A survey conducted by Which? and reported by the Daily Mail has revealed that nearly 12,000 house fires were caused by faulty appliances, with washing machines, tumble dryers and dishwashers being the three main culprits. According to the survey results, 14% of appliance-related house fires were caused by washing machines, 12% by tumble dryers and 11% were due to dishwashers.
In fact, according to the report, more washing machines and tumble dryers caught fire in homes throughout the UK than TVs, hair tongs and irons, with the cause of fires being attributed to the appliances having a fault which manufacturers were unaware of, appliances being incorrectly installed or due to the appliances being improperly maintained.
At eSpares, we understand and appreciate there are steps that we, as homeowners, can take to reduce the risk of our appliances becoming faulty. To help you keep your appliances safe and working, we’ve compiled some top tips for general appliance care, as well as more specific advice relating to maintaining your washing machine, tumble dryer and dishwasher.
General Appliance Care Tips:
- Avoid running appliances, especially dishwashers, tumble dryers and washing machines throughout the night or when the house is empty. Running appliances when the house is empty or you’re asleep increases the risk of a minor fault turning into something major, with substantial damage being the end result.
- Running your appliances at night is often not cheaper, even if you’re on Economy 7. It’s therefore recommended to avoid using your appliances throughout the night. Not only are the savings a lot less than you’d think, due to appliances using less energy now than they previously did, but if a fault does occur you won’t be able to detect it and potentially prevent a fire risk.
- Ensure you have working smoke alarms fitted throughout your home, to provide early detection in the case of a fire. In addition to smoke alarms, it’s also recommended to fit heat alarms in close proximity to appliances. These provide early warning signs should the appliance be overheating, whilst heat alarms are not affected by condensation or steam within the kitchen.
- Don’t ignore any leaks or faults, even if they appear minor. At the first sign of a fault, the appliance should be repaired – and you’ll find thousands of spare parts for all appliance brands with eSpares.
- Don’t overload your wall sockets by plugging too many appliances in or by overloading an extension cable. It’s also advisable to ensure the extension cable is fully unwound to prevent this from overheating.
- Register your new appliances as soon as you’ve purchased them. This will ensure you end up on the manufacturer’s database and will be contacted should the appliance be subject to a product recall.
- Don’t overload your appliances, as this increases the pressure placed on appliance and increases the risk of faults occurring within the appliance.
Whether you’re looking to dry your laundry during the winter or need a specific item of clothing dried quickly after a sudden downpour, the tumble dryer is an essential appliance. But, according to the Which? survey, 12% of the appliance-related fires between 2011 and March 2014 were caused by such an appliance.
You can help minimise your tumble drying igniting, by following the advice below:
- After every use, clean the lint filter and check the back of the appliance for any trapped/built-up lint. If left, this can not only reduce the efficiency of the appliance but it also increases the fire risk.
- Read the manufacturer’s operating manual and only use the appliance in accordance. This will not only help you to keep your appliance to run efficiently, but it will also help to reduce the risk of any faults – no matter how minor they may appear – from occurring.
- Allow the tumble dryer to run a complete cycle, including the cooling cycle to ensure it is able to disperse the heat reducing the risk of a fire.
- Don’t place fabrics which have been exposed to combustible substances or rubber object in the tumble dryer. Such fabrics have an increased risk of igniting spontaneously when exposed to temperatures generated by a tumble dryer.
- Check the ventilation, of the tumble dryer itself and around the plug. If either of these is overheating there’s an increased risk of a fire occurring, particularly if you’re tumble dryer is not getting the correct ventilation, as this will result in the sensor not being able to detect the appliance has reached the correct temperature.
- A sign your plug is suffering from overheating is a brown burn mark on the plug itself.
- To keep the ventilation of the appliance in order, it’s recommended to check the tumble dryer vent hose on a regular basis, ensuring that it isn’t blocked by any debris and that it hasn’t become damaged. If it has, you’ll need to replace it.
Come rain or shine your washing machine will be in constant use, and as tempting as it may be you should never run a wash cycle when you’re asleep or if the house is empty as a minor fault can go undetected and result in a serious accident occurring.
Along with making sure your washing machine is only in use when there is someone within the property, to reduce the risk of your appliance becoming a fire risk it is important to make sure you:
- Install the washing machine correctly, as this will help reduce the risk of faults such as leaks occurring whilst also ensuring your appliance runs efficiently.
- Empty your pockets of any debris including coins, tissues, paper and hair grips, which can become clogged in the filter or pump, resulting in your appliance having to work harder or stopping the pump. This increases the risk of the appliance overheating and a fire starting. Along with emptying the pockets of any clothing before it’s placed within the washing machine, it’s also important to take care when you scoop a load of washing from the floor and place it into the appliance, as you run the risk of adding debris which can damage the washing machine.
- Never overload the appliance, as this will increase the pressure placed on the machine and increase the risk of a fault occurring. The clothes in your washing machine should have room to tumble as they are being washed.
- Clean your washing machine regularly, by conducting a maintenance wash. A dirty washing machine is not only going to increase the risk of unpleasant odours building up, but it’ll reduce the efficiency of your appliance. Ideally, you should clean your washing machine thoroughly on a monthly basis by following the advice outlined in the video below, and by using dedicated cleaning products such as the eSpares detergent and limescale remover. It’s also a good idea to regularly check the filter on your washing machine, to ensure that this hasn’t become blocked by any debris, as this can hinder the appliance and has the potential to lead to fire risks.
It’s estimated that four in ten adults own a dishwasher in the UK, and such an appliance helps to significantly reduce the amount of time it takes to clean dishes. However, 11% of all appliance related fires were caused by a dishwasher between 2011 and March 2014.
Through careful care and maintenance, you can reduce the risk of your appliance becoming a fire hazard, and the key to this is to:
- Check and clean the filters on a regular basis. These can become blocked by a range of debris, such as broken crockery. If left, this can work into the pump stopping it and increases the risk of overheating – which as already touched upon increases the risk of a fire occurring.
By taking the time to follow the advice outlined above, to clean your appliances on a monthly basis and to repair even the most minor fault, can make all the difference between your appliance continuing to work effectively, and avoiding the problems highlighted by Which and the Daily Mail.
To help you fix your appliances, at eSpares we stock an extensive range of household appliance spare parts and accessories, whilst our advice centre is packed with information to help you keep your appliances running effectively.