Many homes in the U.S. have freestanding ranges. Freestanding ranges are convenient, functional and offer homeowners a wide variety of choices. Ranges come in a variety of colors, configurations, and quality. But one thing that freestanding ranges have in common is the potential for the unit to tip forward when a heavy weight is placed on an open oven door. It is not something that most people consider when purchasing a new range, but it happens more often than we like to consider.
From 1980 through 2008, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) found that there were 38 fatalities associated with a range that tipped over. Twenty of those fatalities involved children ranging from one year to five years old. In addition, the CPSC cited as many as 84 reported injuries. The majority of the injuries were from burns that were suffered when hot liquids spilled over from the pots or pans when the range tilted.
I personally know someone that was scarred for life when their range tipped forward spilling hot oil on their hands and arms.
The appliance industry has been supporting voluntary standards that address the stability of freestanding ranges. The Underwriters Laboratories (UL) Standard Technical Panel (STP) has adopted criteria for Household electric Ranges, while the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) has created standards for gas ranges.
One of the methods chosen to prevent this type of accident is a simple metal bracket called an “anti-tip” device. These brackets can be fastened to the wall or floor behind the range to prevent the stove from tilting forward.
Anti-tip brackets have been required since 1991, but since they require special installation procedures many homeowners or installers simply disregard this step. In 2012 the CPSC required manufacturers to include additional warnings, improved installation guides that improve awareness. While most building codes do not directly address anti-tip devices they normally specify that appliances and mechanical systems must be installed according to manufacturer’s installation requirements.
Today most home inspectors will test for the presence of an anti-tip device. They will typically note the absence and recommend the appropriate resolution.
Anti-tip devices come in a variety of styles so the best practice is to use the one designed for the brand and model of the range. If the appliance is replaced the anti-tip device should be replaced as well to match the new range.
For more information and tips on how to check your range visit https://www.cpsc.gov/PageFiles/118037/5007.pdf