July 30, 2014

Appliance Maintenance Tips- or Avoiding an Appliance Disaster

It can happen to anyone, anytime. The washer overflows, the dryer doesn’t dry or -gasp- the fridge stops cooling. Many common household appliance problems can be avoided by following some basic maintenance routines. Regular maintenance will prevent prevent breakdowns, saving you money on costly repairs, or even higher insurance costs if you have water damage.

Here are some common household appliance maintenance tips and the cost comparisons for maintenance, use and damage :

1. Clothes dryer
Even if you clean your clothes dryer’s lint trap with each load, a surprising amount of lint makes it past the trap. Clogged air vents and ductwork not only lead to dryer inefficiency, and an estimated $300 additional to operate yearly, but could also spark a fire. Each year dryers cause some 12,700 residential fires, 15 deaths and 300 injuries, according to a 2007 report by the U.S. Fire Administration. In 70 percent of the cases, “failure to clean” was the leading cause. Second-floor laundry facilities pose another risk: The USFA calls these locations “hazardous” because they often require longer ductwork, with bends that could trap lint, rather than immediate outside venting. Improper ducting made of light foil or plastic can also ignite more readily and should be replaced by semi-rigid or rigid aluminum, or galvanized steel ducting.

Top tips:

* Once a month use your vacuum cleaner’s fine nozzle to suction the lint slot.
* Once a year unplug the dryer, disconnect the vent tube and vacuum it out.
* If your dryer doesn’t vent directly outside, consider hiring a professional duct cleaner.

Maintenance cost:

* Dryer vent cleaning kits: $20
* Professional duct cleaner: $75 to $200
* New ducting: $15

Average cost of home dryer fires:

* $9,176

2. Washing machine
Today’s high-efficiency front-loading washing machines are gentler on clothes, but complex mechanical and electrical components make them tougher on your wallet when something goes wrong. With estimates from $450 to $600 to repair a broken drum, it may be more cost-effective to buy a new washer.

But the biggest disaster with any washing machine is flooding from a burst water hose, which can release 650 gallons of water per hour. Burst hoses top PEMCO’s list of homeowner’s insurance claims, resulting in an average $4,000 to $6,000 in damages. “If the owner is home and they catch the leak within an hour, it’s usually on the low end,” says PEMCO spokesman Jon Osterberg. “The bad-case scenario is if they’re on vacation. In some of the higher end homes with second-floor laundry facilities, you can reach $100,000 in damages.”
Top tips:

* To keep the drum spinning smoothly for years to come, for starters, use only high-efficiency, or HE, detergent. “The suds that are created by nonhigh-efficiency detergents will get in and wreak havoc on the drum and drive system,” says Dave Chowanec, Sears product category engineer for laundry products.
* Once a month, run an empty hot water wash to break down any built up residue.
* Excessive vibration can also damage the drum. If you hear or see the machine shake, it’s unbalanced. Check for level, but more importantly, check the machine’s stability by rocking it from corner to corner. “All four legs should be firmly touching the ground and locked according to the use manual,” says Chowanec.
* Once a month, check your washing machine hoses for bulges or tears, especially at connection points where kinks can form and crack. Manufacturers suggest replacing hoses every three to five years, regardless of wear. It’s no more complicated than attaching a garden hose. Steel braided “no-burst” hoses can also fail, and because of the meshing, tiny tears may be more difficult to catch. When not in use, turn off the water valves leading to your machine. For ultimate peace of mind, install an automatic water valve shut off system activated when it senses an excessive surge in water pressure.

Maintenance cost:

* Carpenter’s level: $15
* New hoses: $10 to $20
* Automatic shut off system: $130 to $200

Cost of Energy Star-rated front-end loader:

* $620 to $1,850

3. Sump pumps
Sump pumps usually protect your basement from flooding, but they can fail unexpectedly. Homeowners insurance usually doesn’t cover damages from sump-pump overflow. Sump pumps often vibrate when they run, so the float mechanism can get stuck.

