Many of us leave them going overnight, knowing they’re working away drying our clothes while we sleep. But how safe is it to leave a tumble dryer on while you’re in bed or out of the house?
A few years ago, research by Which? found 113 Hotpoint, Creda and Indesit models of tumble dryer that had been manufactured between 2004 and 2015, posed a potential fire risk.
London Fire Brigade has also just revealed that a fire in August 2016 in an 18-story tower block in Shepherd’s Bush was caused by a faulty Indesit tumble dryer, owned by parent company Whirlpool.
London Fire Brigade's director of operations Dave Brown told the Daily Mail: “This fire has highlighted just how dangerous faulty white goods can be.”
A spokesperson for the London Fire Brigade says consumers will rightly be worried by the result of the investigation.
“Sadly there is no single, publicly accessible register of product recalls, something our Total Recalls campaign is fighting hard to change.
“If anyone is worried about their product, please contact the manufacturer and find out whether it is subject to a safety notice or a recall.
“Whirlpool still maintain that people may continue to use the affected dryers while they are waiting for them to be modified, so long as they are not left unattended.
“The Brigade strongly disagrees and is urging anyone with one of the models in question to immediately unplug the machine and stop using it.”
The charity Electrical Safety First has the following advice:
1. Register your appliance
Always register a new appliance with the manufacturer.
That way you can be contacted easily if a safety recall is required.
While the chances of a faulty product causing serious damage are small, the risk is still there and returning a faulty product or ordering its repair is very easy to do.
To register all your appliances, regardless of age, visit Register My Appliance.
2. Check online for recalls
Use the charity’s free online checker to see if you have any recalled electrical items.
3. Think before you fit
If you're concerned about fitting a new tumble dryer yourself, ask a qualified electrician.
4. Keep it clean
Make sure you clean out lint and fluff from the filter and around the door after every use.
5. Check marks
Watch out for scorching or burn marks, and check for loose or worn wires.
6. Get it serviced
Be sure to have your dryer serviced annually by a qualified engineer.
7. Don’t overload it
Never overload your tumble dryer.
Avoid this by taking large or bulky items such as duvets to the dry-cleaners.
8. Complete the cycle fully
Always allow each drying programme, including the "cool down cycle", to complete fully.
Don't stop the dryer before the end of the cycle unless all items are quickly removed and the door is left open to dissipate heat.
9. Watch out for combustible substances
Be sure to leave clothes contaminated with combustible substances such as solvents, grease, oils or fats out of tumble dryers.
10. Turn it off overnight
Don't leave dryers, dishwashers and washing machines on overnight.
If possible, unplug or switch off appliances at the socket overnight and when going out to avoid the risk of an electrical fault causing a fire.
Are you worried about your tumble dryer? Tell us in the comments box below.