I write a lot about appliance safety, but I’ve always been disappointed and surprised at how few of my articles warning about fire risks in appliances get shared. It’s not a pleasant thing to think about, but it’s empowering to pro-actively cut down your risks, and it’s good to help others by sharing warnings.
First let’s spend a little time to learn from other people’s experiences. Then have a look at some easy but vital tips that can reduce your risks, and genuinely save lives.
Dishwasher Fires: Real experiences
Whilst all large appliances can catch fire, I’ve had a lot of personal testimonies below from people with dishwashers that have caught fire. Here are just a few samples of frightening comments added to some of my safety articles. They demonstrate why you should never leave them completely unattended.
My AEG Favorit has just caught fire. I have just seen from your very informative website here that this model was recalled in March 2008 (I bought it in October 2007). Luckily I was standing right next to it when I heard popping and hissing and streams of smoke coming from the top of the front panel. I unplugged it.. We usually put it on at night. My son sleeps directly above it. Had I not been there my house could have burnt down. I dread to think of the consequences. ”
”Our dishwasher caught fire at 3.30 in the morning. Luckily my wife heard what seemed like earthquake/rumble and woke up. It was the sounds of cracking when she said something is not right so I went to investigate downstairs and I found our kitchen alight. Flames and smoke from the dishwasher had caught the kitchen bench alight and smoke was halfway down the room.
I got everyone out of the house and was instructed to wait for the fire brigade but they were 15 mins away so managed to get buckets of water and get it out. Our house and family were saved but how could this faulty product still be out there and we as home-owners not informed of the risks to our families and property? ”
E F P Lee:
Purchased Zanussi ZDF601K in February 2007, on the night of the 6 December 2007 this dishwasher caught fire. Smoke alarms alerted us, we had three dogs in the kitchen, we had to leave one in as the smoke was so dense we could we could not find him, we risked our lives trying to get the dogs out. ”
My 2 year old dishwasher AEG Favorit F50870 caught fire and destroyed my house for a month. Insurance company takes care of us. How many cases and even deaths still waiting to come??? ”
I was in the room next door and heard a loud bang from the kitchen. thinking the dog had dragged something off a worktop I rushed in. I was greeted by billowing black smoke coming from the front of the dishwasher and a rather alarming red glow at the top of the door. Alarmingly we normally put the dishwasher on timer to come on after midnight! My wife has had a serious hip and socket replacement last week so would have been unable to move quickly or climb out of windows. ”
Our dishwasher caught fire and fortunately we were in the house otherwise it could have been very nasty. ”
”Our Zanussi ZDF 501 caught fire the other night, 2 years after we’d purchased it. Fortunately we were in the house at the time, and were able to stop the fire within seconds of smelling the smoke. Having said that, the flames were pretty big, and the molten plastic from the dishwasher had started a secondary fire on our lino floor. I’ve no doubt the whole house would have gone up in smoke if we’d been out. ”
Best way to avoid dishwasher fires
Manufacturer’s regularly publish appliance safety notices (as well as warnings of electric shock or other potential hazards), but it’s often years after they were sold. You, or your friends and family could be using appliances with known dangerous faults that could be made safe. Many people are completely unaware of the dangers because they have either moved house, or never registered the appliance.
However, fires start in appliances regardless of whether there is a known safety issue. Mitigate the seriousness of any appliance fire by remembering that they can catch fire and treating them accordingly. When we have to go out and our dishwasher or any other appliances is halfway through a cycle and no one is in the house we always turn it off. We just resume the cycle when we return. It’s a minor inconvenience if any at all. I would never allow a dishwasher (or washing machine or tumble dryer) to be running when everyone is out, or in bed, or ever leave one running with a pet trapped in the same room.
Follow these tips
- Always register new appliance purchases with the manufacturer so they can contact you if they discover a serious and dangerous fault that needs fixing
- Don’t ignore faults, if there is obviously something wrong get it looked at
- Do not leave Dishwashers, washing machines or tumble dryers running when no one is in the house – and especially when people are in bed! Risks involved in leaving a washing machine, tumble dryer or dishwasher running when out or in bed
- Try to keep a working fire extinguisher at hand that could be used on electrical appliances
- Have a smoke alarm close to appliances. In the case of dishwashers that are mostly in kitchens there are smoke alarms designed for kitchens that don’t go off during normal cooking
- Check my list of dishwasher safety notices to make sure you don’t have a known risk in your kitchen
- Check my list of All appliance safety notices
- Read my article Fire risks in appliances for more information and advice
- Share this article to help others