<h2 style="margin: 10pt 0in 0pt"><font size="3" color="#990000">Seek safety when purchasing energy-efficient home appliances</font></h2><p><span style="line-height: 200%; font-family: ‘Verdana’,’sans-serif’; letter-spacing: 1pt; font-size: 10pt">(ARA) – Have government or manufacturer rebate programs enticed you to purchase a new home appliance, like a clothes washer or refrigerator? Or are you simply in the market to upgrade? Before purchasing any major appliance, it’s important to consider all your options before you make a final decision.</span></p><span style="line-height: 200%; font-family: ‘Verdana’,’sans-serif’; letter-spacing: 1pt; font-size: 10pt"><p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal">According to an October 2009 survey commissioned by Underwriters Laboratories (UL), a leading independent safety testing organization, one in five homeowners who are involved in purchasing decisions independently reported they are likely to buy a large household appliance in the new year. That number increased to one in four upon hearing that states may offer cash back for purchasing an energy-efficient appliance during 2010.</p>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal">"As today’s appliance technology continues to advance, it is now, more than ever, critical to consider safety when purchasing these items," says Ms. Simin Zhou, vice president and general manager, UL’s Appliances, HVAC/R and Components business unit. "Energy efficiency is an important attribute, but family safety also needs to be part of the decision-making process."</p>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal">A 2009 National Fire Protection Association report states that in 2006, U.S. consumers reported approximately 17,700 home fires involving clothes dryers or washing machines, resulting in 15 deaths, 360 injuries and $194 million in property damage.</p>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal">Five tips can be used to help assess whether your current appliances are safe for continued use and help you to make smart decisions when purchasing new appliances: </p>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal">1. Read the owners’ manual or users’ guide: These resources provide essential information to keep you safe.</p>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal">2. Only use as intended: Using appliances for activities other than what they are designed for can pose serious risks. The clothes dryer should only be used for fabrics and an oven should not be used to heat the home.</p>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal">3. Trust your instincts: If an appliance smells, sounds or functions strangely – be suspicious. This is a likely indicator to replace the problem appliance or at least have it inspected by a licensed technician.</p>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal">4. Follow preventative maintenance measures: Lack of preventative maintenance is a contributing factor to some appliance malfunctions and fires. Simple ways to keep your appliances in peak performance include never overloading the clothes washer; periodically removing debris from the dishwasher filter; and immediately unplugging the vacuum cleaner and dislodging items that should not have been picked up.</p>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal">5. Look for safety certification: Safety certifications, such as the UL Mark, confirm a product has been tested and certified to meet the highest standard in safety.</p>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal">If you’re ready to buy a new home appliance, you should start by researching available government and manufacturer rebate programs in your area. Programs usually vary by state so qualified appliances and rebate amounts will differ.</p>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal">To learn more about 2010 state rebate programs, and to find more tips on appliance safety, visit <a href="http://www.UL.com/appliancesafety" target="_blank">www.UL.com/appliancesafety</a> .</p>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal">Courtesy of ARAcontent</p><span style="line-height: 200%"> </span></span>