• Statistics show that more than 1 in 10 UK household fires last year were caused by faulty electrical goods
  • You can try to prevent the cause of these fires by following a few simple tips when using your household appliances
  • Register your appliances online in order to stay informed of any safety recalls, which could put your home at risk

Last year, the government published the UK Fire Statistics, which revealed that 11% of all accidental dwelling fires between April 2013 and March 2014 were caused by faulty electrical appliances. 

Homeowners could avoid putting their homes and families at risk by being aware of the following tips. 

  • If your appliance doesn’t have an ‘off switch’, make sure you turn it off and unplug at the wall when you’re not using it

  • Don’t overload extension cables and avoid using multi-plugs altogether if you can help it. Extension cables are handy but should only be used as a temporary measure.

  • Fit at least one smoke alarm on each level of your home and place one near your kitchen as a priority. Don’t forget to test them frequently

  • Gas-powered appliances, such as your boiler, should be serviced regularly and checked for safety by a Gas Safe registered engineer. You can visit Stay Gas Safe to set yourself a reminder

  • Don’t keep your refrigerator or freezer in the garage. Most fridges aren’t capable of running properly if the temperature surrounding the appliance drops too low

  • When using lawn mowers, strimmers or other electrical equipment in the garden, check that the socket you are using has been fitted with a circuit breaker in case you accidentally cut through the electrical cable

  • Yes, it’s a chore, but it’s really important to read the instruction booklet that comes with each household appliance to understand the safest way to use it. Most electrical goods also have descriptions, manuals and ‘how to’ guides on the brand websites

  • Once you’ve read the manual, store it in safe place – or in a box file along with all the other manuals for your household appliances. It makes sense to keep any receipts with each booklet. 

In addition to these pointers, there is a government and industry-supported campaign, encouraging homeowners to register all their household appliances on a secure database: Register my appliance

That way, if there’s a safety recall on an electrical item you own, you’ll know about it straightaway and the problem can be resolved with a simple in-home fix by a qualified engineer. 

Safely repairing your appliances sooner rather than later could help reduce the risk of accidental fires in the home, avoiding the need to claim on your home insurance.

Currently only a third of consumers register their domestic appliances leaving a significant number of untraceable electrical items, if an issue arises.