UPDATE 5/25/2016: Thank you for your comments! Click here for a roundup of some of the varied comments we've received on this issue.
Remodelers, are we giving out bad advice? I'm referring to this article about a drawer designed for hair dryers that recently ran in the Remodeling newsletter. This article was written in 2004, but it's been popular and been linked to and commented on since publication. But we recently received this comment from a reader:
Just read your email about the idea of putting a hair dryer in a drawer and you don't even have to unplug it. As a Fire Damage Restoration contractor I have done many restorations, if the house was restorable at all, where the fire was caused by a heat producing appliance that its electrical circuit has somehow failed.
I use a toaster as an example when I suggest to people to unplug when not in use. You can buy a toaster on sale for $14.99. It consists of a cabinet, feet, cord with plug, heating element, thermostat, and many other items. A quality thermostat alone would probably cost $100.00. Now, would you trust the quality of this thing to not start when it shouldn't?
A hair dryer is in the same category. This also applies to battery chargers that home owners and contractors use. A heat producing appliance of any type, left plugged in, cannot be trusted with the safety of your home.
"Plug it in, turn it on, turn it off, unplug it." That is the motto that should be used with any electrical device. Period!
So now we're looking for your expertise. Should this article come down? Should we edit it to warn that this kind of custom design isn't code compliant? Please help us out!