Sunday, April 27, 2014

Kitchen Safety: What You Need to Know

The benefits of a kitchen remodeling project are numerous and varied. As we've written on this blog before, a new kitchen can inspire happiness and renewal, and increase efficiency. The most important benefit, however, might just be increased safety.

In our over twenty years of experience at Master Kitchen & Bath Design, surveying thousands of home kitchens, we've spotted many potential perils. From perilous trip hazards to faulty trip switches, we've seen it all. Unfortunately, for many homeowners, cooking dinner has become a "highway to the danger zone."

The problem for most home kitchen is simply age. Indeed, the potential for a "danger zone" increases year after year, and many homeowners simply do not realize that working in an old, outdated kitchen can be dangerous.  With small children and pets, the dangers multiply. For example, are your cleaning products appropriately stored—away from the tiny, prying hands of your toddler or your dog's curious snout?

If you want to ensure your family's safety for years to come, you'd do well to consider a kitchen renovation. At MKBD, we take safety serious! Read our simple "danger assessment tips" below. And after reading, if feel the need to speak to a professional, please give us a call: 215-355-4747. And please feel free to take advantage of our ongoing special: we offer FREE in-home safety checks for all potential customers.

Danger Assessment Tip #1: Inspect Your Refrigerator

Do you have an aging refrigerator chugging away in in the corner? Well, that old beast might pose more problems than noise. An aging refrigerator might not sufficiently cool your food--and that's a serious problem.

Food safety is a serious kitchen safety concern. The best way to ensure that your food is 100% safe is to routinely test your food's temperature and your refrigerator's temperature. There are special thermometers for both: a traditional food thermometer and a refrigerator thermometer.

You're probably familiar with a food thermometer, but you might not be familiar with calibration. A properly-calibrated thermometer is key to ensuring food safety.

Now, to ensure the safest food for your family, try to keep all food out of the so-called "temperature danger zone." Bacteria requires time and moisture to grow, but most microorganisms will be safely kept in check when a food is colder than colder than 41°F or hotter than 135°F.  If a food's temperature is between 41°F and 135°F it is in the "time-temperature danger zone." In this zone, bacteria multiplies quickly, leading to potential problems.

We see these problems in homes with aging refrigerators. The appliance simply does not cool leftovers quickly enough. This is why a refrigerator thermometer can be helpful.The ideal refrigerator temperature is 35°F. If your refrigerator is close to 40°F, you might have a problem. Since the temperature within your fridge can vary rather significantly with normal usage, test the temperature in the morning for a few successive mornings. You want to make sure the temperature is cool and consistent.

For some homeowners, a brand new fridge is not only a luxury, but a necessity. In this MKBD kitchen remodeling project, the client's new fridge provides luxury and safety.

Danger Assessment Tip #2: Ground Your Outlets

In an old kitchen, outdated appliances might not function properly. Worse, electrical outlets might not be properly grounded. An improperly grounded electrical outlet might not be readily apparent to most homeowners.

For example, all wall outlets should be equipped with GFCI outlet protection. To ensure safety, you need one GFCI outlet as the first outlet of a branch--the outlet closest to the breaker.

If that last paragraph seemed foreign to you, we suggest speaking to a professional ASAP. And when you do speak to a professional, make sure he or she is well aware of state and local codes, and follows all safety regulations. Of course, we're happy to address any electrical safety concerns at MKBD. Just give us a call: 215-355-4747.

Danger Assessment Tip #3: Check Your Floor

Cracked tiles? Warped floor boards? If your kitchen floor is damaged, the problem is more than simply aesthetic. A damaged kitchen floor can lead to potential slips and falls. Worse, an old or damaged kitchen floor can be hard to clean.

Did you know there's a "National Floor Safety Institute"? The NFSI focuses on the demands restaurant kitchens, but a recent press release from the organization illuminates a problem that might harm home kitchen workers, too:

"Did you know that more than three million food service workers are injured each year due to work-related slip-and-fall accidents?

According to Russell Kendzior, Founder and President of the NSFI, a key reason why this number is so high is polymerization. This refers to the thin coating of grease, soil, and even cleaning chemicals that develops on kitchen floors over time."

The NSFI's advice is to avoid mopping floors. Our advice is to purchase an easy-to-clean floor. If you're interested in the options, right our recent post, "The Right Kitchen Floor For Your Family."

A new floor provides more than beauty: safety's key in this MKBD project from Dresher.

All of these issues can be properly addressed with by a certified kitchen remodeling project. An updated refrigerator can ease food safety concerns. An electrician can update all outlets and connections. A new floor can prevent slips and falls. You want to feel safe—and a kitchen renovation provides an important opportunity to address any potential danger.

Again, give us a call: 215-355-4747. Take advantage of our ongoing special: we offer FREE in-home safety checks for all potential customers.

FREE In-Home Remodeling Estimate!

If you have any questions about your next kitchen remodeling project, please feel free to call MKBD for an individualized consultation. Let's talk budget and more! Call now! 215-355-4747. Better yet, check out our Free In-Home Remodeling Estimate on this blog!

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