It would seem that the catastrophic fire in Grenfell Tower was caused by a faulty fridge freezer. It is so overwhelmingly sad that such a common item could have led to this terrible tragedy.
The Electrical Safety First organisation is a registered charity which aims to improve safety regulations and ensure safety messages are appropriate. In the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire, they issued a statement with the astonishing statistic that, over the last six years, there have been an average of four fires a week caused by faulty fridge freezers.
We have written before about the dangers of domestic appliances, which caused 12,000 house fires across a three-year period because they were faulty, poorly installed or badly maintained. But these warnings have mostly concentrated on washing machines, tumble driers and dishwashers. We now need to add fridge freezers to that list.
One big difference is that you can’t turn your fridge or freezer off when you go to bed or leave the house, so the advice from Electrical Safety First is as follows:
- Don’t place a fridge freezer near cookers, radiators, or in direct sunlight, as it needs to work harder to maintain the required internal temperature.
- Defrost your freezer at least once a year. Don’t use a heater to defrost the inside of the fridge freezer.
- Do regular checks of the plug and socket for burn marks, sounds of ‘arcing’ (buzzing or crackling), fuses blowing, circuit-breakers tripping or if it feels too hot to touch.
- Always ensure that the area you are placing the fridge freezer is free of paper or other flammable materials, and make sure there is enough room behind the appliance for air to circulate freely.
- Never block the interior or exterior ventilation openings of the refrigerator.
We’ve also highlighted the recall of certain models which have been identified as fire risks, but recently published figures show that the average success rate for recalls is between 10 and 20 per cent. This means that a huge number of unsafe machines are still being used across the country. Electrical Safety First has a separate website covering white goods safety which includes a product checker for recalled appliances. Check your appliances now.