I received an email from John in Ireland regarding an incident with his new tumble dryer. His daughter put a single duvet into the dryer to dry, shortly after he smelt burning and opened the dryer door to find the duvet was smouldering with smoke and a huge hole had burned through it.
Consulting his instruction book he belatedly found that it states not to dry duvets or sleeping blankets as this might overload the machine. “Fair enough”, he says, “we hold our hands up for the duvet but we didn’t expect it to be a potential fire risk”.
John thinks the advice not to overload with a duvet should be accompanied with a fire risk warning and I agree. If placing a large item such as a duvet in a tumble dryer can cause it to catch fire, then this should be made clear! However, you should always read the instruction book before using any new appliance.
It’s understandable when buying a familiar appliance to not feel the need to read an instruction book. But appliances are constantly evolving and changing. There is always something in there that you didn’t realise before, a useful tip, or maybe an important safety warning. New appliances may work differently inside to your last one and need different attention.
This incident reminds me how important it is to never leave an appliance such as a tumble dryer, washing machine or dishwasher totally unattended. You shouldn’t have to sit watching them but never leave one running when no one is in the house and fit a smoke alarm close to it if practical or in an isolated room.