Home Appliance Evolution: What Safety Has to Do With It
As appliances get more innovative, safety and security must also be considered
It’s easy to see that appliances are becoming more technologically advanced – seemingly by the minute! But you may not be aware of the equally sophisticated safety testing processes that occur behind the scenes to help ensure that innovative new features don’t create new safety and/or security issues.
work closely with companies like UL to check products for safety hazards,
including fire and electrical shock, using rigorous science-based testing
processes. And appliances that are connected to the internet also need to be
protected against the threat of cyberattacks.
manufacturers and certification companies like UL do, along with your own part,
will help you stay appliance safe.
When TVs first started making
their way into homes, only the wealthy could afford the small black and white
the years, these appliances transformed into today’s modern smart HDTVs, found
in more than half of today’s American
Advances have also brought us smart
refrigerators that can monitor food inventory and order groceries.
connected appliances save us time and make tasks easier, but malicious hackers
may target them. This is why UL created a
Cybersecurity Assurance Program (CAP), which provides requirements manufacturers can use to
establish a baseline of protection against vulnerabilities and software
Your part: When using a
connected device, the Online
Trust Alliance recommends that you change its default password, keep it updated
with new software releases/patches and ensure your router uses WPA2 secure
Washers and Dryers
like with TVs and fridges, washers and dryers have evolved over time. Today,
many feature child locks on doors and switch panels to improve safety. Most can
be programmed to start immediately or with delay and for various types of loads
like no heat drying, heavy-duty wash or eco-cycle, making them more efficient
even with all these advances, along with rigorous testing, clothes dryers remain
a leading home fire cause, starting an average of 15,970 home fires a year,
according to the National Fire
Protection Association. The biggest igniters include dust, fiber or lint left
in the device or lint trap; clothing itself; or the machine’s wires/cable
insulation, etc. Washers have their own home-safety risks, as they can cause
water leakage and/or flooding if overloaded or if hoses burst.
Your part: To increase
safety, use your washers and dryers properly. Clean the dryer lint trap after
every use and inspect and clean exhaust vents annually. Don’t wash or dry
clothes soaked in flammables like gasoline, paint thinner or cooking oil. Be
sure you don’t overload your washer or dryer.
the years, ovens and stoves have evolved from wood-burning cast iron to many kinds,
including stainless steel, glass-top and convection. Today they also boast
numerous safety features, like auto lock, auto-shut off or time-controlled shut
off, and like all products certified for safety, undergo numerous tests.
a faster-cooking appliance, reside in most Americans’ kitchens. These appliances go
through rigorous testing specifically to help ensure they meet standards around
radiation leaks, overheating, fires, etc.
Your part: Be sure to use ovens/stoves properly. Never
leave the kitchen unattended for long periods of time when cooking. When
cooking on the stove, turn pot handles inward to avoid any spills or accidents.
Microwaves require special care: Don’t put metal, including
aluminum foil, in them, and be cautious as microwaved food gets especially hot
and can cause mouth burns.
and all –
thanks to technological advances, rigorous testing and hard-won certifications – appliances deliver
more safety and convenience than ever. Take up your part to keep them even