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  • Writer's pictureJessica Foster

Appliance Safety & Handling

One of the most important features of any building is safety. Many regulations are implemented to guarantee the safety of inhabitants as well as prevent possible damage which can be costly. A constant factor that must be accounted for throughout a building is appliances, specifically how and where they are installed.

Appliances must be handled with care, and one way this is approached is through labeling. The International Residential Code requires a standard label on appliances including the following: manufacturer name/trademark, model number, serial number, and seal or mark of the testing agency. The type of appliance dictates further labeling; for example, electrical appliances must have a rating in volts, while fuel-burning units must have a type of fuel approved for use. As a whole, the type of fuel is important for appliances, as the fuel used cannot be altered unless it is approved and in accordance with manufacturer guidelines. These guidelines help to set a standard appliances should adhere to in order to guarantee safety.

The placement of an appliance is another factor to consider during its installation. Appliances should be accessible for inspection, service, repair, and replacement, meaning it can be reached without having to remove other appliances, piping, and other construction not related to the singular appliance. This is not only so it’s easier to make sure the appliance is functioning properly, but to also ensure the safety of anyone inspecting/repairing the appliance. The IRC also has regulations pertaining to ground clearance, with appliances supported from the ground needing to be level and supported on approved material, such as a concrete slab, extending no less than 3 inches above the ground. Additionally, appliances must have clearance from combustible materials, which is specified on the equipment labeling. This is to minimize fire hazards, which can also be seen in regulations relating to the elevation of ignition sources. The IRC states that appliances with an ignition source need to be elevated so that the source of ignition is not less than 18 inches specifically in garages. This helps keep combustible gas from coming into contact with these ignition sources, again preventing the outbreak of a fire.

Aside from the placement of appliances, how they are installed is also an important topic. They must be anchored to prevent their movement, fastened or fixed in an approved manner per IRC guidelines. Appliances such as water heaters and thermal storage units have specific regulations to prevent their horizontal movement in the case of external forces such as earthquakes. The IRC states that the anchorage shall be designed to resist a horizontal force equal to one-third of the operating weight of the water heater storage tank, acting in any horizontal direction. The strapping must also be in accordance with the appliance manufacturer’s recommendation. There are also other methods to keep appliances from tipping over, including anti tip brackets for stoves, as the sudden movement of appliances can result in life-threatening incidents.

There is usually an abundance of appliances present in buildings, and regulations are put in place to ensure that they are safe and can work properly. Making sure their installation is done right will not only save the hassle of fixing it at a later date, but will also prevent possible severe accidents. Safety is always key and a priority when it comes to any work in renovation. Here at Fine Remodeling, we are your Delaware contractor experienced with the regulations set by not only the IRC, but other organizations to ensure construction projects proceed safely. Get in touch with us about your next remodeling/renovation project so you can be sure it is done right the first time.

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