How To Look At A House
McGarry and Madsen's home inspection blog for buyers of
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Why is an anti-tip device now required behind the range?
Monday, October 15, 2018
It’s also called a “range safety clip” and is primarily for child safety. The device secures a free-standing range to the back wall or floor to avoid the possibility that a youngster sitting or standing on an open oven door will cause it to tip over and crush or scald them. But the elderly, too, can be injured while using an unsecured range for support while cleaning.
Although it might appear to be a minor safety issue, the statistics from the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) are surprising: there were 143 incidents caused by range tip-overs from 1980 to 2006. Of the 33 incidents that resulted in death, most of those victims were children. If a small child stands on an open range door in order to see what is cooking on the stovetop, it can accidentally cause the entire unit to fall on top of the child, along with whatever hot items may have been cooking on the stovetop.
In response to this danger, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and Underwriters Laboratories (UL) created standards in 1991 that require all ranges manufactured after that year to be capable of remaining stable while supporting 250 pounds of weight on their open doors.
Manufacturers' instructions, too, require that anti-tip brackets provided be installed. Despite these warnings, retailer Sears estimated in 1999 that a mere 5% of the gas and electric units they sold were ever equipped with anti-tip brackets. As a result of Sears’ failure to comply with safety regulations, they were sued and subsequently required to secure ranges in nearly 4 million homes, a measure that has been speculated to have cost Sears as much as $500 million.
Although the anti-tip bracket kit is now included with all ranges sold in the U.S., they just don’t get installed by the homeowner too often. We check for an anti-tip bracket and verify that it is functional at each home inspection where there is a range in the kitchen.
The bracket mounts to your choice of the wall or floor at the back of the range and, when the range is slid back in place against the back wall, it interlocks with the back leg of the range. Here’s a photo looking down at one from the counter level, with the range pulled out so it is visible.
If your range does not have an anti-tip device, you can contact the dealer or builder who installed the range and request that they install a bracket. Or, if you want to install a bracket yourself, the part can be purchased at most hardware stores or ordered from a manufacturer. General Electric will send their customers an anti-tip bracket for free.
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