Faulty electrical appliances responsible for 7 fires a day in England and Wales
An average of two thirds of Brits’ electrical products aren’t registered with the manufacturer, new research has revealed - leaving an estimated 268 million sitting in homes belonging to consumers who have no way of being contacted if a potentially dangerous fault is discovered.[i]
Electrical Safety First, the UK’s leading electrical safety charity, surveyed 5,000 adults in the UK and is urging consumers to always register electrical products with the manufacturer after purchasing. Based on the survey’s responses, the Charity found that on average British homes house 15 electrical products with a shocking 10 of these unregistered. Only those who have registered can be notified if their product is found to be faulty, leaving those who haven’t done so at risk.
The Charity’s research comes as new analysis shows a staggering 7 fires occur every single day in England and Wales as a result of faulty domestic appliances and leads, some of which have devastating consequences for those involved. In total, 2,473 electrical fires were caused by faults in England and Wales last year, with the most common of these started by washing machines which contributed to 521. Tumble dryers were close behind linked to 517.[ii] England accounted for 2,330 of these fires whilst 143 occurred in Wales.
The impact of electrical fires can also carry financial implications to consumers as the Co-Op Insurance claims data shows that between 2017-2018, an average of 1 in 5 home fire claims made were due to ‘electrical faults’.[iii]
Electrical Safety First also found that less than half of Brits registered the last appliance they bought,[iv] while less than a quarter of those who bought electrical items in the recent Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas and January sales period registered them all.[v] Less than 40% know the main risks associated with a recalled electrical product, which may explain these low registration rates.[vi] Over half believe manufacturers want consumers to register for marketing reasons.[vii]
Despite washing machines being attributed to the most accidental electrical fires through faults, less than half of respondents to the charity’s survey said they are ‘very likely’ to register this item. That number fell to 41% with regards to tumble dryers despite these being the second biggest culprits, while only 39% would be very likely to register a new dishwasher which came third.[viii]
THE TUMBLE DRYER THAT STOLE CHRISTMAS:
Maxine Smith, a mum from Ellesmere Port who works for an estate agent, knows first-hand the devastation that can occur when things go wrong with electrical appliances after her tumble dryer bursts into flames last month, leaving her unable to stay in her own home during Christmas. She later learnt that it had been recalled.
“There is no way to describe how heart-breaking it is to watch your home burn and being helpless to stop it. I had just had a shower and came into the kitchen when I noticed some smoke coming out the back of the tumble dryer. I immediately turned the machine off and on pulling the dryer out to take a closer look, flames completely engulfed the unit and spread. I had no choice but to run. On leaving the house the windows and door blew off. I really got out just at the right time.
Christmas was ruined. This all took place a matter of days before I was set to host celebrations with my family. My home was left in such a state I had to spend Christmas at my daughter’s. That time of the year is supposed to be a happy one but for me it was ruined by the devastation caused by something as every day as a tumble dryer. If I had been out of the house or, worse, in bed, there’s no telling what more damage the fire could have done. It’s really opened my eyes to the precautions we should all take to stop this sort of thing from happening. The first step is registering all of your electrical products so if there are any dangerous faults found the manufacturer can contact you and they can be recalled.”
Mother-of-two and small business owner Angela Westbrook, 44 from Lincoln, witnessed a fire caused by her dishwasher which she later found to have been a recalled product.
“After hearing the smoke alarm go off my husband went into the kitchen to see flames shooting out of our dishwasher, which I’d put on an hour before. I shouted for my eldest daughter to get out of the bath, grab a towel and her 2-year-old sister and get out of the house. My husband and I had grabbed tea towels, made them wet and threw them over the dishwasher before we fled the house having already called 999 and believing the machine to still be on fire. When the fire brigade arrived they spotted a piece of plastic that had fallen to the bottom inside and continued to burn.
