherwise people would realise. But on laundry worn close to the skin and towels and bedding etc a build up of grease from our skins can be deposited inside the machine resulting in it's eventual demise.

Are you sure the wash cycle you mention accepts your 60 degree adjustment and actually reaches 60 degrees? 1 hour for a 60 degree wash seems extremely short. To be honest if your machine was covered in gunge after only 3 months this indicates something is seriously wrong. I would try to use the proper wash cycle for the specific laundry and not try to use shorter ones as well as ensuring you use the proper amount of detergent. Otherwise your machine may have a very short life.

This article may be of interest :)

Why does washing machine take so long to wash?


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Hi I am back again - with the same fault after another 3 months. So that's two heater elements in 6 months on a brand new machine. I had changed to using the 2 - 3 hour 60 deg C wash cycles as advised, instead of the short ones, but this time the engineer said the element had blown because of scale buildup (rather than the fluff and gunge like the first time).    

So he advised me to descale the machine every week!  

We don't live in an excessively hard water area and several other appliances (kettle, dishwasher, the previous washing machine) have lasted several years without failing due to scale buildup and only being descaled every few months.

There was also some fluff present so I am trying out tying towels and jumpers inside an old duvet cover before washing them, with the theory that the duvet cover will act like a filter to stop fluff getting into the water.  If the duvet cover ends up with lots of fluff inside it I will hoover it.

The engineer said I have a 2 year warranty with Samsung (their standard) rather than the 1 year warranty from Curry's who supplied the machine.  The engineer's standard callout charge is £90 and the cost of the element is £30 - £40.  So if it fails again (which I am expecting it to) I will watch what he does next time we call him out so that we can replace the element ourselves if it fails after the warranty has run out.  Otherwise the machine will quickly become uneconomical to maintain once its out of warranty.

I managed to get a photo of the failed element this time - see attached.

The machine was £370 and I chose it based on good reviews in Which?, so I expect better reliability and less faffing around for this price. 

IMAG0094.jpg

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Wow, that looks in a right state. It looks like it's been in over 10 years. You need to work out what is causing all the loose fabric or cotton threads to wrap around the element. That won't help. It looks like it's got limescale on it - but there shouldn't be a spot on it by now. The only thing I can think of that could cause an element to get covered in limescale so quickly is either serious under-dosing of detergent, or something going wrong causing the detergent to get lost somehow. That would be very unusual. However, weird faults may have weird explanations.

Using a decent detergent designed for front loading washing machines and using the recommended dose for the hardness of your water and soiling of laundry should totally protect the element from limescale. If limescale is covering the element after 3 months it must be operating in water that hasn't been softened somehow.

I'm just going to list all the things I can think of for you to ponder on -

I would imagine if you used a washing machine in hard water with no detergent in at all potentially limescale could start to form this quickly. Obviously you will be using detergent. So if you are using good stuff and using the right amount (it's often a lot more than you might think) how is it possible for limescale to cause problems this quickly? 

Make totally sure you are putting the detergent in the right place. If you put it in the wrong side of the dispenser drawer it could get taken out during the first flush of the machine when it starts up. When washing machines first start they flush water through into the drum and set the pump running for several seconds. This cycle is carried out to flush water into the sump hose where a plastic ball rises up and seals it off. That stops detergent being flushed into the sump hose and being wasted. Then they stop, and flush water into the main compartment of the soap drawer to wash the detergent into the drum.

So if detergent was placed incorrectly and much of it getting flushed into the sump hose that could explain a lack of protection from limescale. Likewise if the detergent was put in the wrong side of the soap dispenser it might only get put into the washing machine on rinses. That would mean no protection from limescale on the wash cycle!

If it isn't that, could the washing machine be slowly siphoning water? If this was happening the detergent could be being constantly diluted. If so I would expect you to be able to detect a lot of short filling episodes during the wash though. Check and understand the section entitled "siphoning water" in this article Washing machine fills and drains at same time

The only other freaky theoretical weird fault I can think of that might allow the heating element to be running in water not softened by detergent is if a fault on the machine was causing the element to be energised all through the wash when water is inside i.e. on rinses. That at least theoretically would account for it. The only way to test for that would be to try to use a smart meter to detect how much electricity it's using during rinsing cycles. It should draw at least 10 amps when the element is on and hardly anything on rinses. In the absence of a smart meter (or amp meter) a crude alternative could be observing the electric meter, which should spin round fast on wash when the element is on and slow considerably on rinses. It's unlikely to be the case but it could account for it.

Other than that it should be impossible for an element to be so adversely affected by limescale even in the hardest water in the UK so many times and in such short periods. Have a good read of my other articles here for a better understanding and please let me know of any developments. Limescale In Washing Machines | Is Calgon Worth Using?

 

 


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Thanks for all your help Andy.

I am using a good quality household name detergent (not sure I am supposed to identify the brand on here but it's one of the main suppliers not a supermarket own brand and their premium brand not the budget one and it doesn't have fabric conditioner mixed in with it).  I fill the scoop that comes with the powder about 3/4 to 100% full - I don't generally believe all the manufacturers claims about how little you can get away with using, but again I don't want to use too much in case it leaves residues as we have sensitive skin.  

I will try out the things you have suggested over the next few washes.

I double checked the instructions and I had been putting it in the correct part of the drawer.  However there is often a residue left in the drawer so it isn't all being taken into the machine, so I am trying pre-dissolving it in a cup of warm water and adding it  as a liquid.  I will also try opening the dispenser drawer at different times in the cycle to see when it gets taken into the machine.

Using the old duvet cover is proving a bit of a faff so I bought a zip-up bag from Amazon designed for washing pet bedding in (to stop dog hairs floating around the machine then sticking to the the clothes you are trying to wash), and I will try this out.  I am wondering whether once the element has a layer of limescale on it any fluff is more likely to snag around it because it has a rougher surface than clean metal.

Many thanks

Squeakymouse

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Hello squeakymouse. I of course have no idea how big the scoop is but basically do the instructions on the detergent say to only use one scoop for hard water?  Unless the scoop is pretty big I would have thought 3/4 to full is not enough detergent unless very soft water and very light soiling.


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I read the manual again and found what may have been stopping some of the powder being used!

The instruction manual has one section for using powder and a separate section for using liquid.  I only ever use powder, so I completely ignored the liquid section.  The liquid section describes a small plastic widget called a "liquid detergent guide" that is supplied separately with some models, and tells you to fit it into the back of the dispensing drawer if you are using liquid, and take it out if you are using powder.  I peered into the back of the dispensing drawer, and lo and behold our machine was one of those models, but it had been supplied with this widget already fitted rather than supplied as a separate component for you to fit if you wanted to use liquid! So I took it out.  It may have been interfering with the flow of powder into the machine.

I checked the scoop and I think I have been dosing about the right amount. 

I will clean out the dispensing drawer and try out some of the other things you suggested over the weekend as well.

Many thanks

Squeakymouse

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Just looking at the top of the element, at the terminal end it seems the insulation maybe cracked ? if i'm wrong, sorry..... but would low/now working temps affect things...? I'm like others, just looking for reasons to help....

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Hello Raymond. If the insulation is cracked it could leak to earth and cause fusing. It would need testing with an insulation test meter.


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12 hours ago, Heknowsalittle said:

Hi, I know this is an old topic but I've just used it to remove my element, after testing it's not working. 

Has anyone any idea how much these are? 

 

They vary a lot but check here Buy washing machine elements


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