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Fires Caused by Home Appliances are Steadily Declining
Home Improvement

Fires Caused by Home Appliances are Steadily Declining 

Shockingly there were almost 15,000 domestic fires started by home appliances in the past year and more than half (53%) of those fires were due to a domestic cooker/oven*. However this is still less than the previous year, and in fact the number has been steadily dropping since 2010/11.

Burnt out washing machine

Incident Recording System data on fire statistics published by the Home Office reveals there were just under 15,000 domestic fires (14,977) in England caused by home appliances during the past financial year (2019/20). This represents a drop of 3.2% over the past 12 months compared to the previous year, when 15,478 incidents were attended by FRSs.

This is the lowest number of incidents during any year over the last 10 years, and a 21.5% drop in fires since 2010/2011, when Fire and Rescue Services (FRSs) attended 19,067 dwelling fires started by household appliances.

The biggest cause of domestic appliance was cookers and ovens, in fact more than 8,000 fires were started by a cooker, over half of all domestic appliance fires tackled by the fire services.

Toasters were the third highest cause of home appliance fires, with 1,368 fires started by a faulty toaster. Followed by Microwave ovens, then washing machines.

There are however a couple of culprits that are increasing the likelihood of starting a domestic appliance fire. Fire services attended 43 incidents caused by faulty vacuum-cleaners over the past 12 months, which more than double the number in the previous year. There was also a 37% increase in fires started by hair dryers in 2019/20.

The following list shows the number of domestic appliance fires over the past 10 years.

  • 2010/11 19,067
  • 2011/12 18,780
  • 2012/13 17,988
  • 2013/14 17,311
  • 2014/15 17,167
  • 2015/16 17,070
  • 2016/17 16,332
  • 2017/18 16,172
  • 2018/19 15,478
  • 2019/20 14,977

The following list details which domestic appliances caused the most fires during 2019/20.

  • Cooker incl. Oven 8,001
  • Ring/hot plate 1,581
  • Grill/Toaster 1,368
  • Microwave Oven 922
  • Tumble Dryer 668
  • Washing Machine 624
  • Other cooking appliances 235
  • Fridge/Freezer 215
  • Dishwasher 194
  • Deep fat fryer 186

Lorraine Taylor, claims manager at insurance provider Prominence Support, comments:

It’s encouraging to see that the number of fires caused by home appliances has been steadily failing over the past decade. This will be due to a number of reasons. It could be because people are changing their appliances more frequently, before any potentially dangerous faults develop.

But upgrading an appliance every 2-3 years, particularly a larger item such as a washing machine, can be expensive. Most of us won’t keep a washing machine or tumble dryer for 10 years . . . why replace an appliance if it’s basically in good working order. The trick is to keep on top of faults and maintenance and not let a minor fault turn into a potentially dangerous fault.

By having faults repaired straight away you can keep your appliances in top condition, and you won’t need to replace them every few years. Not every fault starts a fire, but if you have an appliance checked immediately a minor fault develops, then it can be repaired before it becomes a major and a lethal one.

Make sure that any repairs are carried out by qualified and insured tradespeople, and if you need help with fitting a new appliance check out our Projects section which includes Information About how to Choose, fit and Maintain or Remove a Wide Range of White Goods and Domestic Appliances.

*Monday 17th August 2020 — Domestic fires caused by home appliances have dropped by a fifth in a decade, according to Home Office data analysed by home appliances insurer Prominence Support.

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