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Preventing Appliance-Caused Electrical Fires

Is there anything more frustrating to a large family than having a washer or dryer break down? Heaps of clothing pile up or have to be lugged to Laundromat until a repairman finally shows up. The cost of appliance repair is always shocking, and sometimes the washer or dryer can't be fixed and has to be replaced altogether.

Although it's hard when an appliance quits working, it's downright scary when faulty wiring or some other defect causes overt danger to a family or home. It's important to know which appliances are the most likely to cause trouble, and do our best to prevent the ravages of electrical fires.

-- Air conditioners that are in continual use in dusty locations are definitely at risk because tracking faults can result from the settling of particles on electrical components. Air conditioners need to be dusted regularly to avoid such mishaps.

-- Dryers have an element that usually runs around the rear of the drying drum. Paper, lint, or any other combustible material that comes into contact with this element may ignite and cause an extremely dangerous situation. Make sure you keep the floor area around and behind the appliance clear of debris and clean the lint trap each and every time the dryer is used.

-- Hot water heaters, especially those of a considerable age, are liable to corrode in certain places. Water may leak through the resulting fissures, and if this moisture comes in contact with any of the appliance's electrical components, it may result in a fire. Have your hot water heater checked by a professional, and if it is old, it will need to be replaced.

-- Dishwashers have the same problem as all electrical appliances that deal with water: if moisture comes into contact with the electrical conductors at the top of the door due to leakage, a problem may occur. The heating unit at the bottom of the appliance operates at extremely high temperatures during the drying cycle, causing the most common reason for dishwasher fires. Keep plastic materials, and definitely anything paper, out of this appliance.

-- Refrigerators are another type of kitchen appliance susceptible to electrical fire due to water leakage. Check the drain tube from the freezer regularly to make sure it's not blocked up. Blockage during an ice-making cycle will cause water to overflow, possibly coming into contact with electrical circuitry.

Electrical fires can be prevented. The best overall advice is to never take the smooth operation of your appliances for granted: keep them clean, free from debris, and when appropriate, have regular professional maintenance done.


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