Appliance Safety 101: Tips to Protect Your Family and Property

Appliance Safety 101: Tips to Protect Your Family and Property

On any given day, we rely on several household appliances for our daily activities — from cooking meals to washing clothes and keeping our homes cozy. While modern appliances are designed to make our lives easier, they can also be potential dangers if they’re not used and maintained properly.

Tip-overs, electrical issues, gas leaks, and fire hazards are some of the common risks associated with household appliances. And, believe it or not, these accidents are responsible for thousands of injuries and property damage each year.

Lee Company is here to help you avoid appliance safety hazards, offering practical tips to protect your family and property. So with every beep, whir, and hum, you can rest assured that your home appliances are working efficiently and safely!

Understanding Common Home Appliance Hazards

Think of your typical morning routine — you wake up, switch on the coffee maker, pop some bread in the toaster, and jump into a warm shower. Within a few minutes, you have already used at least three appliances that could potentially cause harm if not handled with care.

As the day continues, you’ll also use other kitchen appliances like the oven, refrigerator, and dishwasher. Then there are laundry appliances like the washing machine and dryer. And let’s not forget about heating and cooling systems such as furnaces or space heaters.

All these household appliances come with their own set of safety risks that homeowners should be aware of. So let’s take a closer look at some common hazards and tips to prevent appliance accidents.

Electrical Hazards

Did you know that overloaded circuits and faulty wiring are the leading causes of electrical fires? According to the Electrical Safety Foundation, home electrical fires account for an estimated 51,000 fires each year, causing nearly 500 deaths.

But fires alone don’t provide a complete account of the dangers posed by electrical appliances. Approximately 10% of all electrocutions that occur at home can be attributed to large appliances.

Every time you plug in a device, switch on a light, or turn on an appliance, you’re using electricity. And if your home’s electrical system isn’t up to code or appliances are not maintained correctly, it poses a significant risk of fires and electric shock.

Tips for Mitigating Electrical Hazards:

  • Regularly check cords and outlets for damage.
  • Avoid overloading power strips and circuits.
  • Ensure proper appliance installation and maintenance.

Fire Hazards

The sizzle of a stove cooking family meals and the warmth of a heater in winter — these are comforts we cherish. Yet The National Fire Protection Association reports that cooking equipment is the leading cause of home fires and home heating equipment is the second leading cause. So while you might not think much of boiling water or turning up the thermostat, these activities come with certain risks. So fire prevention should be at the top of your priority list.

Fire Safety Tips:

  • Never leave cooking appliances unattended.
  • Keep flammable materials away from heat sources.
  • Install smoke alarms and check them regularly.
  • Invest in professional heating inspection and HVAC maintenance.

Gas Appliance Risks

Electricity serves as the main energy source for most homes here in Tennessee. But spanning across the state are more than 40,000 miles of natural gas pipelines that serve over 1.3 million customers. Across the country, 60% of homes rely on natural gas for cooking, heating, and various appliances.

While gas is efficient and relatively clean, gas appliances come with their own set of risks, including gas leaks and carbon monoxide poisoning.

Even a tiny gas leak can result in explosions or fires, and carbon monoxide poisoning can lead to headaches, dizziness, and even death.

Unfortunately, many of these accidents occur due to poorly maintained gas appliances.

Safety Measures for Gas Appliances:

  • Regularly inspect gas lines and connections.
  • Install carbon monoxide detectors throughout your home.
  • Schedule professional maintenance annually.

Mechanical and Chemical Hazards

Think about the moving parts in your washing machine or the chemicals in your refrigerator. These mechanical and chemical elements, if faulty, can lead to accidents. From scalding hot water to leaking chemicals, these hazards can cause burns, poisoning, or even explosions.

Minimizing Mechanical and Chemical Dangers:

  • Keep children away from appliances with moving parts.
  • Store and dispose of chemicals according to manufacturer instructions.
  • Conduct routine checks for wear, tear, and leaks.

