How Safe is Your Slow Cooker?
Fans of the hit ABC show This Is Us have been waiting a long time to find out the cause of Jack's death. Over the past two seasons, there have been a few speculations, however, in a recent episode, the creators of the show revealed a slow cooker had been the cause of his death. Many fans were in an uproar, not only about how it happened but should this be a concern for themselves? House fires are frequent, so we decided to take a closer look and what causes them.
The Dangers of Slow Cookers
After watching the episode from This Is Us, should we be concerned about using slow cookers in the home? Before we dive too deep, let’s first look at how we said "slow cooker" and not Crock-Pot. A Crock-Pot is a slow cooker, but a brand of slow cooker. However, many people use this as a blanket term. That being said, there were a lot of individuals and families who were concerned so Crock-Pot released this official statement:
“Our Crock-Pot slow cookers are low current, low wattage (typically no more than 200 or 300 watts) appliances with self-regulating, heating elements. The product is designed to cook foods over a longer period of time at low temperatures and the switches connect to only 1 side of the power line voltage, so there is never a high voltage applied directly across our switches. The switches within our slow cookers are subjected to additional internal testing ... and constructed of self-extinguishing, flame resistant material.”
Cooking is the number one cause of house fires, but if they aren't causing the fires, what is?
Appliances that Cause the Most House Fires
From 2011-2015, the National Fire Protection Association reported an average of 170 thousand house fires caused by cooking equipment per year. These fires not only damaged the property but resulted in severe injuries and deaths brought on by the fire. Cooking equipment was the leading cause of ignition with almost half of all reported incidents started by an appliance. The stovetop and oven lead the way in the most common pieces of equipment that started the fires, but most of them were due to negligence.
As firefighters arrived on the scene, most homeowners admitted to turning on the appliance and then walking away while they left something to cook. On average, these incidents started because an article of clothing or towel was left around or near the appliance. Second to the oven, are free-standing or plug-in cooktops. These devices make up 80% of the injuries reported every year. What shouldn't surprise anyone is the most common day to have a house fire caused by a cooking accident is on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.
Appliances That Cause Electrical Fires
As the This Is Us episode suggested, the neighbor warned Jack the slow cooker had a faulty switch. So, while fans might be in an uproar about his potential death, the real issue isn't the Crock-Pot but the safety surrounding the wiring. There are a few different ways these issues happen, but it's worth mentioning the most common causes of electrical fires in the home.
1. Faulty Outlet
One of the leading issues in faulty electrical outlets is that they are outdated. If a cord or switch looks to be broken or fraying, stop using it immediately. They can combust and cause floors, curtains, and rugs to light on fire.
2. Light Fixtures
One thing homeowners fail to do is take into consideration the maximum wattage for their lamps and light fixtures. Often, light bulbs are inserted without checking resulting in an unnecessary fire. Additionally, many people put fabric or paper materials over the light which catches on fire once it heats up.
3. Extension Cords
Never run an extension cord or any cord for that matter under a rug or carpet. Plug appliances directly into the outlet rather than relying on an extension cord. If one must be used, unplug it when you are finished rather than leaving it unattended.
4. Space Heaters
Portable devices like space heaters are positioned too close to combustible items like curtains, beds, or chairs. If you need a space heater for your home, choose one without coils.
This is more or less where Jack had issues in the episode. Outdated, frayed wiring can't always handle the increased amounts of electricity. It's a good rule of thumb to stop using appliances that are over 20 years old.
If you are serious about protecting your home, install proper fire detectors and have a home security system that gives you 24/7 access to help when you need it. With more than 20 years in the business, NCA serves thousands of households throughout the greater Nashville area. Call us today to get a free quote.