Home repair experts say three dangers posed to homeowners by common household appliances often go overlooked and unrepaired. Broken lawn mower blades, clogged dryer vents, and defective microwaves can be deadly hazards, but The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, Consumer Reports magazine, and RepairClinic.com offer several tips for repairing these potential dangers.
Between the years of 2002 and 2009, nearly 14,000 fires, resulting in $84 million in property damage and 10 deaths, were caused by clothes dryers, according to Consumer Reports, and many of these fires were the result of heat accumulation caused by clogged dryer vents. One symptom of a blocked dryer vent is noticeable increase in the amount of time it takes to dry a load of clothing. To prevent a blocked dryer vent, experts recommend cleaning the dryer’s lent trap before or after drying every load of laundry and clean the vent and the area behind the dryer, where lint can build up, on a regular basis. Home repair experts also remind homeowners that white vinyl venting does not comply with federal fire safety guidelines and should be replaced with aluminum venting or ideally semi-rigid or rigid corrugated semi rigid metal ducts.
According to safety statistics compiled by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, an average of two people died of electrocution while trying to repair a microwave every year between 2006 and 2008. These appliances use high amounts of electricity and pose a serious shock hazard when their protective outer covers are removed, and they can pose an electrocution danger even after they have been unplugged. For this reason, the agency advises consumers not to attempt to repair their microwaves themselves. Furthermore, internal replacement parts (as opposed to the inexpensive door and glass tray components) tend to cost about the same amount as a new microwave, so replacing the entire unit might be more cost effective in many cases. Be sure to dispose of the broken microwave at a state approved electronics recycling facility.
Hospital emergency rooms treated approximately 40,000 patients annually between 2008 and 2010 for injuries suffered from lawn mower injuries, according to data provided by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Many of these injuries, some of them fatal, were caused by debris turned into projectiles by defective lawn mower blades. Safety experts recommend replacing the mower blade every one or two years depending on frequency of use, and checking the blade regularly for signs of damage, dents, or dullness. Before each mowing, the lawn should be cleared of rocks, twigs, and other debris, and pets and children should be moved indoors.