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Can A Washing Machine Catch Fire? (Truth Revealed)

Last updated on November 9th, 2022 by Steve

Home appliances are one of the most common leading causes of house fires. This fire is primarily due to the functionality of such home appliances.

However, appliances like toasters, microwaves, and irons are famous for starting a fire. Therefore, it is customary to wonder if a washing machine can catch fire.

While this may be confusing, it would be best to read this article thoroughly to answer your question and understand other things about washing machine fires.

A washing machine can catch fire, especially if there is a fault with the components, which leads to overheating. Also, it may catch fire if an electrical short circuit causes a spark. Overloading and dirt buildup are other reasons a washing machine can catch fire. Some manufacturing issues can also make it catch fire.

In this article, I will explain if the washing machine can catch fire, several reasons why it can catch fire, the probability of a fire, and if an unplugged washing machine can catch fire.

By the end, you’ll also understand which washing machines catch fire more often.

Can My Washing Machine Catch Fire?

Can a Washing Machine Catch Fire

Yes, your washing machine can catch fire. Unfortunately, there are many possible ways for a washing machine to catch fire and cause it to spread.

Washing machines have powerful components that move very fast, and these movements can cause the components to get very hot and result in a fire.

In addition, a washing machine can catch fire due to a short circuit or dirt buildup inside the machine.

Although washing machines catching fire are rare, it is still one of the significant causes of home appliances fire hazards.

The way you maintain your washing machine matters a lot in preventing a fire hazard. However, the machine may still catch fire, depending on the brand.

Some washing machine brands have an issue with the manufacturing process, which can affect their operations and cause a fire.

When your washing machine catches fire, it is best to identify the cause and manage the situation immediately.

Seven Reasons a Washing Machine Will Catch Fire

There are many reasons why a washing machine will catch fire. The most common reasons are usually due to the construction of the machine.

Although, it is also likely for the user to contribute to why a washing machine catches fire. However, it is best to identify the potential reasons for the machine to catch fire.

You can prevent a washing machine fire if you can identify the cause of the problem. The causes are straightforward and avoidable.

Here are the reasons why a washing machine will catch fire.

#1. Malfunctioning Motor

Every washing machine has an electrical motor that constantly moves while it is running.

This motor can get faulty and begin to malfunction, and it may result in the motor moving too fast or slow. If the motor is moving too fast, it can cause overheating.

Overheating can start a fire from the inside of the washing machine. You could smell burning before you noticed smoke coming from the machine.

#2. Drain Pump Issues

A clogged washing machine drain pump can cause overheating, which results in a fire. In addition, it is common for dirt and debris to block the drain pump over time.

Therefore, you should always ensure the drainage system is dirt free. In addition, some washing machine models’ water pumps use a rubber belt to drive the drain pump.

The belt is usually V-shaped and runs from the motor to the drain pump pulley. It performs the function of opening and closing the drain pump.

If the pump belt develops issues or gets damaged, it can cause overheating and fire. In this scenario, the fire usually starts from the drain.

#3. Motor Pulley Friction

The washing machine motor connects to the drum and drainage through belts; the design of the washing machine allows the pulley to always be in contact with these belts.

The contact between the pulley and belts causes inevitable friction. However, the motor pulley can become jammed, stuck, or dirty.

When the pulley experiences any of these issues, it can cause too much friction and heat. The heat then eventually causes a fire.

#4. Water Leakage

The washing machine’s water hoses can develop issues over time, resulting in issues, especially leakage.

The water from the leak can spray onto the electrical components and cause a short circuit. This situation can cause sparks that result in a fire.

The burning comes from the electrical components, in this case. Also, it may cause an electric shock if you attempt to touch the machine or step on the water.

#5. Incorrect Installation

It is essential to use an earthing-type outlet to ground the washing machine’s electrical connection during installation properly.

The washing machine can cause electrocution or fire if the installation and connection are incorrect. However, this outlet will prevent a potential case of electrocution and fire.

