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How Common Household Appliances Can Trigger Electrical Fire

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Let’s face it, modern household appliances are wonderful things to own. They take a lot of the drudgery out of everyday living, and bring entertainment and comfort to us at the touch of a remote.

At the same time though it can be easy to take them for granted, and not be aware that home appliances have been known to trigger electrical fires. Here are some examples.

Clothes dryers

Dryers are a great convenience but can also be a major cause of fires if they overheat, are used incorrectly, or if they build up excessive amounts of dust and lint.

Prevention tips include always allowing loads to complete a full cycle, including the ‘cool-down’ at the end, and cleaning the lint filter after each load. It’s also important to ensure there is good airflow and ventilation around the dryer, and to have the appliance periodically checked out and cleaned by a professional technician. Finally, you should always be present when the dryer is running – which means don’t switch it on and then go out!

Halogen downlights

According to Fire and Rescue NSW, halogen downlights can become very hot and cause fires if they are not properly installed and maintained.

Recommendations for fire prevention include always using licensed technicians for installations, and not allowing lighting to come into contact with insulation, paper, or other combustible material. Fire and Rescue also recommends installing a smoke alarm in the roof space.

Washing machines

Stories have popped up in the news recently about washing machines catching fire due to appliance faults, and owners not being aware of product recalls.

While a faulty appliance is not the fault of the owner, it does highlight the importance of checking for product recalls when buying any new appliance. Also, as for any appliance, washing machines should always be installed correctly and used as intended, and be regularly cleaned and maintained.


Occasionally, flat-screen televisions can catch on fire due to faulty components and / or overheating. Some years ago, state fire and rescue services in Queensland reported that an increasing number of TVs were causing house fires.

It’s important when purchasing a new TV to check online for any product recalls, and make sure all your AV equipment is installed by an electrician. Other safety tips include switching your set off when not in use, rather than leaving it on standby.

Other causes

Electrical fires can also occur due to frayed or worn cords and faulty electrical outlets. Old and outdated wiring, not designed to cope with multiple modern appliances, can also become overloaded. This can be mitigated by installing RCDs (residual current devices) or safety switches to cut off power when a circuit imbalance is detected. Call your home electricians in Sydney to install these.

General prevention measures

These examples highlight the importance of installing smoke alarms for your household’s safety, and of using professional home electrician services for all electrical work. In addition, if you choose to buy a second-hand appliance, you should get it checked out before switching it on. For new appliances, it’s also good idea before buying to check online for any product recalls.

If you would like to know more, call a home maintenance electrician in Sydney for professional advice on how to keep your home and family safe and protected from electrical fires.

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