one button washing machineThe owners of millions of tumble dryers face a lengthy wait for engineers to make repairs, despite their risks being flagged by a fire safety campaign.

Last year, the Chief Fire Officers Association expressed its concern over the high numbers of home appliance fires highlighted in a report by consumer organisation Which?.

The Which? investigation identified that nearly 12,000 fires were caused by faulty home appliances between 2011 and March 2014. More than a quarter of those fires were attributed to faulty washing machine fires [1,723] and faulty tumble dryer fires [1,456] during this period.

Owners of large air-vented dryers and condensing dryers under the Hotpoint, Indesit and Creda brands may need to have them fixed - yet only 700,000 cases have so far been resolved of the 5m sold in the UK in the past 5 years.

More than three million people are being written to about the safety notice, with 1.8 million expected to receive letters in the next two to three weeks. A company spokesman said: "Given the large number of dryers affected, we currently have a wait time of many weeks before the repair service can be completed. This is not up to our high standard of service and we are working to address it."

Since 2011 there have been more than 300 different recalled electrical items, and the charity said that the success rate for recalling items in the UK was rarely higher than 10% to 20%. Faulty appliances cause an estimated £41.6m of damage in the UK every year with 46 deaths caused each year by electrical fires.

Emma Apter, of Electrical Safety First, said: "We know electrical products are high on shopping lists this sale season so we are urging the public to keep their families and homes safe by making a habit of registering a new product as soon as they get it home.

"People may think it's too much hassle or there is no benefit of providing contact details but an unregistered appliance can be a hidden danger in homes as it's difficult for manufacturers to trace them."