Friday, July 01, 2016

Is It Safe?

Yesterday my light bill arrived. Our electricity use is always high, and for a long time I have tried to figure out why. I think it's because we run two air purifiers in the house - we are not far from one of the county's largest polluters (a cement company, which has in recent years made significant efforts to clean up its processes but I still watch their smoke stacks churn out dust with great frequency) - and I have asthma. But even so, our bill is double that of some folks who have a much larger house, kids, etc.

We also run a dehumidifier in the garage. We started this many years ago when we ran into a minor mold problem. At that time, we were using a whole-house humidifier system that originated from the garage, and the moisture collected there. The dehumidifier fixed the issue, but it runs a lot. We have since done away with the whole-house humidifier, so I am not sure we need a dehumidifier running in the garage all the time. Maybe we only need one that turns on when I bring the car in wet from a rain.

So after looking at the electric bill, I went to the garage and stared at the dehumidifier for a while. It was running and the filter was dirty. I cleaned the filter. It has electronic stuff that you can program to make the thing run at various levels and times, but I couldn't figure out how to change the humidity level so that it would only turn on when the garage hit 50 percent humidity instead of 35 percent. I wrote down the model number and went to the computer to see if I could find the instruction manual for the dehumidifier on the Internet.

I found, instead, that the dehumidifier had been recalled back in 2013 because of the potential of fire. That was the very first thing that popped up when I typed in the model number.

That was unexpected.

I visited the recall site and submitted the information and was told that yes, my machine should be unplugged immediately. They would send me a "recall kit" and eventually refund some money.

The product was made in China. Most things are these days, I'm afraid.

After I finished filling out my information, I went back to the recall site. I was amazed at the vast amount of items sold in this country that are dangerous, hazardous, and poorly constructed. I grew up in an age when one did not worry if the product purchased was going to burn down the house. You expected it to be wired properly and to work as advertised. Refrigerators were made to last 30 years, not five. Yes, I am old, but I would rather pay more for a refrigerator that would last me 30 years than have to put up with bringing in a new appliance every time I turn around.

If you are interested in seeing if something you own has been recalled, you can go to recall.gov and check it out. You can see if your car has a recall on it, check household products, medications, and food.

It appears that most things made are recalled at some point, from the looks of the list. I imagine most readers have read about the IKEA recall of millions of dressers. But have you heard about certain children's nightgowns that have been recalled? Or that HP has recalled batteries for notebook computers? Or that Nature Valley protein chewy bars have been recalled? Or that some Honey Maid Teddy Grahams have been recalled?

All kinds of tires are listed under their own separate section of recalls. Tires are rather important when driving a vehicle. Yet there is a long list of tires that shouldn't be on your car.

An entire generation has grown up thinking this is the way things have to be. They don't. Manufacturers used to make products they were proud of. The workers were proud they were making it, too. You were proud to own it.

Now all we do is fill up landfills with this useless junk. This is what will continue to happen so long as the unwary consumer continues to purchase these poorly manufactured items.

We should demand quality, and expect to pay for it. It is a pain to have to replace my washing machine every couple of years because the machines they make now are made to break the day after the warranty expires. If I knew my washing machine was going to last beyond its (very limited) warranty, I would be willing to pay more for it.

I am, apparently, in the minority.

When I buy my new dehumidifier, I will do my homework and buy the "best one" as described online on some website that I may or may not trust. Right now, the "best one" in my price range, according to a couple of websites, is a Frigidaire. It's made in China.

So far, I have found only one that is made in the USA. It is large enough to take in my entire house, which I don't need, and costs $1,000 more than the "best one," the Frigidaire, I listed above. I can't find an American made dehumidifier in the size I need.

What are we as consumers supposed to do? Take time every day to visit the recall.gov site and see if everything in our house is safe? I bet I have other items in my home that have been recalled, things I will use every day, never knowing they have been deemed unsafe.

Why are we letting consumerism and our love and worship of money rule (and ruin) the world?

1 comment:

  1. The library used to have a subscription to Consumer Reports, perhaps they still do. You can go in and check for the best and best value of any product they review. I have heard that more companies are moving manufacturing back here because of the problems associated with manufacturing in other countries and having things be substandard. I hope that is true.

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