Thousands of house fires caused by faulty kitchen appliances every year

Government needs to do more to protect the consumer from faulty products

A Which? investigation has uncovered an alarming number of faulty kitchen appliances, causing thousands of house fires every year.

The scale of the problem is laid bare by a Which? investigation that found people suffering serious damage to their homes caused by appliances ranging from exploding toasters to smoking kettles.  Freedom of Information requests to fire services across the country revealed that it is not necessarily the obvious appliances that consumers should worry about like cookers and ovens but tumble dryers and washing machines are more likely to catch fire due to faults. In one example, over £86,000 worth of damage was caused by a dishwasher catching on fire.

Almost 6,000 appliances or their electrical leads caught fire due to faults in 2010/11, according to figures from the Department for Communities and Local Government.  Some fire brigades already collect data on the makes and models of appliances that have caused fires but this is not a statutory requirement and the information is not readily available to the public. Which? wants better information and better protection for the consumer. 

Which? executive director Richard Lloyd said:

“We want the Government to collect and analyse information on house fires caused by faulty appliances, by brand.  Greater transparency would alert manufacturers to products that are continually at fault and give consumers greater protection against faulty appliances so they can prevent damage to their homes.”

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