According to the Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency (Tukes), electric stoves are the most dangerous home appliance.

One in three fires are caused by stoves or ovens, in one way or another. This makes stoves the most common cause of household fires.

In Finland, fire brigades put out nearly 1,000 fires caused by electric stoves every year. In most cases, these fires are related to cooking, and the root cause is almost always related to negligence or misuse of the stove.

Fires Caused By Stoves Kill People Every Year

Last year, 16 people in Finland died in electric fires, the majority of which were caused by stoves. Fires caused by stoves can be prevented in many ways, such as careful use of the stove, kitchen planning and a number of technical solutions.

The most problematic stoves are those of traditional design with a cast-iron plate which gets very hot but is slow to cool. Most models are not equipped with timers, and their dials can often be turned on accidentally.

A Safer Alternative

Induction stoves are a safer alternative to traditional stoves. Most of these are equipped with electronic controls and the plates cannot be turned on accidentally. An induction plate will also not switch on unless cookware is placed on it. However, it is important for product designers and manufacturers to ensure that even when using an induction stove the dials are safe and the device is equipped with a timer or other safety feature, such as a guard.

A Stove Guard Reacts If The Temperature Rises

Stove guards provide an effective way to protect consumers and their property from overheating stoves. The most basic models simply cut off power if the temperature rises too high or too rapidly. More advanced models will also put out a fire using an extinguishing liquid.

Stove guards include a temperature sensor that is installed above the stove. If the temperature rises too high or too fast, it alerts a power management unit that cuts off the power. If the model is designed to extinguish a fire, an extinguishing liquid tank is also installed, above an extractor hood.

Standard EN 50615:2015 introduces three types of stove guard:

  • Type A: gives out a loud fire alert when a fire starts, cuts off power, activates an extinguisher within 30 seconds of ignition and puts out the fire within 15 seconds
  • Type B: cuts off power before a fire starts and emits an audible alarm which continues until it either switched off or the temperature drops
  • Type AB: cuts off power before a fire starts. However, if a fire starts, it will be extinguished

Recommendations By Insurance Companies

In Finland, insurance companies recommend all stoves be equipped with stove guards. Indeed, to celebrate its 150th anniversary, one leading insurer gifted a stove guard to all its home insurance customers. Elsewhere though, other countries have advanced even further. For example, in Norway all new and renovated homes must be equipped with stove guards that cut off power if the stove temperature rises too much. In the UK, people belonging to risk groups receive a stove alarm for free.

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For more information on SGS home appliance safety services visit SGS EE or contact:

Seppo Lautamies
Project Manager
SGS Consumer Testing, Finland
t: +358 9 6963244