Modern free-standing electric and gas ranges are much lighter than models of years gone by. So much so that there is a well-recognized danger that the range will tip over if sufficient weight is applied to an open door. It does not take much pressure to make the range tip forward, and even small children can cause it to happen. Hot liquids on the stove top can easily spill, badly injuring unwary victims.
It happens more often than you might think. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Committee estimates that from 2006 to 2008, there was an annual average of 1,700 appliance-related instability/tip-over injuries treated in U.S. emergency departments. Some are very serious, and the CPSC is aware of at least 33 fatalities.
The usual mechanism of injury is children under the age of five trying to use an open oven door as a step to climb on the counter.
Since 1991, UL safety standards have mandated that range doors be able to hold significant weight without tipping. To meet these standards, all manufacturers provide “anti-tip” or “hold-down” brackets. These simple devices are fixed to kitchen floors or walls – out of sight behind the range – and hold down the back “foot” of the range.
The brackets work very well, and do so without affecting the appearance or functionality of the range. In order to work properly, however, the brackets must be installed.
Sadly, many retail delivery services fail or refuse to install these brackets, even though the purchaser pays for delivery and even though the manufacturer’s installation instructions clearly require installation. Some landlords and contractors do not secure the ranges in homes or apartments, even though building codes require installation of appliances in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions and UL safety standards.
We urge everyone to check and make sure that brackets are properly installed in their homes. If not, it’s a simple and inexpensive repair and one that most people can do themselves.