Tumble dryer electrical safety

Tumble dryer electrical safety

The problem, advice and what you should do

Given the recent concerning headlines seen in the news, many people are worrying as to whether their tumble dryer is a disaster waiting to happen in their home. There are millions of potential fire-risk dryers at use across the UK. The affected ones were sold between 2004 and 2015 and consists of 127 models from Hotpoint, Indesit, Creda, Swan, and Proline. The machines affected are large air-vented and condensing dryers.

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Personal Safety

Fire damage can cause structural damage so the less people in the property, the better. Be aware of obstacles and sharp objects within the property and wear personal protective clothing. We highly recommend that you DO NOT enter the property unless instructed it is safe to do so by supporting authorities. Soot and smoke are hazardous to health. If you do enter the building you need to take precautions. Do not eat or drink anything that has been in contact with the flames, soot or smoke as certain contamination will have occurred.

Environmental Safety

Ensure gas, water and electricity supplies are switched off at the mains, do not touch any electrical sources whilst in contact with water. Remember that the fire services may use large quantities of water to extinguish the fire. Contact utilities suppliers and glaziers if necessary. Secure the property if possible. Although fire damage can be devastating you need to be aware that you are still responsible for the security of the property and you should act to keep your property safe and not compromise the safety of it.

3. Limit Secondary Damage

If it is safe and easy to do so you should try and remove valuable items to protect them from secondary damage caused by soot and smoke. It is also a good idea to make a quick list of items that have been damaged. Contact your insurance company and inform them of the situation. Be clear and concise with them. Offer them a list of items that have sustained damage and salvage what you can. Once you have contacted your insurance company, call Tempest Restoration on 0845 052 4522 and arrange for us to visit the property to provide expert advice and service to return your home to its pre-incident state as quickly and as efficiently as possible.

Please note that Tempest Restorations services are not a replacement for the Emergency Services and should only be contacted after them and your insurance company.

What Is The Problem with fire risk tumble dryers?

The fire risk is the result of excess fluff getting trapped and coming into contact with the heating element on the tumble dryer. Fixing the fault involves the replacement of the complete back panel and rear drum seal. Plus, a mechanical pin installed to the rear of the drum prevents a build-up of lint. The RoSPA (The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents) recommend that everyone checks whether or not their tumble dryer is one of those affected. There are still millions of customers of yet to respond to the safety notice, so don’t put off checking. The Electrical Safety First website has all the information you’ll need to do this.

I Have An Affected Machine, What Should I Do?

If you discover that you own one of the affected tumble dryers, then you should contact the manufacturer and agree on a solution with them. They are offering a free repair to customers with a machine less than one-year-old. Those with older machines have the option of a new tumble dryer at a reduced cost but across the board, the advice is mixed as to whether the machines are safe to use in the meantime.

Some manufacturers are insisting that they are safe to use. Some are advising cleaning the lint filter after every use and recommend not using the machines when unattended. Not only is this impractical for a tumble dryer on a long cycle, but a fire can also take hold very quickly. Even if you stand by the side of the unit whilst its being used, the potential electrical fire would take hold quicker than you could react to it.

Tumble Dryer Safety Advice

Generally, tumble dryers are safe products to use and the recent headlines, although hard hitting, shouldn't necessarily mean that you should stop using your appliance. The advice which some manufacturers are giving is good. Cleaning the filter after every use prevents fluff from building up and potentially combusting as it’s heated. You should never leave any appliance running unattended or overnight anyway, these are basic manufacturers guidelines. That way, you’re on hand to react quickly should something go wrong. Quick action could prevent a fire from occurring, or reduce its seriousness.

It’s also important to not overload your tumble dryer. Spread the workload over two cycles if necessary and try not to squeeze everything into one load. A half-load will dry a lot quicker, and because the heat can circulate, it will prevent clothes from reaching dangerously high temperatures. Make sure that your appliance is in a well-vented room, with nothing placed up tight against the unit. Also, make sure that the vent pipe is properly fitted and in no way kinked, crushed or damaged.

Be alert and don't ignore potential warning signs. If you can smell burning, react before it does start to burn. If clothes are taking longer to dry, or are feeling hotter than usual at the end of a cycle, then these can also be signs that something is wrong. Don’t forget to also install smoke alarms in your home, and regularly check that they are still working. They will quickly alert you when they detect a fire so that your family can get themselves safely and swiftly out of harm’s way.

Make sure that when you purchase an electrical item that you register the appliance. This makes it easier for manufacturers to notify you should it get recalled. And that guarantees you’re informed of any important safety information.

