Discard unwanted appliances with care

      When it’s time to say good-bye to that old refrigerator or microwave, say good-bye for good.

      Too often, second-hand appliances find a second life in the kitchens or basements of bargain-hunters who don’t realize that discarded electrical devices can be a safety hazard and add unnecessary charges to the electric bill.

      Sometimes, those discarded TVs, water heaters, computers and countertop appliances wind up in back yards, ditches and alleys, where they can attract animals and children who could get trapped inside.

      So resist the temptation to pick up a few extra dollars by selling your outdated and broken devices at a flea market or garage sale. And if you’re shopping for an dorm refrigerator or space heater for the basement or a college-bound child, find a good price on a new one rather than buying it used from a neighbor or rummage sale.

      Instead of throwing appliances in the trash, look for local charities or trade schools that collect old ones and use them to teach repair skills to job-seekers. Or request a special trash pick-up from your local government, which will legally and safety dispose of the unwanted devices.

      If you’re replacing a large appliance with a newer, more energy-efficient version, have the delivery service haul away your old one.