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Air fryers have seen a surge in popularity over the years, whether or not they're actually any better than a standard convection oven. But with great popularity comes great responsibility, as the saying more or less goes. A four-year-old girl in Jacksonville, Florida, recently saved the day after she alerted her father that the family's air fryer had burst into flames. The fire was contained, but not before inflicting minor burns to the father and obliterating the stove.
Like any common household appliance, air fryers come with their own set of safety hazards and precautions. But with proper use and care, you won't need to worry about your air fryer spontaneously combusting. Here are 10 tips for operating your air fryer safely.
1. Read the manual
If it beeps, boops and dings, you should always the read the manual first. Air fryers are cooking devices that can get dangerously hot, so it's common sense to read about all the precautions you should take when using it. Manufacturers include the manual for a reason: They don't need you to get hurt with their product.
2. Don't overcrowd the food basket
We get that you're hungry and you want to cook as much food as possible, but you need to leave space between your food and the heating component in the air fryer — otherwise, you risk starting a fire.
3. Unplug the air fryer immediately after use
Once you're done cooking, unplug your air fryer — it's the safest way to make sure all the heating components stay off and don't accidentally start up when you don't want it to.
4. Ease up on the oil
The whole shtick of air fryers is that you need little to no oil for crispy food. Some recipes will tell you to include a minuscule amount of oil to cook, and be sure to use just as much as directed, as adding too much oil could result in a fire.
5. Don't put anything on top of the air fryer
Air fryers' external parts can get hot, and putting anything on top of the unit could cause overheating.
6. Give the air fryer enough clearance
Air fryers have air vents to release heat. The air vents need ample space to release the heat, and if you put too close to a surface, say your wall, you risk a fire hazard. Allow up to five inches of clearance around your air fryer to give enough airflow.
7. Put your air fryer on an even, stable surface
You don't need your air fryer to topple over when it's in use, so just make sure it's not on any wobbly surface, and do make sure it's level so it doesn't slip and slide.
8. Never leave an in-use air fryer unattended
Food can burn before you know it, and if you're not within in the vicinity of your air fryer, it could spell disaster not just for your food, but for your well-being.
9. Regularly clean your air fryer
Grease and food debris can easily and quickly accumulate. Make sure to keep your air fryer clean so nothing catches on fire Most parts of your air fryer are dishwasher safe (read the manual to make sure), and other non-washable parts should be spot cleaned.
10. Don't immediately clean your air fryer after use
Your air fryer can get as hot as an oven, so cleaning it right after you used it is a big no no. Give your air fryer at least 30 minutes to cool down before you clean it so you don't burn yourself on any hot surfaces.