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Hazards in the Home

Home may be where the heart is, but it is also - unfortunately - where a whole host of hazards are. We have come a long way over the years, bringing awareness and enforcing legislation for things like asbestos, lead paint, radon and carbon monoxide, but there are other real threats that loom large. In a recent article on MarketWatch.com, four such hazards are highlighted and they are ones that many of us have never given a second thought.

The Wrong Smoke Detector
Most of us feel very comfortable knowing that our homes are fitted with working smoke detectors. As long as they are UL approved and we check our batteries twice per year - that should be sufficient, yes? Well, not really. There are two main types of smoke detectors designed for home use: ionization and photoelectric. 95% of homes are fitted with ionization units as they are the least expensive and most easily found. Statistics show, however, that these popular detectors take an average of 20 minutes longer to detect smoldering fires - fires that begin with things like cigarettes on synthetic fibers or faulty electrical wiring. While the ionization units trip more easily with fast flames or quick smoke plumes from things like burnt toast, they do not react quickly to the thick, slow-moving smoke from smoldering fires. It is suggested that photoelectric detectors be placed in vital areas of the home like the kitchen, bedrooms and basements, but in areas like hallways, bathrooms and living areas, ionization units should do fine.

Old Gas Lines
If your home was built between 1860-1915, chances are you have defunct gas lines that were formerly used to supply lighting to homes. Many have been capped off or converted to electricity, but if they are active and open, there is a very real danger of explosion if disturbed during construction. Even some modern lines made from thin stainless steel tubing were found to be susceptible to lightening strikes. It doesn't even need to be a direct strike, according to experts - just enough heat and energy in the approximate area can create an explosion. If you are homeowner with have any concerns about your gas lines, contact a private gas line specialist to first determine if you or your municipality is responsible. In many areas, gas line reconstruction is on the public infrastructure "to-do" list but can be moved along with enough pressure from the community.

Light Construction
Light or "truss" construction, while great for starter or inexpensive homes, has shown to be a major factor in more swiftly moving and more destructive fires. While sturdier homes are made with wood joined by bolts, screws and nails - lightweight structures are put together using gussets that join corners - gussets that are simply clamped onto the area that needs fastening. The main problem with truss construction is that in the case of a fire, the heat generated is often enough to pop the gussets out as easily as they were popped in. While there isn't much one can do to change this basic structural feature, it is very important for homeowners living in a lightweight construction home to take extra precaution against fire.

Topsy-Turvy Appliances
There is now one more good reason to not let your television be your child's babysitter. Between 2000-2010, nearly 170 children were killed from large, flat-screen televisions tipping over and causing fatal head or internal injuries. While making sure that the television is on a very low media table (never on a high dresser) can help decrease the risk of serious injury, the best way to avoid problems is to have large flat-screens professionally mounted to the wall. Using a skilled installer is crucial because if a wall-mounted TV is not properly secured, it can pose even a greater risk to children than one simply placed on a table.

Another dangerous appliance is the stove - and not for reasons that you may think. According to MarketWatch, in 2008 Sears settled a multi-million dollar lawsuit as a result of more than 100 deaths or injuries from faulty mounting mechanisms on stoves. The vast majority of stoves sold today are light enough for even small children to tip over if they climb or grab onto the unit, and if not properly mounted, can cause very serious problems.

While these risks may seem to be remote, "better safe than sorry" is really the takeaway. Installing a few photoelectric smoke detectors in key areas, making some calls about your current gas lines, being extra fire-cautious in homes built of light construction and properly mounting appliances can mean the difference between a safe, healthy home and a major disaster.

A magnetic seal keeps the outer door shut but gives customers easy access to go-to foods.

Door-in-Door Refrigerator Design Debuts

On the backs of an interesting study of American refrigerator habits LG has announced the arrival or a new French-door fridge featuring Door-in-Door technology, a design which should have consumers accessing "go-to" foods without opening the entire refrigerator.

According to the survey, 40 percent of consumers reach for their "go-to" items in the fridge three to five times per week. 78 percent of people are likely to share their favorite "go to" foods with others. The same survey indicated that the top-rated "go-to" foods are cheese at 60 percent and fruit at 59 percent.

Cheese! Who would have thought?

At any rate, the Door-in-Door feature is a magnetically sealed section of the right refrigerator door that can release and allow fridge owners easy access to that door bin. So cheese and fruit goes in this door, people!

To us, the best part about this new feature is that the fridge can stay closed, keep items cooler and ultimately using less electricity.

