“Look both ways when crossing the street”, “Be careful”, “Call me when you get there”, how many times have you heard these safety warnings? Or how many times have you issued them? Sometimes they are said so often that they become just common daily sayings and are taken for granted. That can be true when using home appliances safely, too.
Manufacturers are always conscious of home appliances safety features. But we are reminded builtin safety features aren’t the complete answer. The user should obey the instructions and use safety sense in operating them, too. They have critical safety warnings printed directly on them, and more safety suggestions in the owner’s manual. Follow them. When instructions say “do not dry sponge rubber in the dryer” then don’t take chances. Some types of sponge rubber can explode when heated.
Here are some tips on how to use home appliances safely:
1. Be sure the appliance fits the space and that it is secure, steady, on a firm foundation, and ventilation provided if necessary.
2. Know if fuel supply is adequate. As a rule of thumb, most appliances should operate on a separate circuit. Ask a qualified electrician to check your house electrical system, especially if it hasn’t been checked for a while.
3. Don’t clip off the grounding prong of a three-prong plug. Have wall receptacles changed instead.
4. Keep them repaired. When bumped or dropped, safety features may be broken also.
5. Don’t hunt for a gas leak with a lighted match. You might find one.
6. Don’t let small children operate appliances.
7. Don’t “fix it yourself” unless you are sure you know how.
8. Replace worn cords or loose plugs.
9. Don’t use a drawer or door as a stepladder.
Safety tips for for specific home appliances:
Locate above basement flood levels. Empty water regularly or provide adequate draining.
Place sharp items in silver-ware basket with points down. Turn water off before disconnecting a portable model.
When retrieving objects, turn off the power switch and use a wooden tool – not your hand. Never put metal, glass, rubber, or cloth into the disposer. Keep pot handles turned inward, away from children and snagging. Use aluminum foil only as the owner’s manual recommends. Do not use water on grease fires. Smother with a lid or use a recommended extinguisher.
Refrigerators and Freezers
Remove the door or securely lock, tape with glass fiber tape, or chain the door of abandoned refrigerators and freezers. When in operation, do not touch refrigerating coils.
Washers and Dryers
Keep lint filters clean. Do not overload washers. Do not reach into the tub until the appliance stops. Use only recommended laundry cleaning aids.
Following these instructions will be an aid to using home appliances safely. But most importantly, use common sense and think safety at all times. Be conscious of what “BE CAREFUL” really means.