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Common Appliance Dangers In The Home

When you think of warmth, familiarity and safety, your home might be one of the first things to come to mind. After all, it is your space; you have molded and tailored it to fit your own personality and to suit your needs. While this is definitely true, you might be surprised to learn just how dangerous some of the most familiar appliances in your home can be. Fortunately, once you are aware of potential hazards, you can take simple but effective steps to prevent accidents or injuries. Take the next few minutes to increase your awareness, and you could save yourself and the ones you love from harm.

Space Heaters

If your home is drafty or if you are someone who is particularly sensitive to the cold, space heaters can be a godsend. They offer localized warmth that can keep you toasty in small areas. The problem is that they are also one of the leading causes of house fires. Therefore, it is crucial that you never leave one unattended, even when you are sleeping. In addition, keep it at least three feet away from flammable objects such as bedding, curtains or furniture. Modern models often have automatic shutoff options, which serve as another way to protect yourself and your property.


Speaking of convenience, clothes dryers have become a staple of modern life. The outdoor clothes-line that was a ubiquitous part of all neighborhoods is hardly to be seen these days. The downside of dryers is twofold: the potential for child entrapment and for fires. To minimize the threat, take steps to keep toddlers from playing near or climbing on your dryer. When discussing the dangers with them, present it just as seriously as you would give them warnings about not touching a hot stove or oven. To lower the risk of fires, clean the dryer’s lint trap after every cycle. Make sure the vents are kept free of obstructions. If you have any concerns, consult a professional repair company to ensure that your machine is operating safely.

Window Cords

These are perhaps the most deceptively harmless objects in your house. In reality, however, thousands of tragedies are caused by them every year. Both small children and pets run a serious risk of becoming entangled in them. In the worst cases, strangulations have occurred. To keep these horrors from happening to you, your best bet is to switch to cordless blinds. If that is not possible or practical, be sure to always keep your cords above the neck and head levels of kids, dogs and cats.

Microwave Ovens

When these convenience-packed small appliances first came on the market, one of their most attractive features was that cooking occurred from inside the food out, significantly reducing the risk of burns. However, any longtime microwave user will tell you that it is still very possible to hurt yourself on hot bowls and casserole dishes when you remove them from your microwave without protecting your hands. In addition, fires can start if you leave metal objects such as silverware in the microwave when it is turned on. Although these risks are not as high as they would be in a traditional oven, always be careful when cooking with or removing food from your microwave.


Your toaster might seem like the most innocuous of your appliances, but danger lurks here as well. As with any electrical appliance, toasters have the capacity to catch fire. Therefore, it is advisable to unplug it whenever your toaster is not in use. Because electrocutions can also happen, make it a priority to never attempt to dislodge a jammed piece of bread with a metal object. Since toasters are quite inexpensive, consider getting a modern model if yours is several years old; today’s versions feature anti-jam mechanisms and automatic shutoff capabilities.


Stoves and ovens can often be the most dangerous devices in your house, particularly if you have small children. Ensuring that they are child-proofed and that babies and toddlers are constantly supervised when in the kitchen go far toward preventing tragic accidents. Furthermore, practicing habits of cleanliness such as ensuring that burners are free of debris and cooking grease and keeping any flammable objects far from these appliances can avert disaster. Finally, if your oven has a self-cleaning feature, always be sure an adult is present to monitor it once you turn it on.


Did you ever stop to think about how many dangers your dishwasher poses? First of all, it can be a breeding ground for germs and bacteria. To compound the threat, it often contains dangerous implements such as knives, large forks and pizza cutters that, in the hands of a small child, can cause major injuries. This electrical appliance has the potential to cause a fire as well; consequently, it is always best to monitor it when it is in operation and discourage small children from opening the door.


Thanks to a great deal of media attention devoted to this issue, most people now recognize the danger that freezers, particularly large stand-alone ones, pose to unwary children. In the past, there were many deaths that resulted from kids unintentionally locking themselves into these appliances, which had no inside latch that could be used to open the door from within. Fortunately, federal mandates now require that these interior latches are present. If your freezer does not have one, consider upgrading to a new model.

Extension Cords

Overloaded, defective or outdated extension cords are the leading cause of house fires in the United States. Make sure that any cord you use is free of any fraying, and make sure that you only load it to its capacity, which is clearly noted on its label. Never run cords under carpets and be mindful that they are not left to dangle or lie in pathways that people travel.

Paint Products

You might be guilty of a common household mistake, leaving old paint, primer or paint stripper in your garage or shed. The problem is that the chemicals that make up these items are toxic and can even be fatal if absorbed through the skin. Small children are particularly vulnerable. For that reason, it is recommended that all of these products are either secured in a locked area or completely discarded after use. Finally, always be sure to adequately protect your skin by wearing gloves when using these toxic items.


These inexpensive household gadgets can make all the difference when winter cold leads to excessively dry air due to household heating. However, without proper maintenance, humidifiers can become perfect ecosystems for bacteria and fungi, which can reproduce quickly in the tank and then be dispersed into the room. To avoid respiratory illnesses caused by humidifiers, change their water daily and thoroughly clean them once per month using vinegar.

Tap Water Faucets

Your innocent little tap water faucet can cause some very painful skin injuries if you are not careful. To avoid being scalded, set your water temperature no higher than 120 degrees. If you have a gas-powered heater, test the water temperatures under it with a thermometer before use. Consult your electric company if you need help adjusting your electric heater’s water temperature.

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