Madison Fire Department sees increase in fires caused by dehumidifiers

Madison Fire Department
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) -- Officials from the Madison Fire Department posted safety tips to prevent more fires caused by dehumidifier malfunctions.

The department said they have recently seen an increase in fires caused by the units.

The fire is usually caused by a malfunction in the dehumidifier, and so far, the department said the fires have been isolated to the units themselves. Officials said the fires still cause significant smoke and soot damage throughout the homes.

According to the department, many dehumidifier malfunctions occur when the owners are not using the built-in water tank or reservoir, and instead are discharging the water directly into a drain. Officials said this causes the unit to run more frequently, leaving them more prone to failure.

The Madison Fire Department recommended the following safety precautions when using a dehumidifier:


  • Turn your dehumidifier off or unplug it when you are not home.

  • Be sure to use the built-in tank/reservoir when the dehumidifier is running, which will cause the unit to automatically turn off when the reservoir is full.

  • Plug your dehumidifier directly into an outlet and not into an extension cord. If you do use an extension cord, make sure it is sized appropriately for the electrical load of the unit.

  • Follow the manufacturer's guidelines when operating.

  • Ensure your unit is not on a recall list. Click here to check your dehumidifier, or any other appliance. Search "dehumidifier".