Which household appliances pose the biggest fire risk?

18 September 2013

Over 3,700 fires a year are caused by faulty appliances such as washing machines, tumble dryers and dishwashers, according to consumer rights group Which?.

Using fire brigade data in England, Scotland and Wales, Which? said that in the last two years, washing machines (14%), tumble dryers (12%) and dishwashers (11%) are the cause of more faulty appliance fires than ovens (8%).

Which? said the data showed that a larger number of fires were connected to Hoover and Candy washing machines than some other brands. Similarly, there were more fires caused by Hotpoint dishwashers and tumble dryers than other manufacturers.

"This is probably not surprising given Hotpoint issued a public safety notice on one of its dishwasher ranges earlier this year," Which? stated. "However, we found that there were as many instances of fires recorded relating to Hotpoint's DWF3 dishwasher range, which hasn't been recalled. Hotpoint has assessed this model and has said the risk of fire is very low."

Fires caused by faulty irons (1%), electric blankets (2%) TVs and microwaves (3%) were lower than other appliances.

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Which? executive director Richard Lloyd said: "It's shocking that everyday household appliances can pose such a danger. People's safety must be the priority, so manufacturers should act fast to recall products as soon as they realise they're faulty."

If an appliance malfunctions, manufacturers are legally obliged to take action, such as issuing a safety notice or recalling the product line. Research indicates that almost a quarter (23%) of consumers have at some point owned a product that has been recalled or subject to a safety notice.

Damage caused by faulty appliances can be costly, Which? said. One of its members experienced a fire caused by their dishwasher that caused £58,000 worth of damage.

"We want the government and manufacturers to do more to analyse and release the data they collect on appliance fires to help reduce the thousands of fires that are caused by faulty products."

Hotpoint told the Mail that it was unfair to claim its products are more likely to suffer a fault than other brands, adding that its figures indicate a "relatively small number".

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