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Which white goods can be a fire risk, and 15 ways to mitigate the dangers

Which white goods can be a fire risk, and 15 ways to mitigate the dangers

With the ever growing market of domestic electrical appliances now firmly integrated into our daily existence, it is understandable why we may feel an increasing sense of paranoia towards the risk of house fires. This begs the question – which white goods can be a fire risk, and what can you do to mitigate the dangers?

First, let’s dive in to what we mean by white goods.

What are ‘white goods’?

This term is generally used to define appliances or large electrical goods found in our homes, which are often are white in colour.

Some common examples would be washing machines, cookers, tumble dryers, fridge-freezers and dish washers.

What all of these appliances have in common, is their capacity to catch fire either due to the malfunction of their electrical components or the nature of their use.

Research shows faulty appliances cause £41.6 million of damage per year and 60 fires a week in England alone.

So, which are the worst offenders…

Which white goods can be a fire risk- washing machine and oven.

Which white goods can be a fire risk?

According to figures provided by Electrical Direct, we have cookers and ovens coming in at number one in the UK. You could aptly describe this as ‘playing with fire’, as they are a direct heat source and often involve open flames, flammables and liquids in close proximity.

Do not fear, it is of course completely possible to utilise cookers and ovens in a way that is safe for daily use, but we will get into these tips later in the article.

Hot plates, followed by toasters and microwaves take the following spots respectively in causing the most fires in the UK in 2019-20.

It is important to note that appliances which main function is to generate heat, are found closer to the top of the list. Therefore, it is a good rule of thumb to take extra care when handling these kind of goods.
Which white goods can be a fire risk- hobs.

Kindly, Electrical Direct has compiled a comprehensive list ranking which white goods can be a fire risk, which is at your disposal below:

Rank Appliance Number of fires caused in 2019/20
1 Cooker including oven 8001
2 Ring/ hot plate (separate appliance) 1581
3 Grill/ Toaster 1368
4 Microwave oven 922
5 Tumble dryer 668
6 Washing Machine 624
7 Fridge/ Freezer 215
8 Dishwasher 194
9 Deep fat fryer 186
10 Extractor fan 182
11 Barbecue 89
12 Washer/ Dryer combined 68
13 Battery Charger 60
14 Blow lamp/ Paint remover 58
15 PC equipment (domestic use) 50
16 Spin dryer 49
17 Hair dryer 48
18 Vacuum cleaner 43
19 Camping stove 37
20 Iron 36
21 TV 32
22 Electric blanket 25
23 Electric kettle 19
24 Audio equipment 15
25 Gardening equipment 15
26 Video / DVD 2

(Number of household appliances that caused fires in England in 2019/20)

Whilst it’s important to understand the risks involved, what’s more valuable is how you can best avoid the dangers associated with their use.

How to mitigate the dangers of electrical fires?

Always practice precaution.

  1. Read instruction manuals and follow all safety tips provided by the manufacturers.
    Girl reading safety instructions.
  2. Ensure regular cleaning and upkeep of appliances, as many fires are caused by built up grease, lint and other flammable materials setting alight.
    Toaster Fire.
  3. When not in use, ensure electrical items are unplugged. This is especially important when leaving the house for long periods.
    Unplugging UK plug from socket.
  4. Ensure there are no flammable materials in close proximity to heat sources.
    Heater fire next to towels.
  5. Do not leave the room unattended whilst cooking.
    Cooker on fire.
  6. For maximum protection use both an ionisation and photoelectric smoke alarm, and regularly test both of these.
    Smoke alarm testing.
  7. When purchasing electrical goods, ensure you purchase from a reputable seller and look out for the British Manufactured Symbol on the tags. This is especially relevant when buying second hand. We would not recommend the purchase of used electrical goods. The UKCA symbol confirms the product was produced in Great Britain, and in accordance to high safety standards. For goods manufactured in Europe, the symbol be CE.
    UKCA Marking
    CE European Goods Mark
  8. Ensure you use the right fuse to prevent overheating.
    Fuse for UK plug.
  9. If a product looks damaged, do not use it.
    Broken phone charging wire.
  10. Ensure all heat generating appliances are in a stable position and away from children and pets.
    Dog near heater.
  11. Extension cords have an amp limit, and each item plugged in with have a different value. Ensure the total volume of amps does not exceed this.
    UK plug info.
  12. Do not plug in too many appliances into one power outlet, as this can overload it.
    UK overloaded socket extension lead.
  13. Closed doors create barriers which may help save your life if a fire does spread.
    Person sleeping with open door during house fire.
  14. Having fire safety equipment such as extinguishers and fire blankets in easily accessible places could save lives.
    Parent and child handling fire safety blanket.
  15. Ensure all those staying in the property have a safe way to evacuate.
    Evacuation plan.

Now you know which white goods can be a fire risk, be sure to check out our other blogs on the causes of electrical fires and portable appliance testing.

If you are unfortunate enough that a fire does break out in your property, we can help get your life back to normality. Our fire and smoke damage restoration services are second to none, and should you need us we are available 24/7 on our national helpline: 01623 422488.

Published: 21 Feb 2023