Home Appliance Safety Tips

Appliances are an integral part of every household, from a simple electric clock to the microwave oven. These safety tips can help keep all appliances operating safely:

1. Stoves and Ovens

If the pilot light on a gas stove is not working, turn dials to the off position, wait several minutes for the gas to be dispersed, and then relight. Check that all burners (and the oven) are off after use and before going out or retiring for the evening. The handles of pots and pans should not be placed over burners. By providing plenty of warning, as well as possibly keeping hot dishes and plates out of reach (of children), unsuspecting guests and kitchen helpers will avoid potential burns. When working with the stove or oven, one should use pot holders and oven mitts to ensure against accidentally touching any extremely hot surfaces. Steam burn is a nasty burn. Be careful!

2. Microwaves

An empty microwave oven should not be turned on. NEVER place any metal inside a microwave oven. It will cause irreparable damage. Use only utensils and cookware that are safe for microwave use. Plastic ware is generally safe, and glassware is often okay, but not as a rule.

3. Washers & Dryers

A leading cause of fire with these appliances, dryers especially, is cleaning them inadequately or not at all. The lint trap should be cleaned after every load. The dryer’s exhaust pipe must be kept free of obstructions to avoid overheating and combustion. When clothes take longer to dry than usual, survey the vent tubing or pipe and either clean it out or contact a service to have it done.

4. Refrigerators & Freezers

All appliances, cords, and plugs should be marked with the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) label. This means that the appliance or product meets safety guidelines set by the government. The label is often out of plain sight, but can usually be found on the inside door of a refrigerator.

5. Dishwashers

Although utensils may be cleaned and dried more effectively if facing upward in the utensil basket, this creates the potential for punctures each time more utensils are added or unloaded. Keep knife blades, fork tines, and other sharp-edged utensils pointing downward, and if poor cleaning is an issue, then the basket may be overcrowded. Try running the dishwasher with fewer utensils in the basket. Never leave a dishwasher door open for others to trip over. Do not overload the trays or force them into the machine.

6. Air Conditioners

Stop using an air-conditioner and arrange an experienced technician for inspection and repair if any abnormality is found (e.g. excessive noise or vibration, or abnormal smell). Do not connect other appliances to the socket outlet connecting to an air-conditioner. Clean the air filter of an air conditioner regularly. Do not switch on an air-conditioner within 3 minutes after switching off. Avoid obstructing the air-inlet and outlet of an air-conditioner. Arrange an experienced technician for regular maintenance.

Staying Safe at Home

Even though electricity is commonplace, there is still quite a bit of danger associated with improper use. Carefully observe all safety measures when using electricity to keep yourself – and your family – safe. A kitchen fire can become very serious very quickly. Be sure to keep a working fire extinguisher available. In case of electrical fire, check to see if it is possible to turn off the power source safely.

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