You know you’re playing with fire when you turn on your range, but what are the chances of your home going up in a flaming inferno because of a dishwasher? According to data that we analyzed from the National Fire Incident Reporting System, it’s not so far-fetched—nearly 70,000 fires were linked to ordinary home appliances from 2002 to 2009. Dishwashers are among the biggest sources. Ranges caused the most fires, followed by dryers, microwave ovens, refrigerators, dishwashers, and toasters/toaster ovens.
You think it can’t happen to you, but these numbers are sobering. And what drove this story home to me even more is that at press time I received the tragic news that a former colleague had died in a home fire, reportedly caused by a faulty dishwasher.
That spurred me into action, making sure that my home’s smoke alarms were in working order, and that my kitchen fire extinguisher was ready to go—and, most importantly, that I knew how to use it. Those are two good ways to protect you and your family from the unthinkable. Here are a few more:
Register new appliances with the manufacturer so you can be notified of any service problems.
Check for recalls at recalls.gov. More than 18.6 million appliances have been recalled in the past six years for flaws that could cause a fire.
Follow our safety tips for specific appliances on page 38 of the September issue of ShopSmart.