Faulty Fire-Causing Appliances

The fire that spread through this home started in the kitchen. The cause - a toaster, according to fire officials.

Beverly Uberti says, "It was just horrendous, just horrendous. What wasn't destroyed by fire was destroyed by smoke and water damage."

Homeowners say the fire in their home started in their dishwasher while they were out of the house.

According to fire officials, another fire started in a microwave, even though the homeowners say it wasn't in use.

Consumer Reports reviewed 69,000 reports of house fires blamed on appliances between 2002 and 2009.
Its investigation found a significant number were not caused by human error.

Dan DiClerico with Consumer Reports says, "We found at least 23% are clearly attributable to problems with the appliances - mechanical, electrical, or design flaws. In some instances, the appliances turned on by themselves."

Faulty appliances causing the most fires were ranges, followed by dryers, air conditioners, refrigerators, and dishwashers.

Dan explains, "In the last five years, more than seven million dishwashers have been recalled due to defects that could cause a fire. And nearly eight million other appliances have been recalled for fire risks."

To check if an appliance you own has been recalled, you can go to recalls-dot-gov.

Why are there so many recalls due to fire hazards?

Dan says, "Appliances have gotten a lot more complex, so more can go wrong. And many recalled products are being manufactured abroad, the majority in China."

Consumer Reports says until appliance design and quality are improved, homeowners are left to wonder if the appliances in their homes are safe.

In response to Consumer Reports investigation, the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers said, "designing and manufacturing safe products" is a top priority of its members.

Here are some steps you can take - register new appliances with the manufacturer so you'll receive recall notices.
And don't run your dryer or dishwasher overnight or when you're away.

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