Ultimately, even though the headlines about tumble dryers has been widespread and their are potential manufacturing issues with models, its still worth keeping in mind that these items can be a potential fire risk and should be considered so. Basic common sense and alertness to risks is something we should all be aware of. Looking after your electrical items and keeping them in a serviceable state will help prevent the possible risk of fire in your home.

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FAQs

A. We aim to be on the scene as soon as we can. With technicians located acrosss the UK, you are never too far away from the expert help of Tempest Restoration. The longer you delay after your property has been affected by fire, the worse the damage will be. From the moment of arrival on site, we will begin the decontamination process. We work around the clock to ensure that fire damage and your losses are kept to a minimum. We aim to safely return your business to normal, as quickly as possible.

A. Damage caused by fire may look superficial but its the effects on materials that are not visible that can have lasting consequences to health and to the structure of a building. Potential hazards include asbestos and lead among others. Your home is full of porous materials and smoke can penetrate these materials beyond what is viewable by the naked eye. Our bespoke equipment and understanding of the uniqueness of each fire gives us the ability to detect fire damage and deal with it safely and effectively. Hired machines in the hands of inexperienced operators will cost unnecessary time and money in the long term. We understand the urgency of returning your home to its pre incident state and we operate quickly and efficiently to do so for you.

A. From your point of view, the quicker the process starts, the quicker you can be back in your home. Restoration work following a fire can be lengthy, it would be wrong to assume its a quick fix. Secondary damage caused by fire begins within minutes but can be minimised if dealt with promptly by a professional. During a fire, chemical reactions produce chemicals that are toxic and potentially fatal. During the time that the fire services are extinguishing the flames, the use of water (although required for putting out the fire) can unfortunately cause further structural damage and additional hazards. The contaminated area needs to be neutralised and rendered safe to prevent further damage and degradation. Potentially, every minute is costing you money.

A. During the combustion of a fire, chemical changes occur and environmental pollutants are created, many of which are harmful to human health. This seems fairly straight forward but natural and synthetic materials in your home produce a vast array of chemicals, depending on their makeup. Here at Tempest, we thoroughly assess the entire area using state-of-the-art testing equipment to detect any traces of hazardous substances.

A. Of paramount importance and priority is safety. Fire can, however big or small, cause structural damage to your home. Even past the point of the emergency services approving the site safe for entry, you should still proceed with caution. Every fire is different and unique. The location of a fire in your home can cause a chain reaction to other rooms, and sometimes it can be contained, either way the process of restoration is variable depending on many different factors. We assess each site to ascertain the extent of the damage and the precise actions required. We undertake a comprehensive risk assessment and survey of the property along with safety checks of power supplies to isolate any further damage. Ventilation of the home then removes trace of odour. Contents are assessed for renovation/removal and damaged surfaces are decontaminated and cleaned, neutralising odours.

A. During a fire the heat produced can reach thousands of degrees. The corrosive smoke produced is forced into every space and becomes trapped in porous materials, most surfaces will almost certainly suffer corrosion. Combustion will create chemical products that will be toxic long after fire is extinguished. During the fire, fumes and chemicals produced such as carbon monoxide are potentially fatal. It is essential that your home is decontaminated by a professional following a fire, you could be ricking your health if you don't.

A. Yes. A fire produces chemical residues during combustion. The combustion process releases harmful chemicals into the environment. In older buildings materials such as asbestos and mercury have fatal side effects when subjected to fire. These chemicals penetrate porous materials and surfaces within the building itself. Smoke particles can penetrate some places you probably didn't think of, such as your heating system. If left, they can remain for months in the atmosphere which can result in lung irritation and respiratory problems, a major reason for having a professional undertake the restoration work.

A. Given that each fire is individual and unique based on many different factors including location, time and combustibles, the damage caused and cost to restore is also variable. In order to limit these costs, it is essential that fire damage remediation commences as quickly as possible. The secondary damage caused to properties begins following the fire being extinguished and will cause costs to escalate if not stopped. Our swift response teams located across the UK can be on site speedily and act quickly and efficiently to ensure your losses are kept to a minimum and your home can be back to normal in a short space of time.

A. Our technicians are trained to the highest standards and are equipped to decontaminate fire and soot-damaged properties. We have been restoring, renovating and repairing domestic and commercial premises for over many years and have served hundreds of customers in across the UK, helping them get back to normal. We are trusted providers to many insurance companies who come highly recommend.

A. We operate across the UK with technicians available in major towns and cities. Our head office is based in Swaffham, Norfolk where we undertake all our training.

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