Safety Tips for Household Appliances

Each area of your home requires different types of appliances, and each appliance comes with its own set of safety guidelines. Here are some tips to ensure that your home remains safe while using kitchen, laundry, heating, and cooling appliances:

Kitchen Appliance Safety

  • Regularly inspect wiring and connections.
  • Clean appliance surfaces regularly to prevent grease buildup.
  • Teach children about the dangers of hot surfaces and how to safely use appliances.
  • Never leave cooking appliances unattended.

Laundry Appliance Precautions

  • Clean out lint traps regularly.
  • Keep the area around your dryer clear of flammable objects.
  • Do not overload the washer or dryer.
  • Ensure proper ventilation when using gas-powered dryers.

Heating and Cooling Safety

  • Schedule annual professional maintenance for your furnace or HVAC system.
  • Replace air filters regularly.
  • Keep flammable objects away from heating sources like space heaters or furnaces.
  • Never leave space heaters unattended.

General Appliance Safety Guidelines

  • Install carbon monoxide detectors on each floor and especially near bedrooms.
  • Replace batteries in smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors often.
  • Teach children about the dangers of appliances, including cords, outlets, and buttons.
  • Childproof appliances with safety locks or guards.
  • Attach tall and heavy appliances and furniture to walls to prevent tip-overs.
  • Keep pets away from appliances and cords.
  • Avoid using extension cords as permanent solutions.
  • Read and follow manufacturer instructions for installation, use, and maintenance.

Professional Appliance Installation is Key

Who would have thought that unboxing a shiny new dishwasher or dryer would be one of the highlights of adulthood? But here’s a friendly reminder: excitement should not overshadow safety.

While DIY may seem tempting, professional appliance installation is key to preventing fires, electrocution, and the many other hazards described above.

Experienced technicians ensure that appliances are correctly installed and connected to power sources, gas lines, and water pipes. They’ll check for proper leveling so that refrigerators, washing machines, and dishwashers seal and operate correctly. Plus, they’ll thoroughly test the appliance before completing the job.

With proper appliance installation, you can count on:

  • More efficient operation
  • Lower utility bills
  • Longer appliance lifespan
  • Fewer repairs and maintenance tasks
  • Safe operation and minimal risk of accidents

When Do Appliances Need Maintenance?

Most homeowners don’t realize that dishwashers, refrigerators, and all other household appliances require regular maintenance. Just like your car needs an oil change or tire rotation every so often, your appliances also need routine upkeep.

Here’s a handy appliance maintenance checklist to keep them in safe, working condition:

Refrigerator

  • Monthly:
    • Vacuum the condenser coils to remove dust.
    • Clean the door gaskets so that they seal tightly.
  • Every 3-6 Months:
    • Check and clean the drain pan to prevent odors.
    • Inspect the door seal for damage and replace if needed.
  • Annually:
    • Defrost the freezer if it’s not frost-free.
    • Replace the water filter for models with an ice maker or water dispenser.

Here are five additional tips to keep your refrigerator running smoothly.

Oven and Stove

  • Monthly:
    • Clean all exterior surfaces, burners, drip pans, and controls.
    • If gas-powered, inspect the gas lines for any leaks.
  • Every 3-6 Months:
    • Self-clean your oven if it has this feature.
    • Remove the broiler pan and scrub it clean.
    • Replace any faulty knobs or burners.

Dishwasher

  • Monthly:
    • Check the sprayer arm for clogs or breaks.
    • Inspect and clean the door gasket.
    • Remove debris from the bottom of the dishwasher.
    • Clean the filter.
  • Every 3-6 Months:
    • Run an empty dishwasher with a cup of white vinegar to remove buildup and get rid of dishwasher smells.
    • Check and clean the drain hose for any clogs.
  • Annually:
    • Clean the inside of the dishwasher and inspect for damage.
    • Replace any worn or damaged parts or seals.
    • Check for leaks from hoses or connections.

