What brands of appliances are most likely to catch fire?
Almost 12,000 house fires were caused by faulty and dangerous domestic appliances between 2011 and March 2014, Which? has revealed, announcing the results of research that shows which home appliances are most likely to lead to a fire home emergency.
The consumer body’s analysis of government fire data revealed that:
- 14% of fires caused by faulty, badly-maintained or improperly-installed appliances were due to washing machines;
- 12% were due to tumble dryers;
- 11% were due to dishwashers;
- 7% were due to fridges, freezers and combined fridge-freezers;
- 5% were due to central heating systems;
- 4% were due to toasters or grills;
- 3% were due to television sets;
- 2% were due to washer dryers; and
What appliance brands are the most dangerous?
The investigation showed that 12% of all washing machine fires involving an identifiable brand – or 175 washing machine fires in total – involved Hoover-branded appliances, despite the fact that the consumer advocacy group’s market intelligence suggests that Hoover’s overall market share is under 12%.
Furthermore, 410 dishwasher fires – or 38% of the total number of fires involving identifiable brands – involved Hotpoint models, which also lead Which? to believe that Hotpoint dishwashers are disproportionately affected by fire.
Nonetheless, Hotpoint told Which? that it can’t draw any conclusions from the data presented, arguing that the market share figures may be incorrect and that it is not possible to accurately establish information from a relatively small group of incidents.
On the other hand, Samsung appeared to be relatively safe – only six of the 1,509 washing machine fires involving identifiable brands related to the brand, while Miele represented just three of the 1,069 dishwasher fires, indicating that their customers may be at less risk of home emergencies than the average.
Which? suggested that some appliance manufacturers could “drag their feet” when it comes to product recalls. For instance, during the inquest into the death of Santosh Benjamin Muthiah – who was killed in a house fire caused by a faulty Beko fridge freezer – it was discovered that independent risk assessors had highlighted the problems with the appliance two years and five months before Beko announced a product recall.
Which? Executive Director Richard Lloyd said that it is “crucial” for dangerous products to be recalled “as quickly as possible”.
He pointed out that dishwashers, tumble dryers and washing machines are often left on when the house is unoccupied or overnight, and said it was “shocking” that these appliances could potentially pose serious dangers.
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