Anti-Tip Brackets for Ranges

Anti-Tip Brackets for Ranges

Anti-tip brackets are metal devices designed to prevent freestanding ranges from tipping. They are normally attached to one of the rear legs of the range or screwed into the wall behind the range, and are included in all installation kits. A unit that is not equipped with these devices may tip over if enough weight is applied to its open door, such as that from a large Thanksgiving turkey, or even a small child. A falling range can crush, scald, or burn anyone caught beneath.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), there were 143 incidents caused by range tip-overs from 1980 to 2006. Of the 33 incidents that resulted in death, most of those victims were children. A small child may stand on an open range door in order to see what is cooking on the stovetop and accidentally cause the entire unit to fall on top of him, along with whatever hot items may have been cooking on the stovetop. The elderly, too, may be injured while using the range for support while cleaning. 

In response to this danger, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and Underwriters Laboratories (UL) created standards in 1991 that require all ranges manufactured after that year to be capable of remaining stable while supporting 250 pounds of weight on their open doors. Manufacturers’ instructions, too, require that anti-tip brackets provided be installed. 

Check Your Range

It may be possible to see a wall-mounted bracket by looking over the rear of the range. Floor-mounted brackets are often hidden, although in some models with removable drawers, such as 30-inch electric ranges made by General Electric, the drawers can be removed and a flashlight can be used to search for the bracket.  

A more certain test is trying to carefully tip the range.  The range should be turned off, and all items should be removed from the stovetop first.  Then, firmly grip the upper-rear section of the range and tip the unit. If it’s equipped with an anti-tip bracket, the unit will not tip more than several inches before coming to a halt.  It is usually easier to detect a bracket by tipping the range than through a visual search. This test can be performed on all models and it can confirm the functionality of a bracket.

 

 

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Barbecue Safety

Barbecue Safety

With barbeque season already here, homeowners should heed the following safety precautions in order to keep their families and property safe.  Regardless of the type of grill you have, there are risks for improper use.

  • Propane grills present an enormous fire hazard, as the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is aware of more than 500 fires that result annually from their misuse or malfunction.
  • Charcoal grills pose a serious poisoning threat due to the venting of carbon monoxide (CO). The CPSC estimates that 20 people die annually from accidentally ingesting CO from charcoal grills.  These grills can also pose a serious fire hazard, especially by using excessive lighter fluid, failing to monitor the grill while in use, or improperly disposing of ash.
  • Electric grills are probably safer than propane and charcoal grills, but safety precautions need to be used with them, as well.

Safety Recommendations for General Grill Use

  • Always make sure that the grill is used in a safe place, where kids and pets won’t touch or bump into it. Keep in mind that the grill will still be hot after you finish cooking, and anyone coming into contact with it could be burned.
  • If you use a grill lighter, make sure you don’t leave it lying around where children can reach it. They will quickly learn how to use it.
  • Never leave the grill unattended, as this is generally when accidents happen.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher or garden hose nearby.
  • Ensure that the grill is completely cooled before moving it or placing it back in storage.
  • Ensure that the grill is only used on a flat surface that cannot burn, and well away from any shed, trees and shrubs.
  • Clean out the grease and other debris in the grill periodically, and scrape the grill rack to remove baked-on food.
  • Be sure to check the unit for rust and other signs of deterioration.
  • Don’t wear loose clothing that might catch fire while you’re cooking.
  • Use long-handled barbecue tools and flame-resistant oven mitts.
  • Keep alcoholic beverages away from the grill; they are flammable!

In summary, homeowners should exercise caution when using any kind of grill, as they can harm life and property in numerous ways.

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The Safe Room

The Safe Room

A safe room, also known as a panic room, is a fortified room that is installed in a private residence (or business) to provide a safe hiding place for inhabitants in the event of an emergency.

Why are safe rooms used?  

