Tumble dryers that burst into flames. Washing machines that flood kitchens. Gas appliances leaking deadly toxins into your home. If news reports are to be believed, you’d have to be a dare devil to even consider owning an appliance.
In truth, appliance related disasters are relatively rare, but whilst you shouldn’t lose any sleep over the safety of your home there is important information to be aware of to keep your appliances safe.
Even appliance types you wouldn’t expect to catch fire can occasionally set ablaze. Government fire data shows that fires caused by washing machines are actually more common than those caused by cookers and even freezers can catch alight. To minimise the risk of an appliance fire in your home:
- Don’t overload your appliances. Doing so can put undue pressure on the parts and cause overheating.
- Keep ovens, hobs and microwaves clean. Burnt on food and grease increases the fire risk.
- Register your machines so that manufacturer security information and potential product recalls can be easily communicated to you.
- Don’t run washing machines, tumble dryers and dishwashers at night whilst you’re sleeping, or while you’re away from home.
- Clean the lint filters in your tumble dryer after every use and, if your clothes seem to be taking longer to dry, make sure the vent hose and the inside of your machine are clear of lint too.
- Make sure your smoke alarm is working; test the batteries and replace as necessary.
A leaking appliance should never be ignored as a small problem can become a huge one if a hose bursts and your floor gets flooded. Water on your floors can cause far more problems than just being a nuisance to clean up. Water damage could cause mould in your home and staining or warping of your flooring. Here’s what to do to make floods less likely:
- Be sure not to use too much detergent. Excess detergent in dishwashers or washing machines can foam up and in some cases even foam out of the appliance and cause puddles.
- Replace leaky hoses and connections as soon as you are aware of them and investigate leaks straight away to find the cause. Leaks that are ignored can easily and quickly worsen.
- When defrosting your freezer put down a towel first to catch the melted ice and wring it out as necessary. If your freezer is defrosting on its own and causing puddles, you’ll need to do some investigating to establish the cause of the fault.
Whilst we would normally advise people to save money by repairing their appliances themselves wherever possible, gas appliances are the exception. Only trained gas safe engineers should carry out repairs on gas appliances as those that are repaired incorrectly can be very dangerous. To find out more about hiring gas safe engineers and recognising problems with gas appliances see our article on gas safety.
The golden rule for keeping your appliances safe is to follow the instructions in appliance handbooks as well as your own common sense. Make sure air vents and filters aren’t blocked, don’t overload appliances and don’t ignore unusual noises. One last safety must (that viewers of our YouTube channel will recognise), when carrying out repairs on your household appliances, make sure to always switch off and unplug the appliance first!