Do you put your washing machine or dishwasher on when you go to bed? If you do, then you should stop. According to some worrying statistics, these are more likely to cause a fire than your cooker – and not many of us would think of leaving that on overnight.
Figures published by Which? on house fire causes show that there were almost 12,000 house fires across a three-year period caused by faulty, incorrectly installed or poorly maintained electrical appliances. Washing machines were the biggest culprits, at 1723, followed by tumble dryers at 1476 and dishwashers at 1324. Cookers caused 1080 and fridge/freezers 861. This should make us all stop and think.
The Department for Communities and Local Government has published an excellent guide entitled Fire Safety in the Home which gives very useful advice on electrical appliance safety and how to prevent a house fire. This includes:
- Always use the right fuse to prevent overheating.
- Make sure your appliances have a British or European safety mark.
- Many household appliances should have a single socket to themselves as they are high powered.
- Keep one plug to a socket if possible.
- Follow manufacturer’s instructions when charging electrical goods and look for a CE mark.
- Look for signs of dangerous or loose wiring, scorch marks, hot plugs or sockets, fuses which blow or circuit breakers which trip for no reason, or flickering lights.
- Replace old cables and leads.
- Unplug appliances when not in use.
The leaflet also gives advice on cooking safety, safe use of candles and other fire hazards. As always, remember to have at least one smoke alarm – and remember to test it weekly. It’s no use at all if it’s not working.
And most importantly: don’t run your appliances over night or when you go out.