“This will either make it run all the time or it won’t run at all,” says Ray VinZant, the expert behind Roto-Rooter’s “Ask the Plumber.”

“The float has to be able to rise up when the water level rises. If it doesn’t, the pump won’t come on.”

Because sump pumps drain ground water and sediment, clogged intake screens and discharge pipes also contribute to their failure. While battery backups offer a measure of protection if your primary pump fails or if there’s a power outage, they aren’t foolproof. Most backups last five to seven years. An old battery might only run three hours in an outage, instead of the stated six.
Top tips:

* Once a year, pour a gallon of distilled white vinegar into the basin to break down calcium deposits on the expeller and pump.
* Unplug the pump and remove any material clogging the intake screen.
* Check the float switch operation: Pour enough water to turn the pump on and make sure it drains. “If you hear a grinding noise, the pump may be on its last legs,” says VinZant.

Maintenance cost:

* Gallon of vinegar: $2

Cost:

* For a six-hour battery backup: $100 to $150
* For a high-end 7.5 hour sump pump system that includes a low-battery alarm: $475

4. Water heater
An old or corroded water heater can cause substantial damage. “Don’t forget you have a water heater,” says Randy Schuyler, who operates WaterHeaterRescue.com.
anode-rods
“Some day you’ll hear the water running when you know nobody is using any and you’ll find a major flood in some part of your house that wasn’t meant to be a wading pool.”

Sold with six- or 12-year warranties, PEMCO Insurance suggests replacing your tank every 10 years. Roto-Rooter caps the useful life at 15 years. Look at the first four digits on the heater’s serial number to find the month and year of manufacture.

Several factors lead to tank corrosion. Water sediment at the bottom of the tank builds up if not drained properly. Tanks also have something called a sacrificial anode rod, or rods, made of aluminum or magnesium-coated steel, that water eats away first instead of your tank’s inner walls. When these rods wear out, water begins to corrode your tank from the inside out.
Top tips:

* Because natural gas, water and electrical components are involved, be sure to take necessary safety precautions in maintaining your hot water heater.
* To extend a tank’s longevity keep the floor around the heater clean. “Some newer models are especially prone to dust, and may just stop working if their filters get clogged,” says Schuyler.
* Once a year check your water pressure. “Anything over 80 psi can wreck water heaters, other appliances and piping,” he says.
* Test the temperature/pressure relief valve by pulling up on the handle. “Replace it if it does nothing, or runs, dribbles or drips when the handle closes,” says Schuyler. “Under rare conditions, water heaters blow up. When they do, they may take walls, the roof and their owners with them.”
* “If there’s clearance above your tank, every few years, check the tank’s anode rod.” Schuyler says the single most important factor in whether a water heater lives or dies is the condition of its sacrificial anode. “For more than 60 years, it has been used as a key part of the rust protection of a tank, although few people know it’s there,” he says. The rod is made of magnesium or aluminum and screws into the top of your tank. Look for a hexagonal head — often covered by a plastic cap. “Replace it when six inches of core wire shows,” says Schuyler. If you have a water softener, check the rod annually. “Softeners can eat anodes in as little as six months.”
* To effectively remove sediment, Schuyler suggests expelling it under pressure by using a ball valve drain assembly and curved dip tube.

Maintenance cost:

* New anode and sediment removal kit: $80

Cost of an Energy Star-rated water tank:

* $500 to $600, not including installation

5. Air conditioning
Often a major expense, heating, ventilation and air conditioning, or HVAC, systems require yearly professional inspections and adjustments to ensure proper operation. Just a 10 percent leak in refrigerant could result in a 20 percent decrease in efficiency. Homeowners may save up to 50 percent in energy costs with proper HVAC maintenance, according to the Air Conditioning Contractors of America.