Some reasons include:

  • to hide from intruders. The protection of a safe room will afford residents extra time to contact police;
  • to hide from would-be kidnappers. Many professional athletes, actors and politicians have installed safe rooms in their homes;
  • for protection against natural disasters, such as tornadoes and hurricanes. Underground tornado bunkers are common in certain tornado-prone regions of the United States;
  • for protection against a nuclear attack. While safe rooms near the blast may be incinerated, those far away may be shielded from radioactive fallout; and
  • to provide social distancing in the event of a serious disease outbreak.

Location

The safe room’s location must be chosen carefully. You should plan multiple routes to avoid detection by an intruder who may be blocking the main route.  

Design

Designs vary with budget and intended use. Even a closet can be converted into a rudimentary safe room, although it should have a solid-core door with a deadbolt lock. High-end custom models costing hundreds of thousands of dollars can have a tamper-proof and bulletproof door, concrete floor, thick steel, soundproof walls, video monitors, computers, an air-cleaning system and protection against bacterial and chemical infiltration, and a self-contained power-generating system. 

Items to keep in a safe room:

  • bottled water and non-perishable foods;
  • communication devices independent of the safe room’s video-monitoring system, including a cell phone and charger, a landline, and a two-way radio; 
  • blankets and pillows;
  • extra clothing, outerwear and footwear;
  • a first-aid kit with extra prescription medications;
  • flashlights and batteries;
  • sanitation supplies;
  • weapons; and
  • gas masks. Where an odorless gas might be a threat, an electronic device may be installed to detect any noxious fumes or poisons.

If you have or decide to build a safe room, an important thing to remember in order to further ensure your family’s safety is not to advertise it.  If the fact is discovered by the wrong person, your safe room or your ability to use it to its full advantage when necessary could be compromised.

Lead in Water

Lead in Water

Lead has been determined to be a significant health hazard if ingested, especially by children. Lead damages the brain and nervous system, adversely affects behavior and learning, slows growth, and causes problems related to hearing, pregnancy, high blood pressure, the nervous system, memory and concentration.

Lead in drinking water is a direct result of lead that is part of the plumbing system itself. Lead solder was used in pipe fittings in houses constructed prior to 1988. Lead has been used in plumbing fixtures, such as faucets.  And in some older homes, the service water pipe from the main in the street to the house is made of lead.

The transfer of lead into water is determined primarily by exposure, which is the length of time that water is in contact with lead. Two other factors that affect the transfer are water temperature (hot water dissolves lead quicker than cold water) and water acidity (“soft” water is slightly corrosive and reacts with lead).

The current federal standard for lead in water is a limit of 15 parts per billion.

The only way to find out whether there is lead in the house’s water is to have the water tested by an approved laboratory. If there is evidence of lead in the system, consider having your home’s water tested for lead. If the house has a water filter, check to see if it is certified to remove lead. 

For more information on lead in drinking water, call the Environmental Protection Agency’s Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 800-462-4791, or visit the website of the EPA Office of Water at www.nachi.org/go/epasafewater 

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Lead-based Paint

 

Lead-based Paint

If ingested, lead can lead to a variety of health problems, especially for children, including brain damage and other serious issues.

Lead-based paint may be a hazard when found on surfaces that children can chew or that get a lot of wear and tear, such as windows and window sills, doors and door frames, stairs, railings, banisters, porches and fences. Lead from paint chips that are visible and lead dust that is not always visible can both be serious hazards. Lead dust can form when lead-based paint is dry-scraped, dry-sanded, or heated. Dust also forms when painted surfaces bump or rub together, such as when windows open and close. Lead chips and dust can get on surfaces and objects that people touch. Settled lead dust can re-enter the air when people vacuum, sweep or walk through it. 

In 1978, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) set the legal limit of lead in most types of paint to a trace amount. As a result, homes built after 1978 should be nearly free of lead-based paint. In 1996, the U.S. Congress passed the final phase of the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act, Title X, which mandates that real estate agents, sellers and landlords disclose the known presence of lead-based paint in homes built prior to 1978. 

Lead-based paint that is in good condition and out of the reach of children is usually not a hazard. Peeling, chipping, chalking or cracking lead-based paint is a hazard and needs immediate attention.

