Air fryers have recently become incredibly popular as of late. It wasn’t just about the convenience of cooking your food, it was more so the health benefits that made air fryers so appealing.
The ability to cook french fries with little to no added cooking oils gave the appliance a huge leg up.
One thing you might be concerned about is whether or not an air fryer could potentially explode or catch fire.
With all electrical devices, there’s potential for an explosion. If the air fryer is operated within the recommended guidelines, then it’s unlikely that you’ll run into any issues. However, there’s always the chance of an electrical failure, overheating, or improper maintenance that could cause potential fire or an explosion.
Let’s dive into the details.
Can an air fryer catch fire and/or explode?
There have been less than a handful of publicly recorded scenarios where an air fryer burst into flames.
So yes, your air fryer can catch fire and even explode.
On normal occasions, if a user were to take all the proper precautions when operating an air fryer, I don’t see how such an event could occur. However, it’s important to know that since this is an electronic device that produces heat, there’s the possibility of a disastrous situation even if all the safety boxes were checked.
Unsurprisingly, every scenario is a bit different. It either boils down to how the unit was built, how it was programmed, if it was well taken care of, etc.
There are several situations to how and why an air fryer will catch fire and/or explode, but I’ve boiled it all down to 3 main topics. Below are the most common reasons you might find that results in such a scary event.
What can cause an air fryer to catch fire and/or explode?
In most cases, an electrical failure is normally caused by faulty electrical outlets or old and outdated appliances.
You’ll often find that fires and possibly explosions are caused by faults that are found in the appliance cords, the receptacles, or even the switches that power the device.
Now, most air fryers wouldn’t have a ground plug on their cord. This is quite unfortunate because a two-prong electrical connection to an outlet has a higher chance of creating an electrical fire.
I recommend that you do not use your air fryer if you’ve noticed some issues with a worn-out cord that could spill out heat and sparks.
- Be sure to watch out for signs of a potential electrical fire.
- Sometimes when you can smell a persistent burning odor that mostly comes from plastic or metal, it may be an electrical fire in its infancy.
- You also noticed that sometimes the breakers keep tripping when you were using this device.
Always keep an eye out for any type of discoloration in the outlet and switches where you power your air fryer.
Overheating can occur especially when there is an accidental fault to the kind of circuits or the way the device is designed by the manufacturer.
The truth of the matter is, all electronic devices generate heat. It’s called electronic heat. This happens because the electric conducting components inside every device that uses electricity are slightly inefficient.
This means that some of the electricity that runs through the air fryer incidentally turns into heat. Over time the heat begins to build up which results in the air fryer getting hotter.
Now you definitely won’t notice this because what I’m talking about is not the heating element. The overheating that I’m referring to comes from the electric chip component of the air fryer. This is the brain of the air fryer. It’s the part where the manufacturers program a set of steps to allow you to press a single button to get the air fryer started.
Nearly every electronic device has a chip inside of it. It helps regulate the amount of electricity that comes in and out.
In case you’re wondering what kind of signs you should be looking to prevent electronic overheating, here are the following:
- You start seeing smoke come out of the machine or the cord.
- You noticed that the cords are damaged or frayed.
- You noticed some discoloration in the outlet.
- The air fryer you use is warmer or hotter to the touch than it usually is.
This is a peculiar situation that I recently found out about while doing my research on the matter.
There is one situation where an owner of an air fryer reports that his air fire caught on fire.
It was a complete mess. He even had to use a fire extinguisher to kill the flames.
After careful inspection and a lot of speculation, he came to realize that there was a design flaw in the air fryer.
He’s been using his air fryer for a little over a year. And he’s been keeping it clean as much as he possibly could.
But an air fryer is usually built as a closed container where the ceiling contains the heating element along with the fan.
What he found out is that ever since he’s been cooking every single day for a year, the food he made would always leave behind residue.
You can call it grease. This substance from the countless amounts of food that he’s cooked it with started building up within the ceiling of the air fryer.
Eventually, the grease became a fire hazard.
The grease became the reason why the fire started.
Now, it can be explained that the manufacturer that designed the air fryer didn’t take into account this grease buildup.