Top tips:

* Between spring and fall servicing, homeowners should replace their HVAC filters once a month. Change “three-month” filters just as frequently if your home is excessively dusty or you have shedding pets. Clean filters result in a 5 percent to 15 percent reduction in energy consumption, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
* To ensure the outside condenser unit has necessary airflow, keep it clear of debris and cut back foliage by at least two feet. Because evaporator and condenser coil fins can easily bend, forcing your system to work harder, comb them back into shape using a special fin comb, available through parts wholesalers.

Maintenance cost:

* Filters: $10 to $20 per filter
* Fin comb: $12
* Routine HVAC servicing: as low as $25

Cost of a high-efficiency HVAC system:

* Prices vary greatly depending on size, location of the unit, added ductwork and air handler, but can range from a few thousand to well over $15,000.

6. Refrigerator
Several factors can lead to refrigerator poor performance: Excessive dust and dirt can clog the condenser coils forcing the coolant to work harder; an unleveled refrigerator can knock the doors out of alignment, causing cold air and energy to escape, and a dirty door gasket can break the tight seal necessary to maintain your refrigerator’s efficiency. In refrigerators with water dispensers, a clogged filter can stop the automatic icemaker from working and produce discolored water.

Top tips:

* Twice a year pull out your refrigerator, unplug it and vacuum the coils located either in the front or back, more often if you have shedding pets. If possible, allow a 2-inch space around the top and sides to let the coils breathe.
* Make sure to check for level after maintenance.
* Clean the door gaskets with soap and water and check the seal. “The gasket should last the life of the refrigerator, but if it becomes warped or damaged replace it,” says Neil Pellicci, Sears engineering manager for refrigeration products.
* Replace the water filter every six months, (more often if you have hard water) or when the indicator light comes on.

Maintenance cost:

* New door gasket: $45 to $55, not including installation
* Water filter: $17 to $45, depending on make and model

Cost of an Energy Star-rated refrigerator:

* $500 for basic top-freezer to $3,000 for high-end side-by-side, not including installation

Routine recap

To help you keep track of these maintenance items, cut and save this schedule:

Monthly:

* Vacuum clothes dryer lint slot.
* Check washing machine hoses for wear and tear.
* Run an empty hot water cycle in front-end loader.
* Replace HVAC filters.
* Clean the floor around your water heater.

Twice-yearly:

* Have HVAC system professionally serviced (in spring for air conditioner, fall for furnace).
* Replace refrigerator water filters.
* Clean refrigerator door gaskets.
* Vacuum refrigerator condenser coils (more frequently if you have shedding pets).

Yearly:

* Clean out clothes dryer vent and ductwork.
* Check washing machine for level and stability.
* Clean sump pump basin and intake screen.
* Flush deposit build up in sump pump basin with white vinegar.
* Check sump pump float and operation.
* Check water heater anode rod and temperature/pressure valve.
* Check your home’s water pressure.
* Drain sediment from water heater.

Flat Screen Shopping? Read On…

Americans may be curbing spending across the board, but many are still willing to lay down their dollars for a certain kind of luxury – the high-tech kind that hangs on the wall of your family room and makes you feel like you’re right there on the field at your favorite sporting event.

Even though sales of flat-screen TVs have yo-yoed in the past year and a half, overall, analysts view the industry as healthy, and likely to remain so. In fact, a recent survey by PriceGrabber.com revealed that 20 percent of the men polled consider a flat-screen high-definition TV a necessity rather than a luxury.

In 2009, more than 53 percent of American households have at least one HDTV, according to the Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing, the Web site ScreenSleuth.com reports. That’s an 18 percent increase over last year, the site points out.

Retailers haven’t missed the fact that flat-screen televisions are among the few big-ticket items Americans are still willing to buy. They’ve responded by lowering prices and offering deals and incentives. These deals, plus wider availability of products and services like designer wall mounts and HDTV programming make it a great time to upgrade your set to a flat screen.

Consider these compelling facts if you’re considering purchasing an HDTV:

* Some major discount chains are offering free shipping on flat screens if you purchase online and have the product shipped to a chain location near you. That means if the TV of your choice is out of stock in the store, you can buy it online and pick it up at your local store without spending anything on shipping and delivery.

