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CPSC Guidelines For Television Receiver Safety

Release Date: June 01, 1974

Numerous reports from manufacturers of potential fire and shock hazards associated with television receivers and consumer complaints of TV- related fire and shock incidents were instrumental in the March 1974 decision of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission to proceed with the development of mandatory safety standards for television receivers.

On April 23 and 24, 1974, the Commission held two days of public hearings to gather additional information from the television industry and to hear from individuals who had personal experience with television fires or with potential TV hazards.

Proceedings for the development of mandatory standards are complicated and often time consuming.

In the interim, the Commission offers the following safety guidelines to assist consumers to reduce the risk of fire and shock hazards associated with home television sets. This advice applies to all television sets; however, consumers who own portable color TV's with plastic cabinets should use special caution because numerous incidents have involved this type of television receiver.

1. Follow all operating instructions and safety precautions that may have been furnished with your TV.

2. If the TV cabinet controls or set are damaged, if the picture fails, or if the performance of the TV deteriorates in any way, unplug the TV and have it checked by a reputable professional service technician.

3. When replacement parts are required, have the service technician verify that the replacements have the same safety characteristics as the original parts.

4. Upon completion of any service or repairs to the TV, ask the service technician to perform the safety checks described in the manufacturer's service literature.

5. It is normal for some TV sets to make occasional snapping or popping sounds, particularly when being turned on or off. However, if the snapping or popping becomes abnormally loud or is continuous or frequent while the TV is operating, unplug the TV and consult your dealer or service technician.

6. Caution children about dropping or pushing objects into the TV cabinet openings. Some internal parts carry hazardous voltages and contact can result in electrical shock.

7. Never operate the TV if liquid has been spilled into it. Unplug the TV and have it inspected by a service technician before further use. Spilled liquid inside can cause electrical shorts which can result in fire or shock hazards.

8. Never clean the face of the picture tube while the TV is on. Excess liquid may drain inside causing a fire or hazard to develop.

9. Never expose the set to rain or water. If the TV becomes damp or wet, pull the plug and have it inspected by a service technician before further use. Rain or excessive moisture -- even as a result of extended exposure on a back porch -- may cause electrical shorts which can result in fire or shock hazards.

10. TV sets are provided with ventilation openings in the cabinet to allow heat generated during the operation to be released. If these openings are blocked, heat build-up within the TV can cause failures which may result in a fire hazard.


-Never cover the openings with cloth or other material.

-Never block the bottom ventilation slots of a portable TV by placing it on a bed, sofa, rug, etc.

-Never place the set near or over a radiator or heat register.

-Never place a set in a "built-in" enclosure unless proper ventilation is provided.

11. Always turn the TV off if it is necessary to leave the room for more than a short period of time. Never leave a TV on when leaving the house.

12. When leaving the home for extended periods of time, such as weekend trips and longer, unplug the TV from the wall outlet and disconnect the external antenna lead-in wires at the TV set. A fire hazard could develop due to lightning storms and electrical powerline surges affecting TV components or the occurrence of TV component failures due to other reasons.

It is not recommended that the TV be routinely unplugged from the wall outlet after each viewing session. Such a practice can cause the stranded wires within the cord to break and pose a fire hazard. Also, someone could be seriously shocked if the plug is carelessly removed or inserted into the wall outlet.

13. Some TV's have an "instant-on" feature which means that the sound and picture are almost immediately available when the set is turned on. To provide this feature, the TV must have electric current passing through it at all times.

In some cases, this feature has been suspected of causing TV fires. If this feature is not desired, it is suggested:

-Review the manual supplied with the TV or check with a dealer to determine if the TV has an "instant-on" defeat switch (sometimes referred to as a "vacation switch"). If so, the "defeat switch" can be switched to the off position.

-If available, plug the TV into a wall outlet controlled (turned on and off) by a standard electrical wall switch generally used to turn lamps and lights on and off. However, caution should be taken to always turn the wall switch on before turning the TV on and to always turn the TV off before turning the wall switch off.

14. If your TV power cord has been subjected to numerous flexings such as from plugging into and unplugging from the wall outlet or from wrapping or folding the cord of a portable TV when carrying it from place to place, or it has become worn for any other reason, have the cord checked by a service technician for possible replacement.

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About the U.S. CPSC
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risk of injury or death associated with the use of thousands of types of consumer products. Deaths, injuries, and property damage from consumer product-related incidents cost the nation more than $1 trillion annually. CPSC's work to ensure the safety of consumer products has contributed to a decline in the rate of injuries associated with consumer products over the past 50 years. 

Federal law prohibits any person from selling products subject to a Commission ordered recall or a voluntary recall undertaken in consultation with the CPSC.

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