Why You Should Keep Your Air Fryer Unplugged When It's Not In Use

Over the past decade or so, air fryers have become a common staple in modern kitchens. Many people prefer them over mini deep fryers as a safer and healthier alternative since they don't require oil to serve up crispy foods. Many households use them so often, in fact, that they're a permanent staple on their kitchen countertops. If you're one of those people who use an air fryer regularly, it might be tempting to leave it plugged in all the time for convenience. As it turns out, though, that's not a good idea from a fire safety perspective.

Air fryers left plugged in when not in use have been associated with a number of kitchen fires. For example, according to WPXI News, one homeowner in Pennsylvania came home to a smokey kitchen, which was started by a plugged-in, but turned-off, air fryer. Another homeowner in South Carolina posted on Facebook how her kitchen burned down when a power surge ignited her small appliance. Those catastrophes could have been avoided if the air fryers had simply been unplugged after they were used. There are some other crucial fire safety precautions to think about, too, including proper ventilation and heeding recall notices. Here is what to keep in mind if you have one of these appliances at home.

Other fire safety tips for using your air fryer

Wondering about other fire safety issues associated with air fryers? As it turns out, there are several to consider. One important one is to give your air fryer plenty of ventilation space to help with air circulation and eliminate heat. You want to place it at least five inches away from the wall; failing to do so can result in a fire hazard. "To prevent insufficient ventilation and any heat marks appearing on your walls and ceilings from rising fumes, it's crucial to leave enough space around these appliances when in use," Jen Nash, Design Excellence Manager at Magnet, told Bracknell News. It's also wise to use aluminum foil sparingly in air fryers. Never put a foil-lined basket in an air fryer without food on top to weigh it down since it can be sucked into the air intake and possibly start a fire. 

After unplugging it and letting it fully cool, air fryer cleaning is also important. You'll want to remove any remaining food and grease before cooking in it again. If you don't, the caked-on oil can reach its smoking point and potentially ignite. Lastly, never leave home while an air fryer is in use — even for a few minutes. Staying in the kitchen will allow you to attend to a fire quickly should one occur. When contemplating places to store your home fire extinguishers, consider stowing one appropriate for kitchen use close to where you cook with your small appliance. If you can safely unplug a burning air fryer before using a fire extinguisher, that can prevent a fire from reigniting. 

Keep up with air fryer fire safety recalls

When it comes to safety, you'll most certainly want to keep track of air fryer fire and burn recalls. In fact, models made by several different brands have been recalled in the past two years. If you're not sure whether the air fryer in your kitchen has been recalled, take a minute to do an online search to make sure it's safe to continue using it. Some of the air fryers recalled due to fire and burn hazards in the past include select models by Secura, Magic Chef, and COSORI, as noted by the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). It's also a good idea to check for recalls when you buy an air fryer secondhand, even if it's still in the original box. You can search for recent recalls on the CPSC website.

Watching for recalls and heeding warnings from fire experts — including unplugging the air fryer while you're not cooking — are all good safety practices. As a bonus, you can also save electricity by unplugging your air fryer and other small appliances when they're not in use.