In light of the recent tragedy suffered due the horrific fire at Grenfell Tower in London we have been getting asked a lot about the safety of fridge freezers and whether they are a fire risk, should people buy a new one or not and so on
Please understand that in this article we are not doing anything other than setting out the position with fridge freezers in the main as, some people are worried for their safety and that of their homes etc.
Ordinarily we would not have published an article like this at such a time as for us, it would appear as if we were being insensitive to the circumstances but, as we've been asked a lot since the Hotpoint fridge freezer was said to be the cause, we thought we'd be better to publish our thoughts on the matter to try to help those people that are concerned.
This also allows us to help people by pointing them to this article rather that having to explain this over and over.
So, this article is here for those reasons and none other.
Grenfell Hotpoint FF175BP Fridge Freezer
The Hotpoint fridge freezer that has been said to be the cause of the tragedy has not been subject to any recall, safety notice or modification that we are aware of. We certainly can find no record of any.
There are no records of any fire incidents involving this model that we can find.
All versions are at least eight years old an the models affected are the Hotpoint FF175BP and FF175BG.
In fact there's very little to say about the model involved, we haven't even seen much in the way of spares use at all on those machines. They actually would appear to be pretty reliable all things considered.
We do not at the time of writing know what the actual cause was, how the fire started in this machine or any reasons at all really, only that it has been said to be the cause, that's all we know.
You can register yours as part of the safety initiative by Hotpoint in case there is any issue here:
The number to call is: 0800 316 3826
Please note that we cannot assist with this, you will need to contact Hotpoint
How Safe Are Fridge Freezers?
We have seen the London Fire Brigade's (LFB) comments and, in our opinion, we think the risk is being exaggerated based on the evidence to hand. Why, we do not know.
We are fully aware of the comments and criticisms about insulation and iso butane gas.
We can say that there have been issues with particular models however, in general fridges, freezers and fridge freezers are extremely safe where they are installed and maintained correctly.
In order to demonstrate how safe we need to use some numbers and statistics.
Statistically Extremely Safe
Which? reports that between 2011 and 2014, a period of three years that there were 861 fire incidents across the UK involving refrigeration products.
We do not know what of that is commercial properties and what is domestic. But for the purposes of demonstration we're going to assume that they are all domestic use.
We also do not know how many of these were fires, gas leaks or any other call. We only know that the fire brigade attended, no more.
So, 861 divided by three gives you 287 incidents per year.
There are approximately 27 million homes in the UK almost all of which will have a refrigerator of some sort. Let's say that there are 25 million refrigeration units out there for round numbers.
Even if it was two fires per week that put the odds of such an instance happening to you at over 64,680,000:1 based on a bit of guesswork around runtimes but, erring on the side of caution, it's probably a much lower risk than that.
The odds of being in a plane crash are 11,000,000:1 almost six times greater risk.
The odds of being killed in a car crash 5000:1. An order of magnitude more dangerous.
In actuality, you've more chance of death from falling out of bed and, that is a serious statistic.
So the odds of a domestic refrigeration unit causing a fire through a fault are utterly staggeringly, infinitesimally small.
The purpose of this is to show you that the risk, while it is there as it is with anything you plug into an electrical socket, is in reality not huge at all, despite what you might see being reported in the press.
Is A New One Safer?
The odds do not alter at all.
We're rather sure that some people will be more than happy to sell you a new fridge freezer or whatever, some might even try to (sickly?) capitalise on this tragedy but the fact is, a new one is no more or less safe unless it has been subject to recall or a safety notification.
Metal Back -v- Plastic Back
Yes we have seen the burn tests on You Tube by the LFB and yes, plastic backs will burn easier than metal, that's just common sense.
But, something has to set them alight for that to even matter!
So for us, whilst *if* there were to be a fire then a metal back *might* help depending on the surroundings it's a bit of stretch to say that this would cure all ills. As in our estimation, it won't.
What changing to a metal backing would do is reduce the risk some more.
Any device that uses mains electricity can go on fire or burn out.
We're sorry but that's the truth of it.
The risk from domestic refrigeration is extremely low.
The chances of a fire caused by one is statistically very low.
There is little to no benefit in changing the one you already have.
Do check the one you have is not subject to any recall or safety notification.
Ensure it is installed correctly.
Ensure that you have a smoke alarm in working order.
Try not to be too concerned as the risks posed by domestic refrigeration are extremely low and there's far greater dangers to be concerned about.