Leaving the house with appliances on. Which ones okay for you?

My mom won’t leave the house with the dishwasher running. Not sure why. I have no problem leaving the house with the dishwasher or washing machine running.

But, not the dryer. There’s an actual flame under there, and I can imagine ways that my nasty laundry room could have something that sweeps under there and catches fire.

How about the oven? This afternoon I’m slow roasting some pork for about five hours, which traps me in the house. Does anyone see a problem with heading out for an hour while the oven is on?

Just wanted to see if I’m crazy.

My husband won’t leave the house with the washer/dryer running, but we’re fine with something in the oven. If something’s going to malfunction and start a fire, I’d rather it happen when nobody’s home. But then I’m not very attached to my possessions and we have good insurance. :slight_smile:

Dishwasher, dryer or washing machine - no problem. They’re electric.

Oven - no. See previous comment about flame.

I think a lot of it is a fear by those from older generations, and those that grew up with the more obsessive members of those generations, that any electrical object left on and unattended would explode or catch on fire.

Yeah, I mean, my mom is definitely one to actually unplug nearly everything. If I go over there and dare to toast bread and not unplug it afterwards, there is hell to pay.

But, to me, the oven and the dryer, even though they have never caused me problems when I’m home, shouldn’t be left on when I leave.

The only appliance I’ll leave running when I leave the house is the refrigerator.

My darling started the dishwasher one morning and left for work. Apparently there was some malfunction that caused the thing to get stuck in the “dry” cycle. So, for at least eight hours the heating element stayed on full force. Some plastic stuff that was in there (including parts of the dishwasher itself) were completely melted. The kitchen was a huge smoky, smoldering mess.

In fact, now I unplug everything (washer, dryer, tv, stereo, et.al.) when not in use. I used to think my father was silly for doing that and didn’t do it myself. Then one day lightening hit the house while I was at work. Despite surge protectors, it fried every major appliance that was plugged in and not even turned on.

Experience has been a sad, and expensive, teacher.

Conversely, the olny thing I won’t leave unattended is the stove.

Anything else can be running while we’re away. Washer, dryer, dishwasher, heat, a/c, oven, crock pot, etc., can all be in use.

I don’t cook really slow things in the oven often enough that leaving the house with the oven running comes up as a decision. But if it did, and I planned to be back well before the food was done, I’d leave w/o a worry.

I have had washing machines malfunction and overflow twice, so I never ever leave anything that uses water running when I leave the house.

I wouldn’t leave an oven on, because I might get delayed. One bad traffic jam could mean a ruined meal, a ruined pan, or worse.

I always unplug my electric matress pad. A few years ago there was a rash of electric blanket fires. They’ve changed the controllers, but it only takes a second to unplug something and be sure.

The big thing on my list, however, is not leaving the house while the oven is running a cleaning cycle. Someone I know had her house burn to the ground because of that. She got a huge settlement from the appliance company, but that doesn’t really make up for the death of her dog.

The only thing I leave running is a single computer (the UnaServer), the refrigerator, water heater, and the furnace/AC. Everything else must be off, preferably unplugged.

I feel like I should unplug everything when not in use, but I don’t because it really would be a hassle - unplug the tv multiple times every day? Not going to happen. I’m considering doing this for the things I use infrequently, though. I’m okay with the washing machine running while I’m out, mostly because it’s on a concrete floor with a drain right by it, and nothing really to ruin if it runs over, but not the dryer, and not the dishwasher. I won’t have the oven or stove running when I’m out, either - that feels too much like asking for trouble.

I stopped leaving the dryer running while I was out because of a thread here years ago, where the general consensus, backed by solid cites, was that it is unsafe to leave dryers running unattended.

Washer, crockpot, maybe the dishwasher are no problem. Though I don’t like leaving the dishwasher and only do it if I won’t be gone long.

Dryer, oven, no way, and certainly not the stove!

I won’t leave the dryer running ever since somebody on this board had a major dryer fire when they were right there at home. I don’t like leaving the oven on but once or twice I’ve run out for something quick when it had a long time to go. Once when something was on the simmer burner, although I worried. No problem with the dishwasher or washing machine, or with appliances that are meant to be left on alone like the crockpot.

I don’t feel comfortable leaving the oven on, although I’ve done it a couple times (once to run to the grocery store across the street, once to pick up a free drum kit that was now-or-never) and got a bit of a guilty thrill. The dryer never comes up, because I like to get my clothes folded before they cool off, so I always stick around until it’s done. I don’t actually think of it as dangerous, although, really, it’s gas, so I should. Just doesn’t come up. Washer’s the same - I don’t like to let stuff sit, but that’s the only issue for me.

We don’t have gas appliances, and I don’t think I’d leave with one of them on. I have no problem leaving my oven on a low setting, like when I do ribs all day. Often, I use the oven’s start and stop timers.

I’ll leave the dishwasher running if I have to, but since I mostly run it before I go to bed, that’s not typically an issue. I avoid leaving the drying on, only because the entire load would become a big, wrinkly mess.

I once left some eggs boiling on the stove and forgot them. I came home to a mess, but I was able to salvage the pot, with a lot of scrubbing. Fortunately, it wasn’t sitting there all day - just a few hours.

All this fear from dryers and ovens, yet I’ll bet none of you think twice about leaving the house with your heating furnace running. It has a flame also, and is fed by flammable fuel (gas or oil).

Explain why a gas furnace is safer than a gas dryer or a gas oven. Or is it just too uncomfortable to come home to a cold house, so irrational fear is suspended?

With a dryer it’s the lint trap and ducts where a fire is going to occur. The only appliances I leave running are hot water heater (yeah, yeah, I’m heating HOT water) and fridge.

A furnace is meant to run constantly and unattended. It’s built for it. And that’s leaving aside that it would be a significant pain in the ass to turn your furnace off and on each time you leave and come back to the house.

It’s really a simple matter of risk management. It’s pretty easy to NOT leave your oven or dryer running when you leave the house (as opposed to your furnace), so why not do it?

And gas dryers are not? I have been using gas dryers for nearly forty years, and have yet to have one catch fire. The risk to be managed is, for all practical purposes, non-existent.

I’ve never had second thoughts about the oven/dishwasher/washer/dryer/crock pot.

I have a neighbor who won’t put their sprinkler on a timer to water their trees because she knows that her well will catch on fire.

Upon hearing this we had a good laugh, pretty much in her face, and explained that the Well is BELOW ground. Her husband has tried logic with her and she just knows her HOUSE will CATCH ON FIRE from the WELL running if they are gone. Mind you the well is about 35 feet from the house and under ground.

We run our fireplace alot in the winter and you should hear people spasm over us leaving it unattended. (It has an insert and doors and stuff. ) City folk just crack us up.

It happened to me too. Dryer fires are pretty common.

I was surprised how big the flames were coming out of it, and so soon, it was only on a little while. If I had not been home, and awake, with a bunch of fire extinguishers, the house would have burned down.

Dont go to sleep with the dryer running either.

Previous to my dryer catching fire, I was never concerned about leaving the dryer on and then going to sleep, or leaving the house with it running…but I aint gonna do it again because I saw with my own eyes what happens .

When the dryer catches fire, you have to run downstairs to shut off the gas line to keep the whole house from blowing.