Which household appliances pose the biggest fire risk and how to prevent it? 

Our homes are filled with household appliances that the vast majority of us - we simply can’t live without. They are pretty much essential and while some might be more luxurious rather than a must-have item -  many people are not going to want to give them up. 

And really why should we? But while our household appliances all do important jobs there is the very real risk of fires. We’ve all heard stories of faulty cookers and toasters going on to cause huge fires - and while the risk is small it can still happen. 

Below, we’ve outlined all the household appliances that pose fire risks and how you can help prevent the risk of fires. We’ll be looking at 11 very different appliances from the greatest risk to the smallest and examining how you can help reduce the risk of fires. 

Washing Machines 

Washing machines are statistically the appliance with the greatest risk of causing a fire with 14% according to data by Which. This is probably a surprise to many people who expect cooking appliances to pose the greatest risk. But washing machines are in direct cotton with fabrics and can generate surprising amounts of heat. 

According to research by Repair Aid, the best way to ensure your washing machine is protected against the risk of fires is to ensure it is properly seated on level ground and to ensure you always follow the manufacturers operating instructions. You should also ensure you don’t overload the washing machine and ensure any plastic components are in good condition.  

Tumble Dryers 

Tumbler dryers took second place in the survey with a reported 12% risk of causing a fire. This is because like with washing machines they generate a lot of heat and are in direct contact with clothes/ materials. 

Preventing a fire can be tackled in much the same way ensure your dryer is properly grounded and as access to proper air flow and ventilation. You should also clean the filters regularly and be careful to not accidentally overload the machine. 

Dishwashers 

At 11% - dishwashers sit in third place and while they are a more luxury appliance they are still seen in many people’s homes. Dishwashers require regular inspections if you want to ensure there is no risk of a fire. If you spot any leaks or damage stop using the dishwasher until repairs are carried out. Moisture leaks can cause a fire very quickly and you should once again ensure any plastic components are in good condition before using the appliance. 

Cookers 

Cookers surprisingly are only in fourth place at 9% but there is still a lot to know about using one safely to avoid accidental fires. To prevent a cooker fire you should carry out regular inspections of the appliance, ensure all safety features are properly installed and carry out regular cleaning of the cooker. 

You should also always stay alert when using it and follow proper safety protocols like wearing suitable clothing and keeping pan handles inward. As a side note make sure your smoke alarms are properly installed as well.  

Fridges/ Freezers 

Fridge/ freezer fires are quite rare and there is a 7% chance of danger but thankfully preventative measures are quite simple. Ensure you inspect the outlet and power cord every so often and clean the back of the appliance regularly. If dirt is left to accumulate it can cause fires so some simple cleaning every now and again can prevent the very real risk of danger. 

Toasters 

Toasters might not technically be essential but I’ am willing to bet most kitchens have one. They have a 4% chance of danger but thankfully practicing proper kitchen etiquette can help you reduce the risk of fires. 

You should clean your toaster regularly, bread waste and dirt can build up quickly and cause a fire if left. Clear out crumbs after every use and inspect the power cable and plug socket to ensure they are not damaged as well. If your toaster does catch fire or start to smoke remember it should be covered with a fire blanket or large wet towel, pouring water on a toaster fire will make it worse. 

Microwaves 

Equalling toasters at 4% are the quick cook's favourite appliance the microwave. Preventive measure against microwave fires are pretty simple thankfully first of all clean the microwave regularly and inspect the power cable and socket. 

You should also familiarise yourself with your manufacturer's instructions and never put metal in the microwave. You should also only use containers that are labelled microwave safe protecting yourself from a fire is easier than you think just educate yourself about what is and isn’t safe to put in your microwave. 

Televisions 

Televisions are low down the list of fire risk at only 3% but you still take plenty of preventive measures to reduce the risk further. First of all, make sure the TV as plenty of room for air to circulate this is especially important if the TV is in a cabinet or another piece of furniture. Wires and cables should be inspected regularly as well and all vents around the TV should be unobstructed as well. 

Washer-Dryers 

Washer-dryers only had 2% of risk according to the statistics but they aren’t very commonly seen appliances so it is hard to say whether that means they are very safe or whether the sample size was much smaller. 

Washer-dryers owners should follow the same advice laid out above for both washing machines and dryers. Make sure there is plenty of ventilation, carry out regular inspections of the machine, don’t overload it and make sure any plastic components are inspected carefully.  

Irons 

With only 1% irons are one of the safest home appliances when it comes to the risk of accidental fires. But extra preventative measures can still help, ensure you pay attention to the temperature settings, never leave your iron plugged in when not in use and inspect the power cord carefully.