It turns out that accessing this compartment to properly clean it was extremely difficult. It probably wasn’t a part of the intention of the manufacturer to have their users open that compartment to clean.
This is why proper maintenance is important. The buildup of residue from food can very much become a hazard, especially when working with blistering hot temperatures.
Ways to prevent an air fryer incident
Clean your air fryer regularly
This is very important because as you have read in the previous topic that a user who didn’t take into consideration the years of build-up grease and residue could cause a fire.
I recommend making sure that you attempt to clean your air fryer at least once every 2 months.
You should also clean it more often if you use it frequently, especially more than once a day. You also need to take into consideration the types of food you are putting in the air fryer.
Foods that naturally contain high amounts of fat will eventually build up this residue quicker in your air fryer.
Always unplug your air fryer after using it
Perhaps one of the scariest situations that could ever happen is that you did everything you should have with the air fryer.
You closely attended it while cooking. You clean it and maintain it as much as possible. And you always make sure it’s off when you’re done using it.
In certain situations, there have been reports that a consumer’s air fryer had automatically turned on, on its own without the intervention of a human.
It’s a scary situation especially if you left the house right after cooking from your air fryer and finished eating.
In this case, my best recommendation is to go ahead and unplug the device completely from the outlet. There’s almost zero chance of a fire from your air fryer if you were to remove the power.
What not to put into an air fryer
The following is going to be a list of things you should not put in your air fryer.
- Do not overflow your air fryer with water.
- Do not add large amounts of oil to your fryer. If you want to add oil, just add a small amount. This is not a deep fryer.
- Avoid too much seasoning, because it may burn much faster than the food itself. You can always season a little bit more after it’s been cooked.
- Avoid putting soupy or liquidy foods in an air fryer.
Understand the voltage requirements
I recommend understanding the voltage requirements of your air fryer. Now every air fryer may be a little bit different from another. And that may depend on the power usage that it requires.
In most situations, and modern-day electronics, most devices will have something called a regulator which controls the flow of current or voltage in a circuit. It will how much electricity runs through your device so that you could safely use it.
In some cases, if a regulator fails it can further damage your appliance, especially a device that generates heat like your air fryer.
Make sure you understand the signs of potential hazards we’ve talked about above when dealing with an air fryer.
Can you leave your air fryer unattended?
It is understandable to assume that an air fryer is the type of appliance that does everything for you and that you can walk away from it without worry, but that can’t be further from the truth.
Sure, air fryers have timers that automatically turn off after a set amount of time. Some pre-settings make it incredibly convenient allowing us to cook up dozens of types of food with just a single button.
Although it may be acceptable to walk away from the kitchen during an air fry cooking session, it’s completely unacceptable to leave the home while the air fryer is on. If you plan to completely leave the residence for the next 30 minutes, I would advise you to immediately turn off the air fryer before you leave.
Air fryers are not meant to be left alone unattended. There are several ways things can go wrong during the cooking phase. Electrical failures and overheating resulting in a fire are entirely possible and as long as you’re closely monitoring the machine, you should be able to quickly assess the situation and quickly put out the emergency.
I understand that most people these days have a lot to do and time isn’t always a luxury for some. However, leaving your home with your air fryer turned on unattended can be very risky.
You don’t ever want to get that call from your neighbor telling you that the firetruck is at your house.
Do air fryers automatically turn off?
Base on our experiences, we haven’t found an air fryer that would shut off by itself after an extended period of time. However, it may not even be necessary. Before even starting the device, the user must input the desired cooking time in which the air fryer would automatically shut off when it reaches that point.
There are smart connected air fryers in the market that actually allow you to monitor and control a lot of its functions from a distance. These air fryers can provide insight into your temperature and cooking time remaining, which you can modify without the need to directly interact with the air fryer.
The bottom line
Air fryers are amazing tools in the kitchen. They help us produce the most delicious meals that at the same time promotes good health.
It’s incredible how popular this product is now in the an every kitchen.
However, don’t be fooled by the sophistication of the device. It comes with certain dangers and those dangers are even more apparent when the user isn’t educated on how to use, maintain, and identify potential hazards for it.
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