Home appliances, both major and minor, are the classic "out of sight, out of mind" product. We depend on them, but as long as they're working, we rarely give them a second thought. And that can be a big mistake.
First, older appliances (especially refrigerators and air conditioners) can put a huge stress on outdated electrical boxes and wiring, which can lead to fires. Make sure both the wiring and the electrical box have sufficient capacity. Likewise, clothing dryers can be a time bomb if the lint screens and vents aren't cleaned on a regular basis.
Furthermore, older large appliances -- refrigerators and freezers in particular -- can develop freon leaks. Even smaller appliances that have electrical currents running through them, such as toasters, can be dangerous if not used with care and common sense. (For example, always unplug a toaster before fishing out a lost piece of bagel or muffin with a fork). Other older small appliances, such as hand-held hairdryers, can also contain asbestos.
Are there dangers lurking in the backyard?