Happy Holidays

R. J. Hill Consulting would like to wish everyone a very Happy Holiday season.

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33 Years and Counting

Thank you to all who have expressed their congratulations on our completion of 33 years in business.  This milestone would not have been possible without the support of our clients.  Thank you for placing your trust and confidence in us.

R.j.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

R.J. Hill Consulting would like to wish everyone a very

Happy Thanksgiving.

Deep Fryer Fires due to Lack of Maintenance

We recently investigated the cause of a deep fryer fire in a restaurant setting.  As you probably know, these appliances are everywhere, not just in commercial food establishments, but in homes as well.  They have been in use for a number of years and are tried and tested dependable pieces of equipment.  However, there is just one problem which seems to be constantly ignored by owners.  That is, a thorough cleaning!  It’s one thing to clean the surfaces that are easily reachable and say that the fryer is clean.  It’s quite another to clean the areas where grease accumulates and is ignored because these areas are hard to get into.  I’m talking about the places around the burners and controls.  I’m talking about the area where the gas line comes in and the connections are made.  Many people are afraid to get into the cabinet where the guts of the fryer (and stoves and grilles) are located.  And if you don’t know what you are doing, you’re probably better off leaving the cleaning to a professional.  That doesn’t mean that the cleaning should be put off until absolutely necessary, or as in this case, after a fire occurs.  Deep frying food causes cooking oil to splatter onto exterior surfaces.  Whether onto an exhaust hood or other appliances, the residue that accumulates becomes fuel for a potential fire.  In the recent case mentioned above, greasy residue was allowed to accumulate on the rear side of the fryer as well as the exhaust hood wall.  Greasy residue also accumulated inside the fryer’s exhaust duct enclosure and this was where the fire originated.  The fire started here because the heat from the exhaust was insulated by the greasy residue, raising the temperature of the exhaust gases to the ignition temperature of the residue.  As a reference, cooking oil ignites between 750 F and 800 F depending on the oil.  If the fire hadn’t been contained as quickly as it was, the fire would have eventually reached those grease laden areas behind the fryer and inside the control and burner area.  The fire would also have spread to the stove and grille which were also under the same exhaust hood as the fryer and in need of the same type of cleaning.  If you have to set aside a day to clean inside your cooking appliances – Do It! I promise you that the time and money you spend doing a little maintenance will be significantly less than spending days to clean up, if not rebuild, after a significant fire loss.  Just think about the lost revenue over one day as opposed to several weeks if not months.  Remember, you have control over your schedule and therefore you can plan for your downtime.  Your customers, employees and those close to you will all appreciate it.

To show you what I mean, the following photograph shows how dirty the burner and control area can get if not kept clean.

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This is the back of the fryer after it was removed from its place under the exhaust hood.  The burn pattern was created by the heat produced from burning on the inside the exhaust area of the fryer. The residue on the lower back was never touched and is therefore an example of how bad the accumulation can be if not cleaned regularly.

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The last photograph shows what the floor area looked like when the fryer was removed. The gas line, which is barely recognizable, was buried in the residue.

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Toro Lawn Mower Defective Carburetor

Toro brand lawn mowers have recently come under attack by consumers for producing bad products.  Usually I am on the other end of a defective product but, this time I happen to be one of those consumers.  I purchased a Toro “Personal Pace” lawn mower last year and used it with good results all spring and summer.  This year, however, we started having problems. Although I could get the mower started, it would visibly shake and shortly thereafter, cut out.  If it kept going long enough for me to start cutting grass, no more than a minute into cutting and the engine would die.  It just would not continue to run.  The mower was taken to a Toro dealer, Southern Lawn and Equipment, where they supposedly cleaned the carburetor and it ran fine for them.  Once back home and in the grass, it didn’t take long before it started idling roughly and cutting out again.  The mower was returned to the dealer and this time they noticed that the choke was sticking.  The choke was adjusted and the mower returned.  Once again, after attempting to cut grass, the engine started cutting out again.  The third time that the mower was taken to the dealer, the dealer decided that the carburetor had to be replaced and that it would NOT be repaired under warranty.  It should be noted that Briggs and Stratton warranties the engine for three years and Toro would NOT stand behind the warranty.  The mower in question is shown in the photographs below. So, now we have a useless mower. Buyer Beware!

