Consumer Reports is a valuable resource for people looking to protect themselves and their families from dangers that might otherwise be overlooked. Now, the organization is offering tips from themselves, RepairClinic, and the Consumer Product Safety Commission on how to avoid danger from three of the most easily ignored hazards in a home.
First up is the clothes dryer. These devices have a tendency to have their vent blocked by a continuous stream of lint coming off of clothing. If your clothing isn’t drying as quickly as it used to, then there’s a good chance that it’s because lint has built up over time. If heat builds up in this situation, it could lead to a fire. Statistics show dryers leading to 14,000 fires and 10 fatalities between 2002 and 2009.
To prevent disaster, consumers are advised to replace white vinyl venting with aluminum or accordion-esque duct material. Persons should also take pains to clean the lint screen after every load, the vent and exhaust duct every once in a while, and behind the dryer should lint build up.
Next up are microwaves. While these should be safe during normal use, some people try to repair the devices themselves when they break, a big no-no according to the CPSC. Two electric shock deaths from amateur repair attempts occurred each year between 2006 and 2008, and unplugging the microwave might not offset the risk. To counteract the danger, consumers can either contact a professional to repair it, or simply buy a new model. Highly recommended units can be found for less than $200.
Perhaps the greatest overlooked danger is related to lawnmowers. The CPSC says that 40,000 people had to go to an emergency room between 2008 and 2010 because of injuries sustained from walk-behind mowers. Typically, these injuries involved projectiles getting kicked up by the rapidly spinning rotor blade. Simply checking your mowing area can go a long way toward preventing disaster. Rocks, twigs, and more should be cleared from the area.
RepairClinic offers more tips to promote safety in this last category. When winter comes to a close, and before you even start to mow, the protective rubber trail shield on your mower should be checked for damage. And before any mowing begins, pets and kids should be put inside. If the mower’s deflector is giving you trouble, don’t simply remove or adjust it; heed the directives set forth in the owner’s manual. Finally, replace the blade itself every couple years at least, and regularly check the blade component (while not in use, of course) for damage or dullness that may have accrued over time.
Hopefully, these simple tips can go a long way toward protecting your family.