How about you? Would you want a fridge with Door-in-Door technology?

The perfect candidate for the CyberQ Wi-Fi.

Wireless BBQ Control

Tech-savvy BBQers, take note! BBQ Guru has just announced the arrival of CyberQ Wi-Fi, the world's first BBQ temperature control that connects directly to Wi-Fi enabled devices. That's right, you can now regulate and control the temperature of your charcoal grill or smoker from your laptop or smartphone.

With CyberQ Wi-Fi, not only is the guesswork taken out of your grill or smoker's temperature, the leg work is removed as well.

This remote temperature control option is perfect for BBQers who also want to play host and enjoy the company of friends and family while looking after the food. There's nothing worse than missing most of the party you are throwing because you're tied to the grill.

The CyberQ Wi-Fi fits most standard charcoal grills/smokers and can be purchased through the company website for $295, which includes the fan and grill adaptor. Would you buy a CyberQ Wi-Fi?

It's time for them to start smoking their meat!

New Weber Tools for Smoking and Grilling

It's summer. The smell of meat on the grill has been wafting up and down streets in neighborhoods across America. For the grill masters of each home, Weber has introduced a whopping 25 new accessories and tools for 2012.

The tools reflect the findings from the 23rd Annual Weber GrillWatch Survey, in which 58 percent of American grillers expressed an interest in learning how to use a smoker.

The tools include:

  • Weber Firespice Trial-Sized Smoking Kits: This sampler of different smoking woods includes hickory, apple, mesquite, cherry, pecan or beech, all packed in individual tins. $12.99 - 17.99.

  • Weber Stainless Steel Smoker Box: A small smoker box placed on the hot cooking grates of your gas grill will turn it into a smoker, instantly. $24.99.

  • Weber Original Rib and Roast Holder: This handy accessory combines two of Weber's popular tools into one. The rib holder holds up to five ribs at once; flip it over and hold a roast, chicken or turkey. $20.99.

  • Stainless Steel Fish Baskets: The baskets will hold delicate fishes and vegetables to keep the food secure but close to the grill grates. $27.99 - 34.99.

  • See the full list of new accessories on the Weber website.

    Happy Grilling!

    A front view of the recalled dishwasher.

    Viking Dishwashers Recalled Due to Fire Hazard

    About 2,000 Viking Dishwashers were recalled by the U.S. Product Safety Commission due to a fire hazard. An electrical component in the dishwasher can overheat, posing a fire hazard to consumers.

    Viking has received at least 21 reports of incidents, including five reports of property damage from fires. Fortunately there have been no injuries reported.

    The recall involves the Viking 24" Professional, Designer and Custom Panel dishwashers which were manufactured between May and September 2010. They were sold in appliance and specialty retail stores across the country from June 2010 through March 2012 for between $1,425 and $2,000.

    Consumer who have these dishwashers should stop using them immediately and contact the Viking hotline at (800) 241-7239 to schedule an in-home repair.

    Your summer guide to smoking.

    Summer Smoking

    All you grilling gurus take note. This is the summer of the smoker! To prepare us all for the delights of outdoor cooking, Weber has just released its first ever cookbook dedicated solely to smoking.

    Titled Weber's Smoke -- A Guide to Smoke Cooking for Everyone and Any Grill, the cookbook features 87 recipes, each with an accompanying color photo. There's a range of recipes within, from slow and low ribs and brisket to quicker cuisine like steaks which may only require a tendril of smokey flavor.

    The book takes the reader through the science of smoking, step-by-step instruction for setting up any cooker (gas, charcoal, etc) for smoking and tips and tricks on regulating heat, wood selection and food pairings.

    Do you have any favorite smoking recipes?

    Clean me, Seymour!

    Self-Cleaning Ovens Get a Face-Lift

    It's been about 50 years since the introduction of the "self-cleaning" oven, according to a recent press release by Maytag. The same company has declared it time for an update to that technology and has introduced its AquaLift self-cleaning feature that enables consumers to clean their oven with nothing more than low heat and water.

    An exclusive enamel oven coating activates with water and low heat, which allows the moisture to release tough baked-on messes. Within an hour's time the oven is ready for a wipe-down.

    The AquaLift is a departure from the routine required by current self-clean models, which involves high heat and results in a house full of odors.

    Most folks would agree that oven cleaning is a tedious and grimy job, even with effective self-cleaning ovens. Let's hope this new technology catches on in other brands.

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