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Avoiding Fridge Freezer Fires

Instances of fridge freezers causing fires in people’s homes and workplaces are prolific. So much so that fridge freezers are the most common white goods item to be involved in a fire.

The cause of a fire is nearly always the same. Failure of an electric switch, controlling the defrost / freeze function results in a small fire developing at the base on the back of the item. This quickly ignites the insulation materials around it (often polystyrene and plastic based). The refrigerant gas may then become involved. In fridge/freezers over 3 years old the refrigerant gas is Pentane, which is both a flammable and explosive gas. In newer domestic models, the refrigerant gas is most likely to be Propane, again a flammable and explosive gas.

Propane is now beginning to be used in commercial designated models. A common indicator that a unit may be at risk from a fire is the malfunction of the defrost and freeze facilities. This will present itself in the unit constantly freezing up or being unable to maintain a freezing temperature.

Statistically Beko models have been the most frequently subject to defect and resultant fires.

A number of recent incidents involving units have resulted in serious, life threatening explosions, whilst a number of fires have resulted in people dying from exposure to fire or smoke. It is essential that everyone is aware of the fire hazards in their home or workplace. For the workplace, our fire awareness training includes a section on the most common causes of fires. Many such causes are preventable and detectable with regular fire risk assessments which can either be carried out by trained members of your staff or by our experts at UK Fire Training.

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