The three most dangerous appliances
RepairClinic.com, an online supplier of replacement parts for appliances and outdoor power equipment, has identified the top three most dangerous home appliances, along with tips on how to avoid injuries.
1. The clothes dryer: Instant fire starter. Every year, dryers cause thousands of major house fires in the U.S. Lint is the primary culprit. Dryer venting can become clogged with lint, causing a dangerous buildup of heat and an instant fire that spreads fast.
Prevention tips: A venting system should be cleaned out from inside of the dryer to the outside vent cap at least once per year. Professionals can be hired for this or homeowners can purchase a long brush and do it on their own. Also, vinyl venting should be replaced immediately with an aluminum equivalent. White vinyl no longer meets national fire code standards in the U.S.
2. The lawn mower: Injury machine. The true dangers associated with lawn mowers are still not widely recognized. Push, self-propelled and riding lawn mowers all bear great risks, so proper care and precautions are critical to family safety. Debris such as pet and children’s toys, stones, plastic edging, wood chips, and pieces of aged blades can be catapulted at speeds of up to 100 miles per hour.
Prevention tips: The cutting blade located under the deck should be checked regularly for damage, bends, and dullness. Blades should be replaced annually to every two years, depending on its usage. Replacement blades are inexpensive and easy to install. Children and pets should always stay inside when the lawn mower is in operation.
3. The microwave oven: Repairing & electrocution risk holder. Trying to repair your own microwave oven may be a fatal mistake. Despite its small size compared to other home appliances, the microwave oven stores thousands of volts of electricity in its capacitor, even after the microwave oven has been unplugged. That’s more than 30 wall outlets combined.
Prevention tips: Replacing electronic parts in a microwave oven should be left to a repair professional. However, the cost to purchase a new microwave is often comparable to the cost of replacement parts, so a new unit is most often the best solution. Non-electronic microwave parts like door latches, glass trays and their associated parts are inexpensive and easy to replace.
Two in one: bamboo/recycled plastic decking
Cali Bamboo, a leading manufacturer of green building materials made primarily from bamboo, is now offering composite decking made from bamboo and recycled plastic. BamDeck Composite Bamboo Decking is composed of 60% recycled bamboo fiber and 40% recycled HDPE plastics. (High density polyethylene plastic products are labeled with the number “2” and include bottles, laundry detergent containers, plastic bags and water pipes.)
Tests performed by a licensed third party — in accordance with the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) regulations and specifications — determined that BamDeck Composite is more than twice as hard and four times stronger than other decking products, according to the manufacturer. Tests show the product absorbs one tenth as much water and scores lower on flame and smoke tests. Cali Bamboo’s decking is also slip resistant and compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Two allow for a variety of installation styles.
BamDeck is available for purchase nationwide and comes with a 10-year commercial and 25-year residential warranty. The decking is offered in two different surface textures (ridged or smooth) and four colors: caramel, coffee, slate, natural.
Based in San Diego, Cali Bamboo services residential and commercial building projects across North America with a wide range of products including bamboo flooring, fencing, composite decking, plywood, poles, paneling and more.
Remodeling activity expected to rise
The remodeling industry should expect to see “accelerated growth” by the end of the year and into 2013, according to the Remodeling Futures Program at the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University. In their quarterly forecast, called the Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity (LIRA), the researchers pointed to a pick-up in home sales and more positive business conditions for contractors. The LIRA suggests that annual homeowner improvement spending may reach double-digit growth by the first quarter of 2013.
“Home improvement activity has been bouncing around the bottom of this cycle for almost three years now, waiting for the industry to get some traction,” says Kermit Baker, director of the Remodeling Futures Program at the Joint Center. “Now, the combination of low financing costs, stronger consumer confidence, improving home sales, and the perception that home prices have stabilized in most markets across the country are encouraging owners to start working on the list of home improvement projects they have been putting off.”
Eric Belsky, managing director of the Joint Center, attributed a first-quarter bump in remodeling activity to warm weather in many areas. “By the end of the year, however, positive market fundamentals are expected to kick in, moving the industry out of this ebb and flow period and into a new growth phase,” Belsky added.