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Appliance Use

Prohibited Appliances

The University recognizes that certain appliances add to the quality of our residents' daily living. However, a number of appliances are hazardous and therefore prohibited in residence hall rooms and on-campus apartments. The following classes of items have been evaluated and have been prohibited.

  • Appliances containing exposed heating elements
  • Space heaters
  • Immersion coils for cups and mugs
  • Hot plates
  • Electric frying pans
  • Toasters (only exceptions are Christiana and Conover)
  • Toaster ovens (only exceptions are Christiana and Conover)
  • Griddles
  • Dishwashers (except those installed by the university)
  • Indoor/outdoor grills of any kind including electric, gas or coal.
  • Microwaves that exceed 700 watts.
  • Large refrigerators (capacity greater than 4.5 cubic feet) and more than one refrigerator are not permitted (See Refrigerators and Microwaves below)
  • Halogen lamps
  • Extension cords
  • Personal / Window air conditioning or dehumidifier units

Requirements and Precautions

Electrical appliances must be in good operating condition and should feature the approval label of Underwriters' Laboratories. For safety, follow these guidelines:

  • Cooking is prohibited except in apartments and residence hall kitchens (except in microwaves)
  • Use caution whenever using electrical appliances
  • Limit the number of appliances used at any one time to avoid overloading circuits
  • Use a surge protector for sensitive electronic equipment to protect against damage resulting from voltage fluctuations
  • Unplug all heat-producing devices from the wall outlet when not in use

Refrigerator Policy

No more than one refrigerator with a maximum capacity of 4.5 cubic feet (using 120 volts or less and no more than 2.4 amps of power) is permitted in each residence hall room.  Energy Star units are not required, but we ask that if you are bringing your own refrigerator to consider using one that is energy efficient to assist in the University of Delaware’s commitment to reducing its carbon footprint.

Microwave Policy

One microwave using a maximum of 700 watts is approved for use in each residence hall room.  Students living in Dickinson, Rodney, and Harrington Complexes are asked to either purchase or rent a microwave/refrigerator combination unit or not bring a microwave.  These buildings were not designed for the electrical loads imposed by microwaves.  Power failures can occur if separate microwave and refrigerator units are used simultaneously.

Additionally, students can use community kitchens where microwave ovens are also available.

Guidelines for Microwave/Refrigerator Use and Maintenance

Appliances must carry the approval label of Underwriters' Laboratories and be connected directly into a wall socket or power strip with an internal circuit breaker.  Appliances with the Energy Star logo use less power when in the appliance is in operation.  Energy Star appliances are not required, but you are encouraged to consider using these products to assist in the University of Delaware’s goals through the Climate Action Plan.

Refrigerators, microwaves or combination microwave/refrigerator units should be positioned to allow ventilation and should never be placed in closets. Wiring cannot be covered and refrigerators should be kept free of excessive frost, mold and mildew. Food should be kept in an airtight container.

A charge will be assessed if there is damage to the residence hall room or furnishings as a result of microwave or refrigerator use.

Power Strips

Possession of extension cords is considered a fire safety hazard and is prohibited. When you need more outlets than you have, power strips with multi-plugs may be used. They must contain an internal circuit breaker and have the approval label of Underwriters' Laboratories. Power strips that have cracked or exposed wires, burn marks, loose connections or other damage present a safety hazard and may not be used. If your power strip doesn't meet these requirements, it could be hazardous, you will be instructed to remove it and you will be charged with a Residence Hall Regulation Violation.

Please follow these guidelines for using power strips:

  • -Unplug power strips when leaving the room for five or more days
  • -Do not connect power strips together
  • -Do not use power strips in bathrooms
  • -Do not staple, tack or tape power strips to the floor, walls, or ceiling
  • -Do not cover power strips or cord with carpet, furniture, clothing or other objects that could prevent air circulation

Air Conditioners

Students MUST NOT install room air conditioning units. Some residence halls and apartments are air-conditioned with either seasonal or year-around air conditioning. Facilities staff determines when the air conditioning in a building is turned on and off.

Students who have documented needs for air conditioners will be given priority to be assigned to air-conditioned residence halls or apartments. (Also see Air Filtration/Purification Units for alternative options)

The University recognizes that some students have a medical need for air conditioning. To ensure that students are treated equitably in assignments for air conditioning, there is a medical needs form that MUST be filled out by a physician and sent to the Office of Disability Support Services. Students who have an absolute medical need for air conditioning will have more priority than students whose medical condition only recommends it (i.e. allergies). The Office of Disability Support Services determines the appropriate assignments in conjunction with Residence Life & Housing based on the medical documentation.

In cases where students are required to live in residence halls that are not air conditioned, (FYE or Freshman Honors), and the medical need is absolute, then a window unit may be installed by the University Facilities staff. Window units MUST NOT be operated when the building is being heated.

Air Filtration/Purification Units

Air conditioners do not filter or purify air. Students may purchase an air filtration/purification unit if desired. It is recommended to keep doors and windows closed to provide the maximum benefit. Medical documentation is not required to operate an air filtration/purification unit.