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Miele Washer Dryer WT2780 - dryer failure, getting a warranty repair


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Well, finally managed to get the dryer part working again - though possibly helped by the fact I still have a couple of years of a 10-year warranty to go.

(I've posted the history leading up to getting this repair elsewhere in this forum -

First of all, I have to say that the Miele warranty repair admin seemed OK - in other words when I phoned them I got through pretty quickly, they found my warranty details and then made an appointment about 10 days away, then did text me the day before as a reminder. So, that part works.

The phone was answered by a nice enough young kid - but he was clearly trained in how to push blame for any washer-dryer failure promptly back to the customer:

After explaining symptoms (no fault code, but no hot air for dry/steam, horrible white gunge being put onto washing in drum during every other wash) he asked me "and are you aware of the Rinse Out Fluff feature?"  Could have been my imagination, but the way it tripped off his tongue meant that he was well used to asking that question and getting a confused 'No?' from the owner (after all, the RoF feature is only mentioned in the middle of the lengthy manual, which probably half the customer base will never bother to read).

"Yes", I said tartly, knowing what was going to be coming next.

"Right... and have you remembered to use it AFTER EVERY DRYING CYCLE?!" - Again, the rising tone in his voice suggested that many of the poor s*ds who answered "Yes" to the first question might have made the mistake of answering "No" to this second question.

I could have wasted a bit of time by reminding him that the language in the Manual regarding the RoF feature was not exactly apocalyptic: "Run the Rinse out fluff
programme before the machine is used again so that fluff cannot be deposited on the next load (e.g. fluff from dark garments being deposited on lighter coloured items) or cause a blockage."
And this just located on p.45 in the manual.

(As we now know, for many Miele Washer/Dryer owners, the RoF feature should really be in red ink, with words along the lines of "Please remember that if you don't use the RoF function immediately after every single use of the drying function, your £2000 machine is likely to break down just after the 2-year warranty expires and cost you upwards of £500 to repair. Your call")

After all the hours wasted researching this fault, I decided to be polite but firm "Yes, every time. And I am well aware that this issue is due to a design fault common in Miele Washer-Driers, whereby soap powder congeals along the hot air system and cannot be cleaned out by the end-user, thus leading to issues with the safety thermostat and other parts."

What was interesting was that as soon I said this, he did not faff around going off to 'ask his supervisor' or similar, but immediately booked the call. It is possible that he and other customer-facing colleagues know the issue with the washer-dryers, and so when confronted with someone who clearly knows it too, they give up trying to blind customers with science.

 

Anyhow, the repair guy duly arrived and fortunately he was not a dud. He was excellent, very efficient, actually able to work on the machine at the same time as discussing it, and very loyal to the company (probably too loyal - he avoided giving too much away about these dryer issues when asked direct questions).

I had been ready for an engineer who simply walked in, reset the thermostat and walked out - but as soon as he stepped through the door he said 'This will take about 2 hours', so I knew that either he was going to do a full dryer system clean out or parts replacement. Turned out to be the latter, i.e. he brought a top element box and fan, and a long plastic oblong duct thing, which I believe connects the heater to the suds container below?

Pleased to say that when he took the various panels off, the machine itself inside looked very clean - which of course it should do after we have religiously bought and used all the various over-priced Miele de-lousers, and given the fact that it has probably only had the equivalent of 3-4 years use, if that.

The key question - how the supposedly intelligent electronics could not detect that the heater was no longer heating and display an error code - was one he couldn't answer, or maybe preferred not to (I assume the real answer is along the lines of "yeah, I know people pay £2k for these machines, but the design guys don't think it worth putting in another temperature sensor that would pick up on the fact that no hot air is coming out during a drying cycle ..."

As someone who generally respects German design, I was still intrigued as to whether this dryer failure issue was just a design flaw in my machine series and older, so asked if the drying system was the same in the new means. "Yes, fortunately!" he answered enthusiastically.

This did perplex me a little - I can only assume that most repair guys take the view "sure, the system our machines use gets gunged up and conks even if you do use the RoF feature, but at the end of the day all we need to do is replace these two parts and it is rendered as good as new - and of course Miele customers can afford to pay, otherwise they would not be buying machines that are 2-3 times the price of the competition"

A warning to anyone just about to purchase a new Miele washer/dryer I guess.

 

Some might say that I am being a little harsh, but I know exactly how well cared for this machine has been, and how we have always used the RoF feature after every dry - so heaven help a harassed mum/dad with 4 kids and 12 wash/dries a week and no time to read the manual or use all the various Miele machine cleaning products.

I'd have more respect for Miele if they took two simple steps - #1, move the Rinse Out Fluff instruction to page 1 of the manual or maybe #2 simply build a Rinse Out Fluff cycle into every drying cycle (you open the door, take the dried clothes out, slam the door, it RoFs and then turns off). While we are at it, maybe #3 - spend a Euro or two on putting another over-heat sensor near the heating element that gets gunged up, so that at least the machine gives a reliable error code - I never got the infamous '55' error displayed, which for all I know meant that the fan stopped working but the element was left getting hotter than a nuclear reaction inside my white box.

BTW, out of interest, I downloaded the Manual for their newest, priciest washer-dryer, to see if it had been updated in anway - nope, same wishy-washy text re Rinse Out Fluff, buried deep in the centre.

Fingers crossed that when ours goes again, it is in the week before the expiry of the warranty...

