Keeping Appliances Safe in a Family Household
The modern day home is filled with amenities and luxuries that generations before us never had. We are able to wash dishes at a touch of a button, as well as wash and dry clothes efficiently and thoroughly, and warm and cook food in a matter of minutes. We are entertained by hundreds of television channels and enjoy lighting at any hour of the day.
However, it’s also important to note that along with these luxuries come some hazards and the necessity to take various preventative steps to keep appliances safe in a family household. After all, the power behind appliances is incredible, and families – both parents and children alike – need to respect that power.
Do you know which appliances are the most likely ones to catch fire? Here is a list from the most to least likely (but remember, all of them can and have caught fire in the past).
• Washing machines. You wouldn’t think an appliance that deals mainly with water would be likely to catch fire, but it can. When the heating elements in this appliance get old or faulty a fire can start.
• Tumble dryers. Lint makes perfect kindling and that’s exactly why it needs to be cleaned out of the trap each and every time you use the dryer. Remember to regularly clean the dryer hose that leads to the outside of the home, too.
• Ovens. Not only do you have to be careful of oil and grease splatters, but when an oven gets old, elements can give out and catch fire.
• Dishwashers. When the control board overheats, it melts and catches fire. This is where 90% of dishwasher fires happen.
• Freezers and Refrigerators. Lights that constantly stay on can be dangerous, plus overheated compressors can easily cause an electrical short and cause a fire.
• Exhaust fans. Because these fans draw in air, they also draw in lint. This lint piles up around the motor, causing it to overheat and catch fire. Make sure the fans are regularly inspected and cleaned.
• Toasters and grills. Toasters sometimes don’t turn off or can overheat and cause a fire. Never leave a toaster unsupervised while it’s toasting.
• Microwaves. They can sometimes have a mind of their own and start when nobody has started them. This means they have exceeded their life cycle and should immediately be unplugged and replaced. Also, never put any metal or aluminum foil in a microwave.
• Washer/dryer combinations. These machines combine the risks of both the regular tumble dryer and washing machines.
Steps you can take to keep appliances safe in your family home:
Look for the UL (Underwriters Laboratories) approval
Any and all appliances that you purchase should already be approved by the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) or other highly-reputable consumer laboratory.
Allow enough space for heat ventilation
Many appliances generate heat which is a big reason why they catch fire in the first place. A smart thing to do is to allow many inches of clearance around these appliances including monitors, clocks, televisions, etc. Make sure that there are no curtains, clothes or toys near these appliances. You’ll want to give appliances enough cooling and circulation area so that they don’t overheat.
Store unused appliances
Sure, you bought that fajita maker with the idea that you’d be making fajitas at least once a week, but it’s been sitting on the kitchen counter for months now – unused. It’s best to keep unused appliances stored and out of reach of children (who might want to plug them in on their own) and away from the sharp teeth of enthusiastic pets.
Electricity and water never mix!
Never plug in any appliance if you are standing in water or if you have wet hands. Also, make sure that appliances are not near any type of water including pools, tubs, and sinks. Have a pesky leak in the roof? Make sure there aren’t any appliances nearby or underneath it.
Be respectful of the heat sources in your home
Never drape clothing over a radiator or put toys on top of a space heater. Appliances that generate heat don’t mix well with potentially combustible items and materials. This also includes heating vents, furnaces, etc.
Follow instructions carefully
Always follow the instructions that come with your appliance. Don’t try and make amateur modifications or upgrades or you could end up compromising the integrity of the appliance and cause it to catch fire.
Lamps need light bulbs
One of the most hazardous things you can do is leave a lamp socket without a light bulb. If the light bulb blows and you don’t have one to replace it, either unplug the entire lamp and store it, or keep the blown light bulb in it. Little (or big) fingers unknowingly reaching into the empty light socket will get quite the shock.
Out with the old and in with the new
If an appliance is no longer working or isn’t working how it was intended, replace it immediately with one that does. Broken appliances are hazards every time you plug them in and it’s just not worth it to risk potential fire.
Some thoughts on plugs
• Never remove the third prong of a plug
• Extension cords should be used only on a temporary basis, they aren’t meant to be a permanent solution
• Never connect multiple extension cords together
• Don’t run cords under furniture, carpets or rugs as traffic on the cords will damage them and could cause a fire
Atlas Services provides residential and commercial air conditioning services, as well as sales and installation. Working in the industry since 1978, we are proud to serve the Boynton Beach and Palm Beach County area. We also offer expert appliance and plumbing repair. We will beat any competitor’s price with our same day service and our highly-trained staff is ready to handle any and all of your repair and maintenance needs. Call us today at 561-734-8200 for more information and to learn about our service contracts.