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Ceiling Fan Recall

A recall for Casablanca Ceiling fans has been discovered for a simple yet dangerous fault.  30,000 fans have been recalled because the fan motor and blades can separate from the adapter when it is used in updraft mode.  This won’t come as a surprise to many but, the fans were manufactured in China.  This is yet another example of the kind of poor manufacturing process that results in the erosion of public confidence.  How does something like the separation of the fan motor from its adapter escape scrutiny from quality control (assuming they have a quality control department) so as to put the consumer in danger?  Adding insult to injury, the recall affects 12 fan styles and 43 different models of Casablanca ceiling fans that were manufactured between 2013 and 2014.  The recalled styles are: Aris, Bel Air, Bullet, Caneel Bay, Heritage, Isotope, Riello, Stealth, Tecera, Trident, Whitman, and Zudio.  The recalled models are: 59018, 59019, 59020, 59021, 59022, 59023, 59057, 59059, 59060, 59061, 59062, 59064, 59065, 59068, 69069, 59070, 59076, 59077, 59078, 59081, 59082, 59083, 59090, 59091, 59092, 59093, 59094, 59105, 59106, 59107, 59109, 59110, 59111, 59113, 59114, 59119, 59121, 59123, 59124, 59164, 59165, 59527, 59528.  According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), there have been eight reports of falling fan motors and fan blades with one report of a minor injury and one report of minor property damage.  Consumers should stop using the fans and contact Casablanca for a free in-home and repair.  Casablanca can be contacted by calling 1-855-800-3789.  Consumers should also be aware that the recalled models are associated with certain date codes.  The date code can be found on the top of the motor housing near the center where the vertical support rod attaches to the motor housing.  The date code is a four digit code with the last two digits being a “13” or “14”.  The recall specifically applies to those fans manufactured in 2013 or 2014 and with a catalog number of “A01”.  For Isotope models 59018, 59019,, 59020, 59021, 59022, and 59023, the canopy ring has to be removed in order to identify the product. These particular products also have a green dot that is part of the identification of the recalled units.

After having said all of the above,  the procedure that a consumer has to go through is not only time-consuming and troublesome but, can be frustrating.  Keep in mind that because the manufacturer is a Chinese company, holding the company responsible might be very difficult. The consumer has to depend on the American distributor, in this case, Casablanca, to make good on the inspections and repairs.  For many, this means relying on Casablanca’s representative to be truthful and honest about their findings.  If things don’t go as expected, the consumer could end up with a useless fan.  Unless there is a substantial amount of damage or injury involved, filing a lawsuit is usually not a practical option.  Consumers can file complaints with the CPSC and Better Business Bureau which could affect the company’s business reputation but, usually not enough to cause any significant change.  Another way to hit a manufacturer where it counts is to post unfavorable reviews on social media.  Enough of a following can affect sales, negatively!  The last recourse is to replace the fan at the consumer’s expense, chalk the whole thing up to a bad experience and go on with life.

 

 

Craigslist and Recalled Products

ABC News has reported that Craigslist is allowing users to post ads in an attempt to sell recalled products. It is against the law to knowingly sell recalled items.  Please be careful when purchasing any manufactured item, whether from Craigslist, Ebay, or any other forum where products are offered on an “as is” condition.  Before you buy do a little homework; it might save you a lot of pain in the future.  Get the name of the manufacturer, model and serial numbers.  Go to the manufacturer’s website and check for a recall on the item.  If you can’t find the item, check the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s website; www.cpsc.gov to see if they have any recalls for the product.  By law, manufacturers are required to report defects to the CPSC as soon as they learn about a problem.  If you find a recalled product – STAY AWAY FROM IT!  Remember, products are recalled because there is the possibility of personal injury or property damage or both.  In either case, working through a serious injury or property damage can be expensive and time consuming.

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