* Manufacturers have started offering HDTVs with integrated Blu-ray players, so you can enjoy two of today’s hottest entertainment experiences in a single product.

* Most major cable companies now offer a variety of high definition channels – including movies and sports – so you can enjoy the full benefit of your HDTV.

* Online coupon Web sites offer coupon codes, discounts and deals on flat screens that will make you feel like you’re getting away with something. Finding an online discount is as easy as Googling the words “flat screen coupon codes.”

* Some manufacturers are offering extended warranties of five years or more on flat screens. That means your flat screen would likely be under warranty until the technology improves even more and you’re ready to upgrade to a new model.

* Increased competition, including a number of new manufacturers, has helped drive flat screen prices down faster than practically any other entertainment technology. Anyone remember how long it took for VCR prices to fall below $500? Or for video game consoles to cost less than $200? By comparison, flat-screen TV prices have fallen quickly and dramatically, with many quality options now costing less than $1,000.

* It’s easier and more visually appealing than ever to mount your flat screen on the wall. Clunky, intimidating hardware that held flat screens several inches away from the wall are giving way to sleek designer options like Super Slim Low-Profile Mounts from TV accessory maker Sanus Systems. Capable of supporting up to 65-inch flat screens weighing 150 pounds, the Super Slim mounts emphasize the sleek look of ultra-thin LCD, plasma and LED TVs by placing them less than an inch from the wall.

Planning Ahead for a New Heating System

The phrase “you don’t appreciate what you have until it’s gone” can apply to many things in life, but it’s particularly relevant when the heat goes out on the coldest day of the year.

In these situations, most homeowners will do practically anything to restore the indoor comfort level of their homes as quickly as possible – whether it’s paying for a quick fix or replacing an entire system. However, in the rush to prevent the family from shivering all night long, it’s easy to make a rash decision that could ultimately be a costly mistake in the long run.

According to Bill Cunningham, a home comfort specialist with Lennox – a leading manufacturer of heating, cooling and indoor air quality equipment – there are three common mistakes people tend to make when the air stops circulating at home:

Mistake No. 1: Thinking you’ll save more money by repairing an old, broken system instead of replacing it.

Repairs to an existing heating and cooling may be the least expensive immediate option, but Cunningham says that simply repairing an old system may cost you more in the long run since older systems tend to break down more frequently and consume more energy. Replacement often is a better option, because new heating and cooling systems are much more efficient than those from several years ago and they can save you money, time and headaches in the long run.

For example, by replacing an older furnace that is 60 percent efficient with one that is 95 percent efficient, homeowners can save approximately 57 percent on energy bills and up to $5,513 over a five-year period. In addition, new federal tax credits for energy efficient home improvements make buying a new system more affordable than ever.

Mistake No. 2: Buying a new system that is too big or too small.

“Bigger isn’t always better, particularly when it comes to heating and air conditioning equipment,” says Cunningham. A correctly sized heating and cooling system is crucial to your comfort and the efficiency of the system. According to Cunningham, an oversized system will cost you more to operate and may actually lower your comfort. In fact, an air conditioner that is too large for the home will cycle on and off more frequently than properly sized units, running up your utility bill, while also leaving rooms cold and clammy. Likewise, if the unit is too small, it will run too often and may be unable to heat or cool your home sufficiently. To help determine the proper size, it’s best to enlist the help of a reputable home heating and cooling contractor.

Mistake No. 3: Failing to take into account your long-term needs.

When buying a new system, be sure to consider that it is priced within your budget, but don’t compromise your comfort level, household energy efficiency or long-term savings by purchasing a system that will not satisfy your needs well into the future. Choosing a new heating or air conditioning system that’s right for your home is more than just a matter of comparing the initial purchase price and installation costs. The fuel costs to operate a home comfort system over its lifetime, which can span anywhere from 10 to 20 years, will likely be much more than the initial purchase price. Cunningham says purchasing a new furnace with an efficiency rating of 90 percent or higher, such as the Lennox G71MPP gas furnace, or an air conditioner with a seasonal energy efficiency rating (SEER) of 16 or higher can help offset fuel and operating costs over the long haul.

