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Could Your Appliances Catch Fire?

Could your home appliances catch on fire? Do you know if any of your appliances are under a recall notice?

Most of us answer, “I don’t have a clue about whether any of my appliances have a recall on them. How would I find out, anyway?”

In past columns I’ve talked about fire safety related mostly to clothes dryers Maytag Appliance Repair Los Angeles. This is the first appliance most people think about, since safety instructions, home inspectors, contractors, and service people remind us constantly that excess lint in our dryer line can catch fire. What you might not know is that clothes dryers are actually in second place – and a distant second place – when it comes to the numbers of fires caused in the home and the number under recall by manufacturers.

Clothes dryers caused about 13,800 fires in homes over the last 10 years with over 8,000 recalls on units, but RANGES caused over 44,000 fires and had nearly 17,000 recalls! Many other appliances, from toaster ovens to dishwashers to microwave ovens catch fire as well, and are under a variety of recall notices from manufacturers. According to Consumer Reports, more than 15 million appliances have been recalled in the past five years for defects that could cause a fire in your home.

Here’s what you can do to check out your current appliances and protect yourself when you buy new ones.

Go to www.recalls.gov and www.saferproducts.gov to see if any of your appliances are listed in the databases. If they are, you will see manufacturer information which you can use to decide what to do.

Did you get a home inspection before you bought your current home? Your home inspector may have checked the appliances against the recall lists. If so, it would be listed in the report you received.

When you purchase new appliances, register ownership by filling out the card that came with it. Are you one of those people who throw all this stuff away in the trash after you unpack the appliance? Think again next time – if this appliance that you just plugged in is under a recall due to a defect that could cause your home to catch fire – wouldn’t you want to know about it? You don’t have to fill out those little postcards either – you can go to the manufacturer’s web site to register, or call them. When we buy a new car, we expect to be notified quickly if there is a potential problem with our vehicle – consider doing the same thing with your appliances.

Consider keeping a fire extinguisher handy in your kitchen, in your laundry room, and in your garage. Sure, you might not be home when the fire starts, but why not have this extra insurance? The second part of this strategy is making sure your smoke alarms are all working and that you have them in the right places. No smoke alarms? Two-thirds of home fire deaths occur in homes without them. Smoke alarms are inexpensive insurance for you and your loved ones.

Home appliances are getting more complex as electronic ignitions are added to gas appliances, touch pads are replacing push buttons, and “intelligent” circuit boards are built into refrigerators, ranges, and dishwashers. More complexity means more opportunity for error. Checking for recalls and registering your appliances will go a long way in keeping you and your family safe.

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