6 home appliances most likely to self-immolate

by Laura Northrup, Consumerist

Kitchen appliances make our lives more convenient and our meals more delicious, but they’re also dangerous. Dangerous? Ordinary appliances start tens of thousands of fires in United States homes every year. Our colleagues down the hall at ShopSmart rounded up some common causes of appliance fires and warned us all.

Here are the most common causes of kitchen appliance fires, in descending order of how many conflagrations they’ve caused.

Ranges: Burners turning themselves on is the main danger, along with delayed oven ignition. Don’t keep flammable items like potholders or books on or near the stove in case this happens, and keep kids away too.

Dryers: Lint is the obvious culprit here. Keep your lint trap clean and also check for clogs and clean out the crevices when needed. A carbon monoxide detector can alert you to gas leaks before they become a serious threat.

Microwaves: They can start themselves up, too. Don’t store things in the microwave, and know how to cut the power to the unit in case it goes rogue and stays on.

Refrigerators: In addition to fried electronics and overheating control boards, if the light in your fridge stays on all the time, that can start a fire. Doesn’t matter whether your milk is afraid of the dark.

Dishwashers: If it contains a heating element, it can set itself on fire. Dishwashers have heating elements. Don’t run them unattended.

Toasters and toaster ovens: Again, if it heats up, it can overheat or catch fire. Unplug these appliances when you’re not using them if it’s practical.