Appliance Tips for Keeping Your Home & Family Safe
Accidents in the home are terrifying and frustrating, especially if they could have been prevented. Often, these accidents are caused by broken, defective or incorrectly used home appliances. Together with your trusted appliance repair tech, though, you can avoid appliance accidents. In the process, you can keep your home and family safe and healthy.
You're In California: Anchor Your Appliances!
You've probably spent some considerable time securing your bookshelves and dressers to your walls. If you're like most Californians, the same can't be said about your attention to appliances. Just as tall and top-heavy furniture can be a hazard during an earthquake, appliances are a concern. Refrigerators are especially susceptible to tipping over, moving or spilling their contents. The Earthquake Country Alliance recommends you secure your refrigerator to wall studs. Anchor straps, angle brackets or pronged zee clips are all acceptable safety anchors. Your appliance repair tech may have already anchored your appliances during installation. It doesn't hurt to double-check though. If your appliances weren't anchored during installation, make sure you get that done right away.
Beware of Appliance Doors
Dishwasher and oven doors present unique safety hazards. This is because the doors open toward the floor and create irresistible steps for kids. Kids crawl or step onto these open doors, causing the appliance to tip over. This is especially dangerous with a range that might have hot items on the stovetop. All new ovens and ranges come with anti-tipping brackets to anchor the appliance to the wall. Many consumers don't take the time to use them though. Older appliances also may not have the anti-tipping brackets. Putting excessive weight on appliance doors also causes damage and leads to oven door repair calls.
Open dishwasher and oven doors are also a tripping and bumping hazard. You can help keep family members of all ages safe from bumping their shins into the doors. Simply make it a habit to keep the appliance door closed or only slightly ajar at all times.
In addition to tipping and tripping hazards, dishwasher doors offer other dangers too. Undissolved dishwasher detergents and rinsing agents are toxic if consumed. Open dishwasher doors put those poisons at just the right height to appeal to toddlers.
Keeping Gas Safe
Although gas is convenient and often less expensive than electricity, it can be dangerous. Gas ovens and stoves need to be operated carefully. Safety should always be top-of-mind. Never dismiss family members who believe they smell gas. If anyone smells gas in the house, go outside and call for help. Also, if you're trying to light a burner and it doesn't immediately ignite, turn it off. Letting the gas run without ignition allows gas to accumulate and creates potential for explosion.
If your fridge is not cooling to the set temperature, your family faces several hazards. Food that isn't stored at the appropriate temperature can cause food poisoning. Forty-eight million people suffer from food-borne illnesses each year. Of those 48 million, 3,000 die and 128,000 are hospitalized. So while food poisoning just sounds uncomfortable, it can be life threatening. To avoid this issue, keep a separate fridge thermometer in your appliance and check it every few days. Pay attention to how cold items feel when you pull them from your fridge. Also, keep your fridge door gaskets clean so your door closes tightly. If the temperature rises to more than 40°F, call in an experienced appliance repair company.
It's a Dry Heat
Dryers are responsible for nearly 3,000 home fires each year. That's because dryers use intense heat to dry clothes. They also produce a significant amount of lint and debris. That debris can accumulate inside the dryer drum and vent, causing heat to build in the dryer. That lint and debris can also easily catch fire when conditions are right. To prevent this fire hazard, clean the lint trap after every use. Check your dryer vent and the dryer interior frequently, watching for lint buildup. Having your dryer maintained annually by a dryer repair service can also help prevent dryer fires.
Never put metal cookware, utensils of aluminum foil in a microwave. Metals can spark and cause fire in an operating microwave. Other plastics, painted ceramics and cookware may also be unsuitable for microwave use. Always check the underside of the dish before using it in the microwave.
Avoiding Fires and Burns
Cooking equipment provides the leading cause of home fires in the U.S. You can reduce your chances of a kitchen fire by operating your appliances carefully. Don't let your burner's flame or heat extend beyond the physical dimensions of your cookware. Keep flammable items such as paper towels away from the stovetop. Place pots with boiling liquids on back burners and turn handles inward. Keep baking soda and fire extinguishers handy to deal with fire flare-ups.
A little planning and attention can go a long way toward reducing your appliances hazards. Be sure to call in an appliance repair tech any time you have a concern about your appliance.
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Michael Alvarez Home Owner
of Major Appliances in San Francisco