If the house is thought to contain lead-based paint, consider having a qualified professional check it for lead hazards. This is done by means of a paint inspection that will identify the lead content of every painted surface and a risk assessment that will determine whether there are any sources of serious lead exposure (such as peeling paint and lead dust). The risk assessment will also identify actions to take to address these hazards. 

The U.S. federal government has standards for inspectors and risk assessors. Some states may also have standards in place. Call your local housing authority for help with locating a qualified professional. Do-it-yourself home tests should not be the only method you use before embarking on a rehabilitation project or to ensure your family’s safety. For more information on lead-based paint, consult the HUD Office of Lead Hazard Control website at www.nachi.org/go/epalead

#lead-basedpaint #homesafety #healthhazard

Asbestos

Asbestos

Asbestos is a naturally occurring fibrous mineral used in many construction products. It is considered to be a carcinogen. Asbestos has been used in: sealant, putty, and spackling compounds; vinyl floor tiles, backing for vinyl sheet flooring, and flooring adhesives; ceiling tiles; textured paint; exterior wall and ceiling insulation; roofing shingles; cement board for many uses, including siding; door gaskets for furnaces and wood-burning stoves; concrete piping; paper, millboard and cement board sheets used to protect walls and floors around wood-burning stoves; fabric connectors between pieces of metal ductwork; hot water and steam piping insulation, blanket covering and tape; and as insulation on boilers, oil-fired furnaces, and coal-fired furnaces. The use of asbestos was phased out in 1978, but many older houses contain asbestos-bearing products. 

Products containing asbestos are not always a health hazard. The potential health risk occurs when these products become worn or deteriorate in a way that releases asbestos fibers into the air. Of particular concern are those asbestos-containing products that are soft, that were sprayed or troweled on, or that have become crumbly.  In this condition, asbestos is considered to be in a friable state.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency believes that as long as the asbestos-bearing product is intact, is not likely to be disturbed, and is in an area where repairs or rehabilitation will not occur, it is best to leave the product in place. If it is deteriorated, it may be enclosed, coated or sealed up (encapsulated) in place, depending upon the degree of deterioration. Otherwise, it should be removed by a certified professional. 

A certified environmental professional could perform an inspection and make the decision whether to enclose, coat, encapsulate or remove deteriorated asbestos-containing products. Testing by a qualified laboratory, as directed by the environmental professional, may be needed in order to make an informed decision. Encapsulation, removal and disposal of asbestos products must be done by a qualified asbestos-abatement contractor. 

For more information, visit www.nachi.org/go/epaasbestos

 

#asbestos #homesafety #healthhazard

Flood Zones

Flood Zones 

Check with local authorities to determine if your home is in a flood-risk zone. If it is, check with local building officials. Higher standards than those set by national agencies have been adopted by many communities. 

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National Flood Insurance Program have established and defined five major flood-risk zones and created special flood-resistance requirements for each.

For a flood map, visit www.nachi.org/go/femamaps.

Improperly designed grading and drainage may aggravate flood hazards to buildings and cause runoff, soil erosion and sedimentation in the zones of lower flood risk, according to the Interflood Zone and the Non-Regulated Flood Plain.

In these locations, local agencies may regulate building elevations above street or sewer levels.

In the next higher risk zones, the Special Flood Hazard Areas and the Non-Velocity Coastal Flood Areas (both Zone A), the elevation of the lowest floor and its structural members above the base flood elevation is required.

In the zone of highest flood risk, the Coastal High Hazard Areas (Velocity Zone, Zone V), additional structural requirements apply.

#floodzones #floodzone #flood

Preventing Moisture Intrusion

PREVENTING MOISTURE INTRUSION

Monitor the Exterior 

Planters:  Check any planting beds adjacent to the foundation of your house because planters are built in a way that traps water, which may infiltrate hidden areas of your home. The structure around the planting beds acts like a dam and traps water. Flower planters should never be installed up against a house’s exterior wall. 

