Home appliances range from electric toothbrushes to HVAC/R systems.When selecting an appliance, accessibility and control are important issues for people with disabilities. Cost, function and style are also important. However, safety is the priority, and attention should be focused upon the interface between the design of an appliance and a user's disability. For example, fire extinguishers offer no protection unless they can be reached and physically managed. Homeowners should buy their appliances from trusted manufacturers and stores, selecting appliances that have reliable symbols of safety certification. Since the Underwriters Laboratories certified an electric iron in 1905, their certificate (UL) has been internationally recognized.
Careful selection of an appliance does not ensure its safe use. The instructions found in product manuals should be read and followed.
The Americans with Disability Act Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG) provides technical specifications for a broad range of appliances.People with disabilities who live in private homes are not required to use ADA compliant appliances, but such appliances have many advantages. They compare well with other appliances in terms of function, cost and style, and can be used by the broadest range of people.
When purchasing an appliance, the need for installation and service should be anticipated. A licensed or certified tradesperson should be hired if one is available. Licensing and certification provide evidence of competence through standardized education, testing and experience.
When installing major appliance, door width and flooring quality are critical considerations in determining the use of wheelchairs and other assistive equipment.Small appliances also need to be accessible, and should be placed toward the front of shelves that can be reached and are appropriate for the appliance's weight.
When it's time to dispose of a defective or unwanted appliance, municipal code should be reviewed for landfill and other regulations.
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