Wiring Done Right

Electrical Wiring and Safety

Electrical Dangers in the Home

Kitchen Area

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Kitchen area are unique in that multiple appliances exist, there is a water source, an oven, stovetop burners, microwave, fridge as well as several small appliances.

Cooking Range

This is one item you know every kitchen will have. It is on its own dedicated circuit that uses both 220 and 110 voltage.  Some ranges are basic and some are equipped with electronic timer controls for the oven, as well as some that have self cleaning cycles.

Although all these features are a convenience, I would like to point out some concerns.  Technology is all great but I can say that again and again never count on technology to overcome stupidity. 

Electronic oven timers are all great but how many people you know that have trouble even programming their TV remote, I personally would not recommend putting a turkey for instance in the oven setting it up to cook overnight or go away for the whole day and hope that everything worked as planned and you have a perfectly cooked turkey ready to eat when you get home, and timer fault / programming fault and you may just come home either a turkey that never cooked at all, or a extremely burnt turkey and in the worse case arrive with the fire department at your home. Cooking / baking should never be unattended.

Ovens that have the self cleaning option works by heating up the oven to around 900 degrees and turns all dirt and debris into ash, an automatic door lock prevents you from opening the door until the cycle is complete and the oven has cooled down again to a safe temperature. The issues are is to make certain that no grease / oil is in the oven before starting self cleaning cycle, as grease can be a fire hazard and cause smoke emissions in the air which most certainly will set off smoke detectors, and could take quite some time to air out the home.  The door to the oven will be extremely hot keep children well away.

Microwaves that have a shelf designed for it and fridges are usually on dedicated circuits, in fact in most jurisdictions electrical codes specify that.

Over the counter you may have what is referred to as split circuits which means that the top half of the outlet is on a different circuit than the bottom half but yet share a common neutral; the circuit breakers at the panel are linked so that both halves will shut off if any part of the outlet overloads the circuit. If you have a newer home you may have  20 amp GFI outlets. Most codes now require GFI outlets / circuits for over the counter outlets near sink areas. Read the articles called 'GFI Outlets' and 'Split circuit outlet'.

Small appliances such as toaster ovens, toasters, rice cookers, and so on, should be keep away from the sink as much as possible, so an electrical appliance is not close to the sink.  Do not keep these too close to the edge of the counter. Do not use any extension cords on kitchen small appliances, use only the power cord that came with the small appliance plugged directly into an outlet.

A lot of people leave their small appliances plugged in after use, I would strongly recommend that you unplug all kitchen small appliances when not in use.  Always clean any spills / grease in the appliance after use, grease could cause a fire, if not now perhaps the next time you use it.  Some goes for oil spills on the stove top.

Always unplug your toaster prior to trying to remove a piece of bread stuck in it, otherwise there is a danger of shocks from using  the metal object to remove the bread.

Keep rags / clothes well away from cooking surfaces or small cooking appliances.

Clean grease and oil building on the stovetop exhaust hood / fan. Clean the exhaust filter regularly and replace filter as needed.

DO NOT be washing your dishes with one hand and using the other to reach over to the toaster (or any other small appliance) to load to remove toast bread from it or even to change a setting, your hands are wet, water is conductive, the sink / faucet is metal, there is a real danger of shock here if you manage to complete an electrical path to ground, and that because two hands are involved would go through the body including the heart which could be fatal. Dry off your hands before using switches or working with appliances.

Kitchen Hazards

On a side note:

Make sure that the kitchen floors are always dry and never leave scraps on the floor, it can lead to major injuries such as depicted in the picture to the left.

Special caution when children are present...

a) no cords left hanging over the counter edge.

b) Keep small appliances away from the edge of the counter and away from the sink, and handles turned in so a child cannot grab it.

c) pot handles on the stove, turn them in and perhaps use the back burners when possible so it is harder  for children to get all.

d) Keep children out of danger by keeping them well away from the cooking area. 

e) keep all cooking utensils, cleaning supplies out of reach of children.

f) above all do not remove the battery from your smoke detector because it is over sensitive to cooking, or from burning a piece of toast.

 

Try your skills out at the following website, see if you can spot the dangers in the kitchens...

http://cnm.kmi.open.ac.uk/projects/safety/site/flash/kitchen.htm

Kitchen fire video (warning graphic)

 

Bugs Bunny 1980's kitchen dangers PSA...

Written: Dec. 30, 2011
Revised: June 22, 2013
Proof Read / Released: July 10, 2013
By: Donald Kerr

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Donald Kerr / Wiring Done Right
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