I googled the make of the dishwasher afterwards and found that it had been flagged as a fire risk over five years ago and recalled. Given how much damage the fire could have caused; it’s really made me realise how important it is to register electrical appliances so that you can be contacted if a fault like this is discovered.”
Phil Buckle, Chief Executive at Electrical Safety First commented:
“As the statistics show, fires caused by faulty electrical appliances are a common occurrence, and can sometimes be fatal. It’s worrying; therefore, that so few products are being registered by consumers after purchasing. Electrical Safety First is urging people to protect themselves from these risks by always registering their products. It only takes a few minutes and ensures you’ll be notified if a fault with the product is uncovered, giving you peace of mind knowing you’re keeping yourself and those you live with safe.”
For more information, please contact:
Joshua Drew T: 07864 009875 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tom Davies T : 07866 702069 E : email@example.com
- Electrical Safety First is a UK Charity dedicated to reducing and preventing damage, injuries and death caused by electricity. More information can be found at electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk
- All consumer research, unless otherwise stated, was undertaken from 09 to 19 January 2019 by Censuswide with a sample of 5,000 adults across the United Kingdom. The figures are representative of all UK adults.
- All data, both that of the Home Office as well as Stats Wales, is relative to analysis of records between 2017 -18.
How do I register my product?
Registering a product is easy and only takes a few minutes. There are two ways in which you can register:
- Follow instructions supplied with product
Details on how to register your appliance can be found alongside the product’s instructions for how to operate and maintain it.
- Register online at the “Register My Appliance” website
Alternatively, visit http://www.registermyappliance.org.uk, which links to all the major electronics manufacturers. This way, even if you’ve had the item for a while and have long since lost the associated paperwork, it is still possible for you to register it.
In order to register your product, you’ll usually need:
- The brand name
- The model (usually either a name or a number)
- The serial number
- The date of purchase (or as near to it as you can remember)
[i] Consumer research commissioned by Electrical Safety First and conducted by Censuswide surveying 5,000 people in the UK nationally representative of the population, found that respondents had an average of 9.86 unregistered electrical products in their home out of an average of 15.04 in total. This figure multiplied by the number of households in the UK according to ONS (27.2 million as of 2017) results in 267,648,000.
[ii] Based on analysis of all accidental electrical appliance fires in dwellings 2017/18 in which the cause was listed as a faulty appliance or lead, from the Home Office Fire Statistics Data and Stats Wales.
[iii] Data obtained from the Co-op Insurance based on claims with ‘electrical fault’ listed as the causation. This also includes other electrical faults aside from solely domestic appliances, including wiring and lights.
[iv] Aforementioned consumer research found that 41.6% of respondents answered ‘Yes’ to the question ‘the last time you bought a new electrical product, did you register it?’
[v] Aforementioned consumer research found that 23% of respondents answered ‘Yes, all of them’ to the question ‘If you bought any electrical products during Black Friday/Cyber Monday the run-up to Christmas, Boxing Day or the January sales did you register it/them?’, excluding those who answered ‘N/A’ – I didn’t buy any.’
[vi] Aforementioned consumer research found that 38.9% of respondents answered ‘Yes’ to the question ‘Do you know the main risks associated with a recalled electrical product?’
[vii] Aforementioned consumer research found that 54.2% of respondents answered ‘Contact me with details of other products I might be interested in’ to the question ‘Why do you think manufacturers would want you to register the electrical products that you buy (Tick all that apply)?’ – other options included ‘contact me if there is a safety problem with my product’, ‘keep track of where their products have been sold’, ‘share my details with other manufacturers of similar products’, ‘don’t know/not sure’ and ‘other, please specify)
[viii] Aforementioned consumer research found that when asked ‘How likely are you to register the following electrical products’, 48.1% answered ‘very likely’ for ‘Washing Machine’, 41.2% answered ‘very likely’ for ‘Tumble Dryer’ and 38.9% answered ‘very likely’ for ‘Dishwasher’