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A Hot Issue: Dishwashers on Fire

Submitted by on Thursday, 5 April 2012No Comment

Two thirds of home fires start, in one way or another, in the kitchen. As you may safely guess, most of them are directly related to unattended cooking, with ignition of food and cooking equipment as the leading cause of home fires and personal injuries. We’ve all been warned of the dangers of fires from cooking and kitchen appliances like hotplates or grills, and hopefully take the necessary precautions…

But here’s one particular kitchen appliance you probably didn’t consider particularly risky when it comes to house fires: the dishwasher. When we push the “wash” button as we go to bed at night or leave for work, we don’t think that a fire hazard.

dishwasher fire 219x300 A Hot Issue: Dishwashers on Fire

The dishwasher has a good reputation of safely and thoroughly washing our dishes; besides, it operates with water, so fire doesn’t easily come to mind.

However, recent reports from consumers and fire investigators brought this subject into the public eye: dishwashers are responsible for many home fires. In 2011, over 260 complaints rega
The complaints were not related to a single brand. Fires occurred with several major dishwasher brands, and many caused serious fire damage. Dishwasher fires start mainly as a result of overheated wires (the result of faulty design), an issue that’s hard to notice and hard to prevent.rding safety issues of dishwashers, dishwasher incidents and home fires started by dishwashers were reported on www.saferproducts.gov, a public website managed by the government. It’s safe to assume that the actual number is much higher, so in reality, we may be talking of thousands of such incidents in the past couple of years.

While giving up the convenience of our dishwashers is not somethings most of us would consider, there are things you can do to prevent dishwasher fires and assure the safety of your family and home:

  • Check on the particular brand of your dishwasher, to see if it had safety recalls. In the past couple of years, many major brands were investigated by federal safety regulators, with products found potentially hazardous, leading to class action lawsuits against dishwasher manufacturers.
  • Before buying a new dishwasher, also research if the particular brand/model had fire incidents associated with it.
  • Verify your electrical wiring, and make sure your kitchen appliances are not overloading the circuit.
  • Try to use your dishwasher only when you are at home.
  • If you smell anything strange coming from the dishwasher (smoke, burnt wires) unplug the dishwasher immediately and call for professional assistance.
  • Have a working fire alarm, as they dramatically increase your chances of surviving the fire.

Michigan Fire Claims, Inc., a public adjuster company and consumer advocate in the insurance claim process.

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