Appliance Safety

close up of hot, red electric heating element

In home appliances such as dishwashers, dryers, and washers are a great convenience, but require routine care and should never be used without supervision. Whether it be firing up the dishwasher before bed or throwing clothes in the dryer before heading out to the store, improper use of appliances can create tremendous risk to life and cause severe property damage.

By the Numbers

Washers and Dryers (Source: NFPA)

  • Between 2010 and 2014 nearly 15,970 fires occurred on average, per year, due to washing machines or clothes dryers.
  • The majority (92%) of fires were caused by clothes dryers.

Cooking Equipment- Ovens and Stoves (Source: NFPA)

  • Between 2010 and 2014, cooking equipment was responsible for on average 166,100 fires per year.
  • Unattended cooking was the main contributing factor to fires and deaths.
  • Over half of the non-fatal injuries occurred when people attempted to fight the fire themselves.

An Ounce of Prevention

There are simple steps your family can take to ensure appliances operate safely and effectively.

1. Keep a watchful eye

Dryers, dishwashers, ovens, stoves, irons, small kitchen appliances, etc should only be operated while you are at home and proximal to the appliance. Floods and fires resulting from unsupervised use can cause severe damage and put your family at risk.

2. Clean and maintain

Cleaning appliances regularly doesn’t just make your home more pleasant, it also helps reduce the risk of malfunction, fire, or flood.

Clothes Dryers

  • Clear out the lint trap after each use (this will also help save energy).
  • Clean under and around the appliance frequently.
  • Verify the dryer hose is secured to the wall before each use (these are available in the U-Fix-It).

Clothes Washers

Do not overload; this can cause balance issues and lead to floods

Ovens

  • Use the self clean feature should there be excessive food buildup….but….do not apply oven cleaner when doing self clean as this will cause a fire.
  • Cover items that may splatter.
  • Use the appropriate temperature and follow all cooking instructions.
  • Only place items capable of withstanding high heat in the oven (i.e. no paper towels or plastic wrap).
  • Use the broil feature wisely.
  • Use the exhaust fan while cooking.
  • Do not store items in the oven.
  • Ensure the oven is turned off when not in use.

Stoves

  • Clean drip pans regularly.
  • Clean up splatters from the heating elements (after they cool off).
  • Ensure pots and skillets are stably positioned on the heating element.
  • Keep paper products and flammables away from heating elements.
  • Use the exhaust fan while cooking.
  • Do not store items on the stove.
  • Ensure all heating elements are turned off when not in use.

Refrigerators and Freezers

  • Ensure items are arranged so that the door closes all the way; an open door can cause items to melt and create quite the mess.

Dishwashers

  • Do not overload.
  • Use the appropriate detergent (pods work best).

Miscellaneous Kitchen Appliances

  • Follow all recipe and appliance instructions.

3. Report issues

Should you have an issue with an appliance that requires maintenance, it is imperative that you do not continue to use it and contact maintenance.