Washing and Dryer

  • Monthly:
    • Clean the lint trap prior to running each load of laundry.
    • If your dryer is gas-powered, inspect the gas line for leaks.
    • Clean the rubber seal on the door.
  • Every 3-6 Months:
    • Vacuum the lint buildup in the dryer exhaust hose and exterior vent cap.
    • Check for any damage or wear on hoses and connections.
  •  Annually:
    • Inspect and clean the interior of the dryer.
    • Replace any worn or damaged parts or seals.

Water Heater

  • Monthly:
    • Check for any leaks around the heater.
    • Listen for unusual noises during operation.
  • Every 6 Months:
    • Test the temperature-pressure relief valve to ensure it’s working.
    • Drain a few gallons of water to remove sediment.
  • Annually:
    • Perform a thorough inspection of the heating elements.
    • Flush the entire tank to clear out sediment.
    • Inspect and tighten any loose connections.
    • Check for signs of corrosion or rust.

A professional appliance repair company, like Lee Company, can help you stay on top of maintenance tasks and address minor issues before they turn into major problems. This can also help you extend the lifespan of water heaters, HVAC systems, and other commonly used appliances.

Signs That an Appliance Needs Repair or Replacement

Even with regular appliance maintenance, there may come a time when an appliance needs repair. And appliances aren’t meant to last forever, so there will eventually come a time when they need to be replaced.

Here are some signs that it may be time to repair or replace an appliance:

  • Frequent breakdowns: If your appliance seems to break down frequently and requires constant repairs, it may be more cost-effective in the long run to replace it.
  • Strange noises: Unusual grinding, clunking, or buzzing noises could be a sign of a malfunctioning appliance. It’s best to have it inspected and repaired before it gets worse.
  • Age: Most appliances have an average lifespan, and if your appliance is reaching the end of that time frame, it may be better to replace it than continue repairing it.
  • Inefficiency: If your utility bills have been steadily increasing, it could be a sign that your appliance is no longer operating efficiently. A newer, energy-efficient model may save you money in the long run.

The Inflation Reduction Act offers homeowners in Tennessee and across the country a tax credit when replacing or installing energy-efficient appliances like heat pumps, air conditioners, and water heaters.

Not only will you save on utility costs, but also receive an additional tax credit for doing so. That can really take a load off your wallet!

Emergency Appliance Safety Tips

A flooded basement, gas leak, or electrical fire can happen in an instant. While appliance maintenance and repairs can prevent most emergencies, it’s important to know what to do if one does occur.

Here are some tips for handling appliance-related emergencies:

  • Gas Leaks: If you smell gas, open windows and doors, leave the house immediately, and call your gas company. Do not turn on any lights or use any electrical appliances.
  • Fires: In case of a fire, get out of the house and call 911. Keep a fire extinguisher in an easily accessible area near appliances that have a higher risk of causing fires, such as the kitchen.
  • Flooding: In case of a flood, shut off the power supply to any affected appliances and turn off the main water supply valve. If it’s safe to do so, try to remove furniture or valuables near the appliance to prevent further damage.

Professional Appliance Repair and Installation by Lee Company

Dealing with a rebellious refrigerator or a temperamental dryer? Lee Company offers professional appliance services to homeowners in Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia, and Alabama.

Our expert services range from fixing the fussy fridge to preventing dryer fires and everything in between.

Our team of experienced technicians can diagnose and repair any issue with your appliances, ensuring they are running safely and efficiently. We’re familiar with a wide range of brands and models, so you can trust us to handle any appliance in your home.

Want to add new, energy-efficient appliances to your home? Our appliance installation services will have them up and running in no time! We also offer home maintenance plans to keep your appliances in top condition and prevent future breakdowns.

At Lee Company, we understand the importance of appliance safety and the impact it has on your family’s well-being. That’s why we are committed to providing top-notch services that not only protect your home and loved ones but also save you time and money in the long run. Contact us today for all your appliance needs!

Need help with appliance safety in your home?

CALL US NOW AT 615.567.1000