Cleaning Your Water Heater and Some Tips

Cleaning out the water heater might be some people’s idea of a fun day’s activity, but it sure isn’t mine. If you really plan to take this job on, please read on for what essortment.com has to say and be certain that your are ready for the task. Once you start, you’ve got to finish or you’ll be getting soapy water from your faucets for quite a while.

Mineral deposits in the tank, or problems caused by them, are the most common reasons to clean a tank. If you have a gas water heater the deposits form on the bottom of the tank and are usually stuck to the tank itself. Cleaning out the water heater will only remove a fraction of the deposits in there, if that’s what you are attempting to do. Electric water heaters collect any mineral deposits on the heating elements and they usually fall to the bottom of the tank over time. Some of the deposits from an electric tank will flush in the cleaning process; however, many are too large to flush through the drain valve.

If there are a lot of deposits in the tank, you might have to go through the cleaning process more than once to achieve the desired results. In water heaters that are over seven years old this process may cause the water heater to leak so much you will have to replace it, consider this before starting.

Cleaning the tank:

1. Turn the water heater off.

2. Turn the cold water supply to the water heater off.

3. Hook a high quality garden hose to the drain valve.

4. Place the other end of the hose where hot water will not cause damage. The hose should be as straight as possible and all turns should be gradual.

5. Open the drain valve.

6. Disconnect the cold water inlet pipe on the top of the water heater. This step will let air into the water heater so it will drain.

7. When the water heater is empty, close the drain.

8. Pour a gallon of acidic tub and tile cleaner into the coldwater inlet pipe one cup at a time. CLR works best and can usually be found in an economical gallon size. Pause a few seconds after each cup of cleaner is poured into the tank, failing to do so will cause the tank to spew cleaner all over you.

9. Three to five hours later drain the cleaner out of the tank. By this time the cleaner will have either dissolved all of the mineral deposits or have been neutralized. To check if the cleaner is still working, gather the open end of a small plastic bag tightly around the open coldwater inlet pipe. If the bag gradually inflates, the cleaner is still working. If the bag does not inflate, the cleaner has stopped working.

10. Reconnect the cold water inlet pipe and turn the supply back on.

11. Open the cold water inlet valve and let the water heater flush for several minutes.

12. Close the drain valve and open the hot water faucet nearest to the tank and let the water heater fill.

13. When water starts to come out of that faucet, reopen the drain and let the water heater continue to rinse.

14. When the water seems clean and is free of bubbles, close the drain. Open all the hot water faucets in the house to remove all air from the water heater and hot water pipes.

15. After all the air is out of the water heater, turn it back on.

You may get a slight amount of soapsuds from the hot water faucets for a day or two after cleaning your water heater. By this time, the cleaner is so diluted that there is no harm in the small amount remaining. After all of this you may still have problems with your water heater such as rumbling, which means there is sentiment left in the tank. As stated before, this whole process is quite complicated. If you’re still having troubles, it’s back to step one!

Now, if that seems like too much work, you might consider a chemical free cleaning. This cleaning is simpler. Follow steps 1-7 above to drain the water heater,then remove the drain plug.

Next, using a long narrow brush, go through the valve opening and scrub the bottom of the tank, side to side and front to back. The idea is to loosen all the rust calcium deposits and sediment you can. When you’ve finished scrubbing, reinstall the drain valve. Don’t forget to apply teflon tape or pipe dope to the threads so it won’t leak.

Attach a garden hose and open the drain valve. Turn on the water supply to your water heater. Let it run 15 to 20 seconds and turn it off. Let all the water drain out of the tank, add more water and drain again. Repeat this process until the water runs clear, that means your tank is clean.

