Fire Hazards of Defective Home Appliances

Defective or inefficient home appliances are globally recognized one of the major causes of fire incidences in many households across the globe. This is clearly attributed to rapid technological advancements that lead to manufacture and production of electronic home appliances such as electric cookers, iron boxes, fridges among many other home appliances. According to The Consumer Product Safety Commission 2006 to 2008 estimates, major home appliances caused over 150,000 annual residential fire outbreaks causing 3,670 injuries, property damage worth $ 547 million and over 150 deaths.

Human Error Plays a Role

Fire caused by defective home appliance

Fire caused by defective home appliance.

Although the commission concluded that human error in the use of these appliances contribute to fire outbreak especially cooking appliances or cloth driers, an in-depth analysis of consumer reports concluded that only half of such fire outbreak incidences can be attributed to human error in using them. According to the safety reports, the other half results from problems associated with appliances themselves with roots from their manufacture.

Defective appliances are therefore risky and are highly associated with fire hazards, for both domestic and commercial uses. They can cause immense losses and destruction to the property. Recently, CPSC reported 15 million unit appliances being defective and highly predisposed to fire hazards. These appliances caused 1952 incidents.

Nearly 70,000 Incidents

According to the National Fire Incident Reporting System reports analysis between 2002 and 2009 confirmed over 69,000 fire incidences in which the main cause was appliances. Most of these incidents were as a result of mishandling but 23% were as a result of defective appliance itself. Many of these incidents were neither as a result of poor installation nor operation, but appliances operative mechanisms. Many of these fires began at night or in the absence of family members. For instance, brand name microwave owners reported their appliances turning on themselves. Others failed to be turned off until plugged off.

The Right Technology and Manufacturer

According to IEEE, most modern appliances have a certain kind of microcomputer. So their auto turning on may be caused by the wiring which acts like antenna that picks up electromagnetic interference, making the appliance to turn on. Toasters and blenders are highly associated with this defect.

Consider opting for manufacturers that have a great track record.  LG Washer/Dryers, for instance, have a high safety rating.  Check with your local expert for safety guidelines.

Electromagnetic interference may also be caused by Bluetooth devices such as phones, computers, home entertainment gadgets, Wi-Fi, garage door openers, two-way radios, e.t.c.

Fire hazards of defective home appliances are catastrophic and calls for high level of vigilance on the side of both manufacturers and consumers to work out ways of reducing or avoiding them. Here are some of the ways of reducing effects dangers associated with defective home appliances:

  • Company’s certification of their products should consider that the appliance being certified or approved has minimum possible fire dangers.
  • Consumers should use appliances as recommended by the manufacturer on the user manual. This is because the manufacturer has a better understanding of strengths and weaknesses of their products.
  • Ensure that all electric home appliances are switched off or disconnected from electricity any time they are not under use.
  • Consider buying electric appliances from highly reputable, licensed and trusted manufacturer or company. Suppliers who offer the benefit of warranty are preferable.
  • Insure your property against fire destruction so that if fire occurs unfortunately, your property can easily be recovered.


In a nutshell, fire hazards of defective home appliances are widespread, yet unpredictable. Their effects are disastrous. It requires conscious efforts to counter these effects by using quality appliances and using them carefully. Any other step can be taken towards preventing fire outbreak that can result from use of defective appliances, as long as it is meant to reduce chances of fire outbreak.