YOUR REFRIGERATOR OR WASHING MACHINE likely do not spring to mind when you think of home safety hazards—but they should.
To help keep your home safe, start by checking appliances that you use daily. Washer, dryer, refrigerator, stove, dishwasher and water heater—all contain risks that can easily be avoided. Even the microwave oven presents hazards. Don’t let food waste or splattered grease and oils build up in it. Because microwaves can deliver a shock even if they are unplugged, your best bet if it malfunctions is to call a professional.
When it comes to larger appliances, the refrigerator poses safety issues inside and out. Outside, remove dust and lint, and keep the coils clean to avoid possible compressor failure and minimize fire risk. Make it a routine to clean and disinfect inside the refrigerator each time you stock up on groceries.
Clothes dryers—electric or gas—collect dust and lint inside vents and hoses, and can easily become a fire hazard. Always clean out the lint screen before using the dryer. If you have an electric dryer, use a grounded outlet to minimize the risk of fire.
A note on water heaters
Nearly every water heater risk results from poor venting or excessive pressure buildup. Electric co-ops recommend electric water heaters for their efficient use of energy and safety in operating. Gas water heaters may have poorly connected vents that can lead to carbon monoxide and natural gas leaks, which are huge risks to your family and also pets. To avoid excessive temperature and pressure, you should test the relief valve at least once per year.
WES POYNTER is Compliance Coordinator at Nolin RECC.