#6. Faulty Electrical Wiring

Your washing machine can start a fire if the electrical wiring and outlet are faulty or damaged. For example, old wiring can unravel or wear out.

The issue can cause sparks which lead to a fire. It would help to regularly check the wire connections for your machine, especially old wiring, and change them to prevent a fire hazard.

#7. Overloading

Loading the machine with too many items can result in excessive vibration. Such vibrations can make the electrical components short-circuit and lead to a fire.

How Likely is a Washing Machine to Catch Fire?

It is unlikely for a washing machine to catch fire even though fire hazards from appliances are pretty famous.

Many instances involve other appliances like iron and toasters, which are the leading cause of house fires due to home appliances.

Although it is rare for washing machines to catch fire, some brands and models are prone to fire hazards.

The manufacturers of such brands had to recall the machines due to increased house fires due to washing machines. As a result, some of these brands are no longer in the market.

However, there are some steps you can take to reduce the possibility of your washing machine catching fire, irrespective of its brand and model.

The table below will help you know the steps to prevent washing machine fire hazards.

Likely CausesPrevention
Malfunctioning motorCheck it regularly for wear and replace it.
Drain pump issuesReplace or unclog the drain pump
Motor pulley frictionClean the pulley regularly or replace it.
Water leakagePatch or replace the water hoses.
Electrical installation Use the correct wiring and install it properly.
OverloadingAvoid exceeding the load capacity.

Can an Unplugged Washing Machine Catch Fire?

An unplugged washing machine can catch fire if you do not empty it or let it stop working. This situation happens because the electrical motor may still be running.

The running motor can generate heat even when you unplug the washing machine. If the motor generates excessive heat, it can melt the insulation around the wiring.

When the insulation melts, it can result in a fire. The burning smells like rubber and spreads gradually until a flame is apparent.

Therefore, removing all the items from the washing machine is best before unplugging the appliance.

It would also help to ensure the drum has stopped moving before removing the items.

Removing the items and ensuring the machine stops will reduce the electric shock or burning risk.

In addition, it is essential to always open the door of a front-loading washing machine before unplugging it. This way, hot air inside the machine can escape into the atmosphere.

It would prevent it from overheating and starting a fire. The best way to avoid a washing machine catching fire is to prevent any form of heat.

Which Washing Machines Catch Fire More Often?    

Some popular washing machine brands are famous for catching fire more often. Some of these brands are Hotpoint and Indesit, under the leading manufacturer Whirlpool.

Whirlpool had to recall these washing machines due to a manufacturing issue that caused a fire.

The machines’ door locking system causes overheating, which results in a fire.

The issue with these washing machines makes them unsafe and extremely dangerous. In addition, the manufacturing issue affected many washing machines under these brands.

The Hotpoint and Indesit branded washing machines were on sale for more than five years, so there is a high probability of owning any of these.

Hence, you may need to check your Hotpoint, and Indesit branded washing machines to know if their model is on the recall list of appliances prone to fire hazards.

You can contact Whirlpool directly if you own any of these brands of washing machines. 

In addition, Hoover washing machines also caused some fire hazards. The fire was a result of faulty appliances from the brand.

Hoover insists on the brand’s commitment to safety and following all the appliance safety laws.

But, it is best to research your washing machine if you own a Hoover brand. It would help to prevent fire hazards.

Finally, washing machines from the Haier brand were also one of the causes of several appliance fires. Faulty appliances are the primary cause of fire in this brand too.

Haier washing machine fires are less common than other brands. But it would help to research the model you own.

FAQ

Who Should I Call After a Washing Machine Fires?

You should contact an experienced restoration contractor to check the damages and recommend a plumber or electrician.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, a washing machine can catch fire due to the following:

  • Overheating in the components.
  • Dirt buildup inside the drain.
  • Electrical components are causing short circuits.
  • Exceeding the load capacity.

However, some brands are still prone to fire hazards because of manufacturing issues. Therefore, it is best to contact the manufacturer of such brands.

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