Once your heater is clean, it’s time to consider prevention so you don’t have to go through this again. Every two to three months you should flush your water heater, as this is much less complicated than cleaning the tank. All you need to do is hook up a garden hose to the drain valve. The hose should be placed so it is as straight as possible with only the most gradual turns. Open the drain valve and let the water flush through the heater; the incoming water will agitate the deposits and some of it will flush out.

Also, installing a water softener is a good idea if you live in an area with hard water. A water softener will break down the minerals that accumulate and cause problems in your tank. Or, you can always replace your current water heater with a self-cleaning version made by State Industries. It’s costly, but may be worth it if you’re constantly battling with mineral deposits.

Buying a Used Appliance

Washing machines and other hardworking appliances seem to know the worst times to breakdown. With the economy causing most of us to be careful with our spending, replacing a major appliance is not high on anyone’s to-do list. Sometimes your just need a few more months out of the machine before a big move or remodel, but then it happens, the squealing, leaking and motor problems – time for a new unit.

A second-hand washer, dryer or refrigerator can be just what you need. We’ve got some suggestions on where and how you can get what you need.

    Buy used appliances at furniture stores. Most of these stores have a section for used appliances and furniture that people have traded in. Check to see if there is a warranty left or if it is “as is.” Some stores offer their own short return period of thirty to sixty days.

    Check the want ads in your local newspaper for used appliances. If you see an ad for something you want, make an appointment to go inspect the appliance. These will be “as is” so make sure the appliance is fully functional before you buy.

    Go online to online stores that sell used appliances. Make sure to inquire about the return policy and ask if there is a warranty on the appliance.

    Visit flea markets in your area to find used appliances to buy. Most of the time these will be “as is” so make sure you plug it in and find out if it works before you buy.

    Find out about neighborhood garage sales to buy used appliances. These are usually advertised by people putting notices around the neighborhood, stating when and where the sale will be held.

    Search craigslist.org for used appliances in your area. Again,be certainthe appliance is in working order as there will be no warranty.

    Check the Consumer Product Safety Commission (www.CPSC.gov) for any recalls on the appliance you find.

Buying a used appliance can be a smart choice, as with any large purchase, do your research and shop carefully.

Appliance Installation and Power Needs

Whether you plan to install your new appliance yourself or have a professional do it, be sure your home is ready before delivery. Read these tips on power requirements, placement and more to ensure a successful installation.

Appliance Power Requirements

Check the power requirements of each appliance. To run major appliances and heavy electrical equipment, you need 220-volt current in the house. And unless your clothes dryer runs on gas, it will require a 220-volt outlet to operate, so it’s necessary to upgrade to 220 to handle these and other heavy equipment.

Appliance Installation

When having an appliance installed, be sure it can be removed easily for service. Flexible hook-ups for dishwashers and gas ranges can make repair jobs less labor intensive. Also, leave extra electric cable when installing electric wall ovens and cooktops. This will minimize the time the technician spends on the job and reduce the cost to you.

Here are some tips from appliancemagic.com regarding some specific appliances:

Dishwashers
If your kitchen floor is being tiled, make sure that it is tiled beneath the dishwasher or at least raise its flooring to the same height as the tiles. Once down, there may not be enough clearance to remove the dishwasher for servicing. The only alternative will be to lift the whole countertop off of the cupboards, a needless expense.

Wall Ovens
If you are installing a wall oven below countertop level, be aware that small children could be exposed to a burn hazard. Wall ovens do not have to conform to the same temperature standards that regular ranges do. This is because they are designed to be installed above counter height.

Washing Machines
When installing a washing machine, be sure water shut-offs can be reached easily. Also ensure the water hoses are long enough to remove the appliance when necessary. A floor drain may also be necessary should the water pump or motor fail.

Washing machines are designed to be used on solid flooring, like concrete. If it is being installed on a wooden floor, extra joist bracing may be needed. The mounting of an additional plywood section can also strengthen an existing wooden floor. Severe internal suspension damage can occur if used on unstable flooring.

