Appliance Safety Tips
When installing electrical appliances, keep in mind that most standard home electrical circuits are on a 120-volt line. Conventional outlets have two places to plug in devices and are called duplex outlets. It’s also important to note the quality level of your appliance’s) because the labor cost for installing more expensive equipment will be higher than for less expensive appliance’s).
Appliance installation and safety tips:
Appliance Power Requirements
Check the power requirements of each appliance. To run major appliances and heavy electrical equipment, you need 220-volt current in the house. And unless your clothes dryer runs on gas, it will require a 220-volt outlet to operate, so it’s necessary to upgrade to 220 to handle these and other heavy equipment.
When having an appliance installed be sure it can be removed easily for service. Flexible hook-ups for dishwashers and gas ranges can make repair jobs less labor intensive. Also, leave extra electric cable when installing electric wall ovens and cooktops. This will minimize the time the technician spends on the job and reduce the cost to you.
Some other appliance installation tips to keep in mind:
If your kitchen floor is being tiled, make sure that it is tiled beneath the dishwasher or at least raise its flooring to the same height as the tiles. Once down, there may not be enough clearance to remove the dishwasher for servicing. The only alternative will be to lift the whole countertop off of the cupboards, a needless expense.
- Wall Ovens
If you are installing a wall oven below countertop level, be aware that small children could be exposed to a burn hazard. Wall ovens do not have to conform to the same temperature standards that regular ranges do. This is because they are designed to be installed above counter height.
- Washing Machines
When installing a washing machine, be sure water shut-offs can be reached easily. Also ensure the water hoses are long enough to remove the appliance when necessary. A floor drain may also be necessary should the water pump or motor fail.
Washing machines are designed to be used on solid flooring, like concrete. If it is being installed on a wooden floor, extra joist bracing may be needed. The mounting of an additional plywood section can also strengthen an existing wooden floor. Severe internal suspension damage can occur if used on unstable flooring.
Refrigerators with forced air condensers are the only kind that can be built in. Models with regular static condensers will not be able to dissipate the heat if used in this application. This will result in poor cooling efficiency and damage to the compressor. You can tell forced air models by the fan, located in the compressor compartment, used to circulate air through the condense.
While major appliances make our lives much easier, they also pose significant risks if not maintained properly.
The average homeowner has several thousand dollars invested in major appliances. To protect your investment and ensure many years of reliable service out of each it’s important to properly maintain your appliances.
Appliance Safety Tips
- Extension Cords
Extension cords pose several risks. First, the extension cord connections may not be secure. Besides causing power fluctuations that may damage the equipment, poor connections can also result in sparks that could start a fire.
Another problem with the appliance connections is that they are vulnerable to water penetration. This is especially true in damp areas such as laundry rooms, bathrooms, kitchens, garages and outdoors. Water and electricity are a dangerous combination responsible for many avoidable deaths each year.
People often make the mistake of using extension cords that are too small. The wires on extension cords are rated according to size, with lower ratings corresponding to larger sizes. A simple household extension cord for a lamp might have 16-gauge wire. An outdoor cord may have 14-gauge wire. Heavy-duty cords are usually 12-gauge.
In general, in those circumstances where use of an extension cord is unavoidable, employ one that is heavier than the wires already attached to the appliance.
Also, whenever using power tools or similar equipment on long extension cords, be aware that the longer the cord the more power that is lost en route. This phenomenon, called voltage drop, is much less pronounced in heavier wires. Whenever you use an inadequate cord, you run the risk of damaging the appliance or causing the wires to overheat and become a fire hazard.
When extension cords, appliance wires and outlets are incompatible, people often use adapters to make things fit. Most commonly, people have a three-prong plug and a two-prong outlet. The third prong is the ground, and it offers important safety advantages. A much better long-run solution is to have an electrician replace your 2-prong outlets with properly grounded three-prong outlets.
Heavy-duty appliances have plug configurations that are unique. Never use an adapter to fit these into more standard outlets.
- Circuit Breakers and Fuses
Older homes have fuse boxes while most new ones have circuit breakers. Both perform the same function. Whenever a short circuit or overload situation occurs, the device shuts off electricity to that circuit, preventing both shocks and fire hazards.
Whenever an appliance stops working, first test the outlet with a lamp or radio. If the circuit is dead, turn off anything you know to be on the same circuit and go to your electrical box, usually located in the basement. If you have a circuit breaker, look for the one switch that is slightly out of alignment. Turn it off and turn it back on again. If you have a fuse box, replace the burnt-out fuse.
If you try the appliance again and the circuit cuts off a second time, you may be overloading that circuit. Try the appliance in another part of the house. If it keeps causing circuits to cut off, something is wrong with the appliance. It may, for instance, have a short.
- Pilot Lights
Many older gas appliances (ranges, dryers, water heaters, furnaces, etc.) have pilot lights that run continuously. Newer models have electronic ignition instead.
When an older appliance stops working, check to see if the pilot light has gone out. If it has, re-light it according to the instructions in the manual, which came with the unit or are printed on the appliance itself. In many cases, this will save you the cost of a repair call.
Because pilot lights maintain a flame at all times, they are always ready to ignite any flammable gases that might be present. This is why you should never store paints, solvents and other chemicals anywhere near an appliance with a pilot light.