 

Thanks to the various people here who contributed info that enabled me to talk knowledgeably to Service Centre and so secure a decent repair first time around.

J

 

For google: Miele washer dryer WT2780 WT 2780 drying problems issues cold air no 55 error message debris gunge white grey on clothes Waschtrockner lave-linge sechant

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Hello Jayj. I haven't heard of the Rinse Out Fluff instruction. However, I cannot imagine how it could be related to preventing the buildup of lime scale and lint inside the dryer's heating chamber and around the heater. They cannot flush water there. To me the Rinse Out Fluff instruction was only referred to in response to debris getting onto the laundry after a drying cycle. My assumption is such a rinse out fluff cycle would just literally do a quick rinse and try to flush any lint or other deposits out of the drum to stop them depositing on laundry.

The heating chamber at the top for the dryer heater and fan that gets clogged up is unlikely to have a Rinse Out Fluff instruction. If by any chance it did you should be able to see a hose from the water valves leading to that chamber. I cannot see how they would be able to do that and adequately flush it out. Water would get into the fan etc. So if I'm correct then the two issues are separate issues. And it would explain why the instruction is not as you describe prominent at all because it is not related to preventing future breakdown.

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Hi Andy, thanks for getting back.

Believe the RoF function may have been invented by Miele themselves (they have a patent out on it at least). In short, a small amount of water enters the drum and then the machine sloshes it around before spinning the drum at 1600 clockwise, and then after that doing same anti-clockwise. (AEG/Zanussi at least have a similar thing, but much less vigorous than the Miele).

No technician, but I assume that what it does is pick up any dried bits of e.g. towel fluff from the inner drum and outer drum and also maybe the water circulation system and pump the bits out into the drain?

As you say, this is not likely to also clean other bits of the hot air system, e.g. the fan, fan duct or heating element.

Some facts are notable however.

Miele themselves (in the shape of an unpleasant Miele fridge guy I had a few years back, and now the Service Centre) clearly take the view that if RoF is not carried out after every dry, the machine will be damaged and fail. So, either:

1) lint build up in the drum is what they fear will kill the machine (unlikely), or

2) the cycle does something else maintenance-wise (not very likely, given the mechanics and water path involved) or else more cynically,

3) they know that the design of the machine is flawed, that debris build up will happen in the element/fan area and there is no built-in function to clean the debris - but by putting the onus on the customer to do RoF they can blame the customer for what is effectively an un-related design flaw (and charge out-of warranty customers for work arising from the flaw).

Miele are very, very definitely claiming that failure to use RoF is 'related to preventing future breakdown', so even though I suspect it is a load of old tosh, there is definitely an argument for moving the RoF instruction to the front of the manual. (If I was paranoid I might go as far as saying that Miele prefer to leave the instruction mid-manual so that the percentage of customers likely to note and use it would be lower, so the proportion of customers being able to be blamed would be proportionally higher...)

 

I know you may consider it a bit dramatic to describe this as a 'design flaw' but I have had washer-dryers since they were first invented, including cheapo Indesit and slightly less cheap Zanussi metal drum models which involved condenser drying, but had no 'RoF' function at all. Both lasted 10 years, with no failure - whereas Miele users are reporting this type of failure happening around 2+ years (obviously dependent on usage). Where's the explanation for that?

(wacky thought - could it be to do with the fact that Miele offer a 'Steam' function, which might mean that unlike non-steam dryers, their kit potentially allows a water source into the dryer system?)

From all my research spent on this subject (see other long thread), I think your previous analysis of the issue is likely to be along the right lines - namely that somehow, someway steam/water containing detergent/lint manages to make its way back up the heating channels, and so eventually build up around the element box, heater fan, and heater duct at the back of the machine. Hence the engineer coming armed with all of that to replace.

The $64,000 question is... why does it happen in the Miele (and for all I know other modern machines) but not in older, less technologically sophisticated machines?

Also, what is a bit of a mystery is how warm air being forced out through the vents around the porthole and into the drum somehow at the same time allows the steam/water/detergent/lint  combination to still travel back in the opposite direction? Or maybe the gunge combination only gets lifted into the warm air system when the machine is not drying?

(I have to say I find it quite astounding that even just an anonymous present or ex-Miele engineer never shows up in these forums to give us an explanation about these kind of things!! As I said, I did try to ask my good Miele guy, but he was so loyal he avoided giving any hard facts).

Again, no engineer myself, but from what I saw of the interior of the machine (and having seen other posts) it looks as though the heater air duct at the back of the machine (which comes after the fan, which comes after the element box, which is connected to the vents in the porthole area of the drum) goes to something at the bottom of the machine, under the drum.

Never sure what a 'suds container' is, but would that be likely connected to the heater air duct?

Otherwise not even sure why there is a duct at the back of the machine to do with the hot air bit - my Indesit just had the bit 'old-style woman's hair dryer bit' lying horizontally under the lid of the machine, and presumably relied on air entering the machine from the open underside area.

 

I don't think we'll get to unravel the Mystery of Miele Drying System Problems until someone, somwhere explains what that rear heater duct is connected to - because until we do, we don't know where the exact source of the gunge causing the failure of the dryer system actually is!

(and unfortunately it  may be that the models built around the introduction of the WT2780 differ in their drying system somewhat from earlier models like the WT945 - but not sure about that. Otherwise I would have gladly slipped a tenner to someone to strip down and photograph a vintage Miele washer-dryer and put us all out of our misery!!!)

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