If toasters could think and talk, they’d be up in arms about now, complaining about your IQ quotient and the reason behind choking a ready-to-go popcorn satchel in one of the sleeves; just to see what happens.
If you need to know whether your toaster is capable of burning your house or workplace down, you need to know a bit more about it.
Understanding How Toasters Work
Toasters do not have any inflammable materials used in their construction. In the simplest of the toasters, you are likely to find metals for the body and wiring, some plastic pieces and insulation. The fancier ones may contain some electronics. Perhaps two or more PCBs (Printed Circuit Boards) and inner wiring, with silicon, copper (or copper mixes) and plastic would be the most probable components.
So when does this harmless piece of metal and plastic start becoming ‘hazardous’?
Toasters do not have an atomic core, yet. They work on electricity. Here is how your normal toaster would work.
You insert a plug into an electrical socket and flip the switch on.
That’s about it!
But this is where you’d want to start thinking and be careful if you have one or are planning to buy one.
Since it operates on electricity (which is a hazard by itself), it may have a tendency to leak some current or tap into your ‘static’ and give you a nice little tingle.
How Dangerous Can It Be?
To answer it, we need to know just what could go wrong. As you would see, there are three primary ways things could go wrong.
- If the leakage current is high enough it has the potential to start a fire indeed.
Usually, this is taken care of by a third ‘pin’ on the plug (three pin plug) that is connected to the ground (where the leakage current hurriedly passes off, bypassing you or anything else). If you have a two-pin plug and the current is high, you have a problem, because that current will start heating up whatever thing it passes through. And enough heat leads to a fire.
- The second thing that makes toasters work is the timer mechanism.
It controls the heating coil, which does its job and your toasts pop up with a ‘bing’ after a while. When it malfunctions, your problems begin. The coil continues to heat up everything to a high temperature. If the toaster has a plastic body, then the fire hazard becomes real and dangerous.
- The third thing is dry bread crumbs that collect at the bottom. If heated enough they might smoke or flame.
If you insist on an all metal toaster and use it only for its intended purpose, it will never be a fire hazard for you. The worst that could happen is that your toast will get burnt. It only has a possibility of causing fires if – it has a substandard plastic body, a malfunctioning timer or heating coil, or a two pin plug, and human negligence or sometimes, stupidity.
The Final Word…
The toaster is not a megalomaniacal psycho hell bent on destroying the world in atomic fire. But it sure has a charming effect on other flammable materials in its immediate vicinity. So it always pays to be careful.