Jay's post makes excellent points about something as everyday to us as the trusty refrigerator. Talk about something so taken for granted.
Who would have thought about a child using the refrigerator as monkey bars? But I bet it has happened more than once.
Jay knows his stuff. I subscribe to his blog for just this reason.
This is the follow up to the previous post! So, are there other dangers to refrigerators? Sure! They are an appliance you have to pay attention to just as you would any appliance. Maintenance is everything! But ... so is safety.
The first thing is maintaining the fridge at a proper temperature. If you don't, the proverbial science project is the result! And quickly!
What is a "proper" temperature?
It is recommended that the fridge side be kept at 37 degrees Fahrenheit and the freezer at zero.
Newer models actually have a digital temperature button to adjust each side. Older models have the analog knob, but you can figure it out with a thermometer.
CHILDREN DANGERS - CLIMBING
Particularly on the side by side models, but really on any fridge, children can open the doors and climb up the shelves.
Believe it or not, depending on how the doors are laden with things, a child's weight can tip over the unit!
Some refrigerators are situated under a cabinet, which minimizes the danger of tipping. But some are not! And if a unit tips it can certainly crush a child.
This is the kind of thing that happens just when you think it can't.
Children can also become trapped inside. The older units with handles certainly posed a greater danger of this than newer units do. But the magnetic strips can still close a door very tightly and a small child might not be able to open a door sealed shut.
When a fridge is moved, it can be rolled back over or onto the cord. That can damage or fray the cord, exposing the wiring to overheat or short.
Newer models have shorter cords, with a part of the cord attached to the back of the fridge, specifically to avoid this problem. But it can still happen if not monitored. And older units have longer cords.
Also, the flap on front-door ice dispensers can stick open, and when it does it can overheat. This can certainly cause an electrical issue that can start a fire. I inspected a house where my client said it had happened to her. She did NOT want a fridge with an ice dispenser and planned to get rid of the one that was coming with her new house!
Some units have drain pans in the bottom that are there to evaporate excess water from the unit. Or, of the power goes out, frozen things can thaw and drip onto an electrical panel or connection causing a short. When buying a fridge it is good to check out the locations of wiring as associated with the pan or drip potential.
The EPA will tell you that all fridges come with poisonous compounds or chemicals (like hydroflourocarbons - CFC's) that can endanger ground water or people! Check with your trash service to see how they dispose of these fridges, or if the land fill near your home takes specific measures with disposed-of units.
My recommendation: Pay attention to your fridge, its maintenance and its safety, and it will give you many years of great service. Load it up with good things and enjoy!
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC
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