Puddles:  Puddles and areas of standing water are not good. The ground surface beneath decks, porches and other parts of a house that are supported by posts or cantilevered structures should be checked, especially if you have a sprinkler system. The ground should not have any low-lying areas but should be sloped so that water will not collect and puddle there. Settled backfill allows water to collect next to the foundation wall and penetrate the house’s foundation. 

Gutters & Downspouts:  Downspouts may need adjustment. Water from the roof reaches the ground through gutters and downspouts or by flowing directly off roof edges. Because downspouts create concentrated sources of water in the landscape, where they discharge is important. Downspouts should not discharge where water will flow directly onto or over a walkway, driveway or stairs. The downspouts on a hillside home should discharge on the downhill-side of the building. The force of water leaving a downspout is sometimes great enough to damage the adjacent ground, so some protection at grade, such as a splash block or a paved drainage chute, is needed. In urban areas, it is better to drain downspouts to an underground storm water drainage system, if there is one, or underground to discharge at a lower grade away from buildings. Water that flows directly off a roof lacking gutters and downspouts can cause damage below. Accordingly, some provision in the landscaping may be needed, such as a gravel bed or paved drainage way.

#moistureinstrusion #exterior #homemaintenance

Laundry and Utility Rooms

Laundry and Utility Rooms

Laundry Room:  Watch for leaks and kinks developing at plumbing connections to the washing machine.  Water can overflow from the top or bottom if the machine is overloaded with a load that’s too big, or if it is resting on an uneven surface.  

Protect the electrical or natural gas connections to the dryer and ensure that they are not disturbed or accidentally dislodged from their connections.

A gas dryer vent that passes through walls or combustible materials must be made of metal.  The length of a dryer exhaust ensures that its blower will be able to push sufficient air volume to take away the laundry’s damp air and lint. The maximum length of the exhaust hose should not be greater than 25 feet from the dryer to the termination at the wall or roof.  The length can be increased only when the make and model of the dryer are known. 

Inspect the dryer venting to make sure it is not clogged or restricted, which will help the unit operate efficiently and normally, as well as prevent the unit’s motor from overheating and failing.  A clogged or restricted vent hose may also lead to an accidental fire caused by the ignition up built-up debris.  

The clothes dryer exhaust poses a different problem than other exhaust systems because the air is damp and carries lint.  Ensure that the vent exhausts to the outside and not to the attic, crawlspace, or attached garage because the wooden structural members of the house could be affected over time.  The exhaust vent’s termination should have a backdraft damper installed to prevent cold air, rain, snow, rodents, and birds from entering the vent.  The vent termination should not have a screen on it, as this can trap lint and other debris and pose a fire hazard.

Furnace Room:  Rooms or closets containing combustion or fuel-burning equipment or appliances should not be located off a bedroom in a single-family residence (and must be in a publicly accessible area in a multi-family building). 

#laundryroom #utilityroom

Egress Windows for Fire Safety

Egress Windows for Fire Safety

Egress:  Basements and every sleeping room should have at least one operable emergency escape and rescue opening that opens directly onto a public street, public alley, yard or court. This standard is required because many deaths and injuries happen when occupants are asleep at the time of a house fire and the normal means of escape (through doors) are typically blocked. 

The sill height of the emergency escape and rescue opening should not be more than 44 inches above the floor. If the window has a sill height below ground level, a window well should be provided. The window well should have a horizontal area of at least 9 square feet, with a minimum horizontal projection and width of 36 inches (with the exception of a ladder encroachment into the required dimension).  If an emergency escape window is located under a porch or deck, the porch or deck should allow the window to be fully opened and the escape path should be at least 3 feet high. 

You can’t be prepared to act in an emergency if you don’t have a plan and everybody knows what that plan is.  Panic and fear can spread as quickly as a fire, so map out an escape route and a meeting place outdoors, and involve even the youngest family members so that everyone can work as a unit to make a safe escape.

#egress #egresswindows #firesafety