Refrigerators
Refrigerators with forced air condensers are the only kind that can be built in. Models with regular static condensers will not be able to dissipate the heat if used in this application. This will result in poor cooling efficiency and damage to the compressor. You can tell forced air models by the fan, located in the compressor compartment, used to circulate air through the condenser.

Appliance Buying Tips to Avoid a Mistake

Here are three great pieces of advice from the Guru – Consumer Reports – that will get you off to a good start when you begin that search for the perfect new appliance. Many consumers commit these errors:


Not checking a brand’s track record.
You can boost your odds of buying a reliable model by choosing a reliable brand from our Brand Repair History for different appliances. You’ll often save money in the bargain because, in general, lower-priced mainstream brands have often been more reliable than upscale brands. Our brand-repair histories are culled from nearly 450,000 respondents reporting on nearly 2.5 million appliances for our Annual Product Reliability Survey conducted by the Consumer Reports National Research Center.

Paying extra for extended warranties.
While they might boost profits for stores, extended warranties generally are a bad deal for you because most products don’t break within the three years most extended warranties cover. And because repairs often cost about the same as the extended warranty, you’re better off chancing it.

Jumping at package deals. Stores typically offer lower prices if you buy a refrigerator with a range and dishwasher from the same brand. But doing so could sacrifice performance, because some appliances work far better than others with the same name. You could also increase your chances of repairs down the road because some brand’s fridges have been far more reliable than its ranges and dishwashers.

Grill Safety for the 4th and all Summer Long

Summer, the Fourth of July and barbecue, they all come together to create happy memories. Don’t let an accident spoil your summer fun; read these tips from HPBA (Hearth, Patio, Barbecue Association) and be prepared for a great Holiday and summer.

* Read the owner’s manual.

Always read the owner’s manual before using your grill and follow specific usage, assembly, and safety procedures. Contact the grill manufacturer if you have specific questions. (Be sure to locate your model number and the manufacturer’s consumer inquiry phone number and write them on the front page of your manual.)

* Grills are for outside, only.

Barbecue grills are designed for outdoor use, only. Never barbecue in your trailer, tent, house, garage, or any enclosed area because carbon monoxide may accumulate and kill you.

* Use in well-ventilated area.

Set up your grill in an open area that is away from buildings, overhead combustible surfaces, dry leaves, or brush. Be sure to avoid high traffic areas and always barbecue in a well-ventilated area. Be aware of wind-blown sparks.

* Keep grill stable.
When using a barbecue grill, be sure that all parts of the unit are firmly in place and that the grill is stable (can’t be tipped over).

* Follow electric codes.

If electrically-operated accessories are used (rotisseries, etc.), be sure they are properly grounded in accordance with local codes. Electrical cords should be placed away from walkways or anywhere people can trip over them.

* Use long-handled utensils.
Use barbecue utensils with long handles (forks, tongs, etc.) to avoid burns and splatters.

* Wear safe clothing.

Wear clothing that does not have hanging shirt tails, frills, or apron strings that can catch fire, and use flame-retardant mitts when adjusting hot vents.

* Keep fire under control.

To put out flare-ups, either raise the grid that the food is on, spread the coals out evenly, or adjust the controls to lower the temperature. If you must douse the flames with a light spritz of water, first remove the food from the grill.

* Be ready to extinguish flames.

Use baking soda to control a grease fire and have a fire extinguisher handy. A bucket of sand or a garden hose should be near if you don’t have a commercial extinguisher.

* Consider placing a grill pad or splatter mat beneath your grill.

These naturally heat resistant pads are usually made of lightweight composite cement or plastic and will protect your deck or patio from any grease that misses the drip pan.

* Never leave a grill unattended once lit.

* Stay away from hot grill.
Don’t allow anyone to conduct activity near the grill when in use or immediately following its use. The grill body remains hot up to an hour after being used.

* Don’t move a hot grill.

Never attempt to move a hot grill. It’s easy to stumble or drop it and serious burns could result.