Although dishwasher fires are not a common cause of household fires, they can still occur due to poor installation, leakage, improper usage, and other electrical problems.
‘’We were lucky to be home when our dishwasher caught fire. Otherwise, it could have been much worse”
This was one of many comments from people whose dishwashers caught fire following the Maytag 2007 recall by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Does this mean you should never use dishwashers? Of course not. In fact, I think you should have one in your home if you have a large family or a lot of dishes, as I do. A dishwasher makes cleaning your kitchen appliances much easier.
However, you should be aware of the potential hazards of using a dishwasher and how to avoid them.
Have you ever experienced your dishwasher running extremely hot and wondering if your kitchen is about to go up in flames?
This safety guide will teach you about the causes, prevention, and protection against dishwasher fires in your home.
Do Dishwashers Catch Fire?
Yes! Dishwashers are made with heating elements that can catch fire if they get overheated. And according to CPSC records, they are the second most common cause of kitchen fires by non-cooking appliances. Here is why;
Causes Of Dishwasher Fire Outbreak
There are multiple reasons why your dishwasher could start a fire in your kitchen. The most serious of which is faulty wiring from the manufacturer. Explains why we have had so many dishwasher products recalls over the years
It is not your fault if your dishwasher sparks a fire due to faulty wiring. However, there are other causes of dishwasher fires that can be easily avoided. Let us look at the most common causes.
This is arguably the most common reason for dishwasher fires.
In 2007, over 2 million dishwashers were recalled due to faulty wiring. Again, in June 2021, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission recalled about 42,000 dishwashers due to wiring flaws that caused overheating and fire hazards in users’ homes.
Many users of these products reported sparks, smoke, and fire outbreaks in their homes after a few months of use.
When there’s a wiring fault, the dishwasher’s heating element cannot properly shut off, resulting in overheating and a potential fire outbreak.
However, several manufacturers have greatly improved their dishwashing products’ components, features, and protective ability. So, when buying your dishwasher, lookout for the best makers in the market. Read online reviews and only buy from reputable vendors.
A common mistake we make with dishwashers is attempting to install the new appliances ourselves. Running the electrical cord of your dishwasher through carpeting can easily weaken the cords and cause them to spark a fire.
Even though it’s a little pricey to hire a professional, never attempt to install your dishwasher yourself. The end result may be more expensive than you anticipated.
Aside from wiring and installation issues, leaving your dishwasher running unattended could result in overheating and a fire outbreak. So, if you’re fond of leaving your dishwasher running unattended or overnight, you risk setting your home ablaze.
Overloading Your Dishwasher
Every dishwasher comes with an instruction manual that explains how to use the appliance. Failure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions puts your appliance at risk of damage.
Some dishwasher instructions include the number of items to load in the tray during a wash cycle, the type of detergent to use, and more. Try to follow these guidelines t prevent damage or the possibility of your dishwasher catching fire.
Dishwashers are made of plumbing and electrical components. Any damage to one of these components can impact the other. For example, if water leaks downpipes to an electric opening, it can cause a spark and the machine to blow up, resulting in a fire.
How To Prevent Dishwasher Related Fires
Understanding the causes of dishwasher fires can help you prevent fire hazards in your kitchen. However, these additional safety guides will help you avoid dishwasher fires in your home.
Follow the Manufacturer’s Instructions
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions as detailed in the user manual. Use your dishwasher correctly and take the necessary safety precautions.
Never Leave Your Dishwasher Unattended
Never start a dishwasher before leaving the house or going to bed. Although it seems like a good plan to come home to clean dishes after work or wake up to clean dishes in the morning, it’s not worth the risk. Instead, unplug your dishwasher when not in use.
Register Your Appliance
When you purchase a new dishwasher, make sure to register it with the manufacturer so that you are notified if the appliance is found to be defective and subject to a safety recall.
If your dishwasher is recalled, stop using it immediately, unplug it from its power source, and contact your manufacturer for a free repair, replacement, or compensation.
Prompt Repair and Maintenance
Inspect your power cords for damage regularly, and repair any leaks as soon as they occur. Prompt repair prevents water from leaking over internal wires and igniting a fire.
Also, if you notice any problems with your dishwasher, always contact a professional.
Good Power Source
Because there are several electronic appliances in the kitchen, there are usually an equal number of power sources. In most cases, extension boxes come to our aid.
However, it’s best to plug the dishwasher into a grounded wall socket instead of using extension boxes as a permanent power source for your dishwasher.
Get Latest Reviews
Keep up with breaking news and the most recent reviews about your appliance, particularly from the manufacturer. You will be notified if a fault is discovered in your product or if a recall process is in progress.
How To Protect Your Home In Case Of Dishwasher Fire
Safety First! A fire in the kitchen can quickly spread to other parts of the house. Hence, protect your family’s lives before saving your property.
If there is a full-blown fire in your kitchen:
- Immediately evacuate the building and call emergency services.
- In addition, I recommend that you create and practice an escape plan with your family in advance in case of a fire hazard.
Other safety suggestions include:
Turning Off Power
If you have a near-fire experience, such as a spark, smoke, or small fire coming from your dishwasher:
- Immediately turn it off and unplug it from the socket.
- Then, turn off the power supply to your home at the circuit breaker.
- Hire an electrician/plumber to inspect the situation, repair the problem, and show you how to avoid a similar spark in the future.
Get A Fire Extinguisher
The most effective tool for putting out an electrical fire in your home is a fire extinguisher.
- Simply grab the nearest extinguisher and spray the burning appliances sweepingly to prevent spread and put out the fire.
- Baking powder is an excellent alternative for putting out minor fires. Take the baking powder out of the cabinet and sprinkle it on the fire source.
Note: Never use water to put out an electric fire. When you do this, you risk electrocution.
Install A Smoke Detector
A smoke alarm is an essential piece of fire protection in every home. You should buy one for your home, and if you already have one, make sure it is in good working condition.
In the event of a spark, smoke, or fire outbreak in the kitchen, the alarm immediately sounds to notify you or your neighbors of the incident.
Notify The Manufacturer
If your dishwasher ever sparks, catches fire, or overheats, you should notify the manufacturer. If the product is still under warranty, you may be able to get a replacement.
FAQs On Can A Dishwasher Catch Fire
What is The Most Common Cause Of House Fires?
According to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, the appliances that cause the most home fires are gas cookers, electric stoves, washing machines, dryers, microwaves, refrigerators, and dishwashers.
Why is My Dishwasher Overheating?
When your dishwasher is running, a faulty thermostat and other heating elements may cause it to overheat. When you notice your dishwasher overheating, turn it off and contact an electrician to repair the wiring problem.