Almost 300 house fires are started every week by home appliances, according to the latest Home Office figures* analysed by appliances insurer Prominence Support.
Incident data from the Fire and Rescue Services (FRS), reveals there were just under 15,000 domestic fires (14,977) in England caused by home appliances during the last financial year (2019/20). That’s 288 fires every week or 41 blazes a day. However, domestic fires caused by home appliances have actually fallen 3.2% over the past 12 months compared to the previous year, when 15,478 incidents were attended by the Fire and Rescue Services.
The number of domestic appliance fires attended by the FRSs have also fallen every year over the past 10 years, dropping by more than a fifth (21.5%) since 2010/2011, when there were 19,067 recorded dwelling fires started by household appliances.
The biggest cause of domestic appliance fires remain cookers (incl. ovens). More than 8,000 blazes were started by a cooker. That’s over half (53%) of all domestic appliance fires tackled by the fire services. Toasters were the third highest cause of dwelling appliance fires, with 1,368 blazes started by a faulty toaster. Microwave ovens were the cause of 922 fires during 2019/20.
There was a 7% increase in domestic fires started by washing machines comparing the past two financial years, with 624 blazes caused by a washing machine in 2019/20 compared to 558 in 2018/19.
Fire services attended 43 incidents caused by a faulty vacuum-cleaner over the past 12 months, more than double the number in the previous year. There was a 37% increase in fires started by hair dryers in 2019/20.
Lorraine Taylor, claims manager at Prominence Support, comments: “Although nearly 300 fires a week is still too high, it’s encouraging to see that the number of fires caused by home appliances has been steadily failing over the past decade. This will be due to a number of reasons. It could be that people are changing their appliances more frequently, before any potentially dangerous faults develop.
“But upgrading an appliance every 2-3 years, particularly a larger item such as a washing machine, can be expensive. Many of us won’t keep a washing machine or tumble dryer for longer than 10-15 years, particularly with a wide range of affordable models on the market. But why replace an appliance after a few years if it’s basically in good working order. The key is to keep on top of maintenance and not let a minor fault turn into a potentially dangerous fault.
“Taking out appliance insurance is an affordable option to extend the life of your appliances. By having faults repaired straight away you can keep your appliances in top condition, and you won’t need to replace them every few years. And if you have an appliance that is beyond repair, and you have an insurance product that offers repair or replace, then you should be able to get a similar spec replacement.
“Not every fault starts a fire, but if you have an appliance checked when it’s not working properly, then it can be repaired or replaced before any fault could become a potentially lethal one.”
- 14,977 domestic fires started by home appliances in the past year, down from 19,067 in 2010/11
- More than half (53%) of those fires were due to a cooker/oven
- 169% increase in dwelling fires due to a faulty vacuum cleaner