Every day we rely on our household appliances to make our lives easier. What many don’t realise is that improper use of those appliances could present a serious safety risk.
A recent Which? study found that around 60 fires a week are caused by a faulty appliance. The main appliances for concern were washing machines, tumble dryers, ovens, dishwashers and fridges.
Although rare, appliance fires can cause serious damage to your home, but you can minimise the risks by taking just a few simple steps. Here are some essential tips to keep your appliances safe and help prevent disasters from happening in your home.
- Register your appliance
- Check for product recalls
- Regularly clean appliances
- Turn off your appliances when not in use
- Don’t run appliances when you’re not at home
- Keep appliances away from wet areas
- Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, test once a month and replace batteries every year
- Don’t cover heaters or appliances that produce heat and keep the area around them clear from flammable items such as furniture, clothes or curtains
- Plug appliances into a grounded wall socket. Avoid using extension cords to power appliances
- Look out for warning signs like sparks, loose wires, burn marks around the plug socket
- If you think there might be a safety problem, always unplug the appliance and contact the manufacturer or a qualified repair technician
- Avoid overloading your machine
- Ensure it is properly grounded
- Make sure the right plug and outlet are used and that the machine is connected properly
- Check the hose regularly. Look for cracking, bulging, leaking, and any other abnormal characteristics and replace it if necessary
- Ensure your dryer is installed and serviced by a professional
- Clear the lint filter after every cycle and remove excess lint from around the drum
- Make sure the air exhaust vent pipe is not restricted and the outdoor vent flap is open when the dryer is operating
- Keep the dryer area clear of things that can burn, such as boxes or clothing
- Keep the stovetop, burners and oven clean and free of grease and other flammable debris
- Don’t leave cooking unattended
- Never leave flammable items such as towels or oven gloves near burners
- Turn pot handles inward to avoid knocking them off
- Never spray aerosols near a flame
- Check electrical cords for wear and tear
- Check and repair broken components regularly
- Keep the outlet filter clean
- Check for cracks in the detergent drawer as these could allow water into the electrics
- Ensure there are no leaks
- Ensure vents are not blocked and the area around your fridge is kept clean of dust and grease
- Avoid placing your fridge near cookers, radiators, or in direct sunlight, as it will have to work harder to maintain the required temperature
- Make sure you don’t trap the mains cable beneath the fridge freezer when putting it in position
- Defrost your freezer at least once a year
We don’t mean to say your appliances are dangerous. Appliance related fires are thankfully rare, but it’s definitely better to be safe than sorry! Keep on top of these simple tasks and you can protect your home from potential hazards.
For more safety tips, take a look at how to check if your gas appliances are safe.