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“People often forget about dangers associated with major home appliances because they’re as much a part of daily life as a toothbrush,” said Chris Hall, president of RepairClinic.com and appliance repair expert. “It’s important to be aware of these dangers and to take proper care to reduce risks and stay safe.”
Here are the top three most overlooked home appliance dangers and tips on how families can protect themselves:
The clothes dryer: Instant fire starter.
Every year, dryers cause thousands of major house fires in the US. People are often surprised to learn of the primary culprit: Lint. Dryer venting can become clogged with lint, causing a dangerous buildup of heat and an instant fire that spreads fast.
“If you notice that it’s taking longer for your clothes to dry, it’s likely that lint is clogging the venting system,” explained Chris Hall. “You should clean it out as soon as possible.”
How to prevent a fire:
A venting system should be cleaned out from inside of the dryer to the outside vent cap at least once per year. Professionals can be hired for this or homeowners can purchase a long brush and do it on their own. Also, vinyl venting should be replaced immediately with an aluminum equivalent. White vinyl no longer meets national fire code standards in the US. Dryer lint traps should be cleaned out after every load. For extra precaution, homeowners can use a bristled long brush to remove pieces of lint that collect there.
The lawn mower: Injury machine.
New stories about tragic accidents this time of the year are helping to raise awareness but the true dangers associated with lawn mowers are still not widely recognized. Push, self-propelled and riding lawn mowers all bear great risks so proper care and precautions are critical to family safety.
“Debris – pet and children’s toys, stones, plastic edging, wood chips, pieces of aged blades, etc… – can be catapulted at speeds of up to 100 miles per hour,” said Jeff Linderman, RepairClinic.com’s on-staff landscaping expert. “Being hit with these objects at such a speed can be a fatal injury.”
How to prevent accidents:
The cutting blade located under the deck should be checked regularly for damage, bends, and dullness. Blades should be replaced annually to every two years, depending on its usage. Replacement lawn mower blades are inexpensive and easy to install.
“Children and pets should always stay inside when the lawn mower is in operation,” said Linderman. “This keeps them safe from flying debris. Also, when using a riding mower, it’s particularly difficult to spot children who may venture too close to the mower.”
It’s important to remember to consult the mower’s owner’s manual.
“Many people often remove or adjust the position of their mower’s deflector, despite warnings against this in the mower’s owner’s manual,” said Linderman. “This is unwise because it can send debris flying at a longer distance.”
Another protective mower safety feature is its rubber trail shield located at the back of the mower that prevents debris from flying out as the blade runs over it. Before each mowing season, mower owners should check to make sure this is working properly and free of tears.
The microwave oven: Repairing & electrocution risk.
Fortunately, a microwave oven remains safe, unless you attempt repair, which may be a fatal mistake. Despite its small size compared to other home appliances, the microwave oven stores thousands of volts of electricity in its capacitor, even after the microwave oven has been unplugged. That’s more than 30 wall outlets combined.
How to prevent accidents:
Replacing electronic parts in a microwave oven can be extremely dangerous. This should be left to a repair professional. However, the cost to purchase a new microwave is often comparable to the cost of replacement parts so a new unit is most often the best solution. Non-electronic microwave parts like door latches, glass trays and their associated parts are inexpensive and easy to replace.
Remember, you can always find any appliance replacement parts at Repair Clinic.