Faulty appliances cause 12,000 fires
Friday 12th February 2016
Malfunctioning household appliances caused almost 12,000 fires in Britain in just over three years, research by consumer group Which? has found.
Washing machines, tumble dryers and dishwashers were the most likely items to cause fires, the research suggested.
Which? is urging people to register appliances they buy with manufacturers so they can be alerted of any recall.
The government figures, obtained using the Freedom of Information Act, cover January 2011 to March 2014.
Fires included in the figures were those caused by appliances that were "faulty, incorrectly installed or improperly maintained".
Which appliances caused the most fires?
• 14% washing machines (1,723)
• 12% tumble dryers (1,456)
• 11% dishwashers (1,324)
• 9% cookers (1,080)
• 7% fridges / freezers (861)
• 5% central heating (606)
• 4% toasters / grills (495)
• 4% microwaves (427)
• 3% TVs (372)
• 2% washer dryers (225)
• 1% irons (92)
(Proportion and number of fires caused by faulty appliances between January 2011 and March 2014 based on government fire data.)
Of the top 12 appliances looked at by the consumer group, irons were the least likely to cause a fire, with 92 incidents in the time period compared to 1,723 caused by washing machines.
Which? High-lighted research by Electrical Safety First, which found that only a third of people register the electrical appliances they buy - meaning they may not be notified if faulty items are recalled by manufacturers.
"If an appliance is found to be dangerous, manufacturers issue a safety notice to alert owners, but knowing who owns their products can prove problematic," Which? said.
Electrical Safety First is encouraging consumers to register their electrical products with the manufacturer in order to receive details of any recalls.
It said faulty appliances, in general, caused £41.6m of damage in the UK every year and 46 deaths were caused each year by electrical fires.
Since 2011 there have been more than 300 different recalled electrical items, and the charity said that the success rate for recalling items in the UK was rarely higher than 10% to 20%.
"People may think it's too much hassle or there is no benefit of providing contact details but an unregistered appliance can be a hidden danger in homes as it's difficult for manufacturers to trace them."