The household appliances you use every day can be more dangerous than you might think. Fires, electric shocks, carbon monoxide leaks, and floods can all wreak havoc on your home at the hand of a household appliance.

Below are some appliances to be mindful of, and tips to avoid disaster.

1. Stoves

Gas or electric stoves can severely damage your home. Stoves are often left unattended, and that’s when trouble strikes. There have even been instances of stoves turning on unprompted, causing immense damage.

Ensure you have quality smoke detectors to alert you before a fire becomes uncontrollable. Smoke detectors with 24/7 alarm monitoring allow for prompt notification and dispatch of first responders, whether you’re home or away.

2. Clothing Dryers

Lint, gas leaks and overheating can cause your dryer to catch fire. To prevent dryer fires, clean the lint out of the filter after each load. Occasionally, check your vent for a secure connection and cleanliness, as this is another hot spot for dryer fires.

Gas-powered dryers are also an unsuspecting place for a carbon monoxide leak. This is especially dangerous because carbon monoxide is odorless and colorless.

In addition to smoke alarms, install a carbon monoxide detector near your sleeping area (at minimum) or on each floor of your home (ideal) to protect you and your family. A carbon monoxide detector connected to a 24/7 alarm center allows operators to dispatch proper help if needed.

3. Washing Machines & Dishwashers

Washing machines and dishwashers are prone to water leaks. This is no surprise, but the thousands of dollars in flood damage or fires caused by shorted circuit boards can be unsuspecting to homeowners. No one has the time to constantly monitor these machines, so install water sensors to stop the problem at the first sign of a leak.

4. Microwave Oven

The microwave may seem like a safe zone for kids and unsupervised cooking. However, poor electrical wiring, age, water damage and improper use can start microwave fires in seconds.

Always use microwave-safe plates and bowls. Let food sit before you remove it, or wear heat resistant gloves. And never put foil or other dangerous materials in the microwave. If your kids are learning to cook in the microwave and make meals independently, consider facing your indoor home security cameras toward their heavily used kitchen appliances, so you can supervise from your mobile device while on the go.

5. Toasters

Toasters can smoke, catch fire or even shock users. Who knew toast could be so risky? Don’t let this scare you from making your morning meal, but do take precautions to prevent electric shocks and fires:

  • Keep an eye on bread while it’s toasting.
  • Never remove food from a toaster with a conductive material.
  • Shy away from choosing foods that are too large or small for your toaster and could cause a jam.
  • Unplug your toaster if your toaster is jammed.