Integrated Family Community Services 3370 South Irving Street, Englewood, CO 80110-1816 Ph: 303-789-0501

Is Your Refrigerator a Fire Hazard?

Our hardworking refrigerators can be a significant fire hazard in the home and can be expensive to replace. These dependable kitchen appliances are among the highest appliance-related fires caused right after stoves, toaster ovens and microwaves. Also, beware of that old break room refrigerator in the workplace, as dangerous fires due to these standard workplace lunch cooling appliances have occurred. Here are some things to know about refrigerators so you can make sure they aren’t a fire hazard and know how to maintain them instead of buying a new one.

Yes, Refrigerators Can Catch Fire

Contrary to popular opinion, refrigerators can and do catch fire. Recently, a London high rise burned down killing 79 or more people and injuring many others. Major news sources in the UK reported on this great tragedy. Read what this country’s television news reporters and journalists found after covering this serious incident. In 2017, a London high rise burned down after a fire started in a faulty refrigerator in a fourth-floor apartment. Fire officials point to several safety issues that many household and workplace refrigerators can cause that could result in a deadly fire that every home and business owner should be aware of.

Check Your Electricity

It is important for homeowners, apartment renters, and business managers to check for electrical hazards in and around a refrigerator on the premises. Always devote a separate wall electrical outlet for these larger energy-using appliances. Make sure that the outlet can handle the increased energy force. Additionally, look for signs of refrigerator cord damage such as fraying or exposed wires. Always ensure that your refrigerator cord plug is pushed all the way into a safe electrical outlet, and avoid having combustible materials stacked behind or near any refrigerator. This could start or fuel a fire started with just a spark.

Fill Out and Send in Warranty Data

One way that refrigerator and other appliance manufacturers have to keep track of any safety or operational problems that could potentially pop up in the future is to provide customers with a warranty card. This data is essential to complete and send to the company to ensure that known safety risks can be properly relayed from manufacturer to customer in a timely manner. Make sure that if you see anything wrong with your refrigerator that you fill out the proper warranty forms and send them to the company so you can get a replacement fridge or part and lessen the risk of a fire in your home. Also, check regularly for potential recalls on your refrigerator so you can be aware of parts that need to be replaced.

Proper Refrigerator Maintenance Can Prevent Fires

Many consumers are unaware that refrigerators must be regularly inspected and maintained for proper operation and to extend the appliance’s lifetime. In addition, proper refrigerator maintenance chores can help to prevent life-threatening fires. One of the biggest causes of a refrigerator fire is due to its coils being overly dirty with accumulated dust and grime. Also, the back of the refrigerator must have the proper amount of space between the wall and the appliance back to ensure the proper airflow the compressor needs to keep the interior cool or frozen. The refrigerator should be pulled away from the wall to dust off and/or vacuum the back and coils at least once or preferably twice a year after unplugging the cord.

Proper care, maintenance and prompt repairs of appliance problems can lower risks of refrigerator fires on both residential and commercial properties. Keep warranty information up-to-date and follow electrical and kitchen appliance safety practices to prevent dangerous fires and keep your home and family safe.

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Integrated Family Community Services is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

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IFCS’ Tax ID # 84-0579740