West Fargo Fire Corner: Recalls, dehumidifiers and safety
Dehumidifiers have caused hundreds of house fires that have resulted in millions of dollars in damages
Welcome to June, it has been a long time coming with warmer weather.
Summer is finally here; we hope everyone is enjoying the sunshine. During winter we focus on space heaters, fireplaces/furnaces and candles as fire hazards in the house. But now we are looking at an appliance in your home that you run during the summer without thinking that it may be a potential hazard. That appliance is a dehumidifier.
Most people have them in their residence to remove humidity created from the outside summer air for a more comfortable feel in their home.
Dehumidifiers have caused hundreds of house fires that have resulted in millions of dollars in damages, in fact, they played a role in last month’s first-ever criminal charges under a federal product-safety law. West Fargo Fire Department and Fargo Fire Department have both had fire calls that were caused by dehumidifiers that were on the recall list. So, yes, it can and does happen here.
But despite a national recall, thousands of dangerous, defective dehumidifiers remain in people’s homes, often running 24/7 in basements where overheating can go unnoticed.
With the warmer weather bringing rain and humidity, the Federal Consumer Product Safety Commission is urging consumers to check their make and model against several announced recalls for dehumidifiers made by Gree Electric Appliances, GD Midea Air Conditioning Equipment Ltd. and LG Electronics Tianjin Appliance Co.
The recalls cover about 6.8 million dehumidifiers that were sold as late as 2013 at major stores including Home Depot, Kmart, Lowe’s, Menards, Sam’s Club, Sears, Ace Hardware, Walmart and Amazon.com.
The defective dehumidifiers have been linked to approximately 500 fires that caused a total of more than $25 million in damage, according to the Federal Consumer Agency. The bulk of those units that caused the fires were Gree dehumidifiers.
The recalls were announced and reissued over the past few years, but the fires keep occurring.
It is not known how many units are still in people’s homes but, consumer response to recalls generally averages about 6 percent. That means allot of defective dehumidifiers are still in operation within our homes.
To check your dehumidifier, search on CPSC.gov website for “dehumidifier” to bring up information on the recalls. Gree also has its own recalls site, as does Midea.
We have had several fires in West Fargo related to dehumidifiers, with most of the units being on a recall list.
If you have a dehumidifier in your home, please take the time to look at this website; Consumer Product Safety Commission (cpsc.gov) to see if your unit has been recalled. If you are unable to do so; please contact the West Fargo Fire Department (433-5380) and we will come out and locate your model number and see if it has been recalled.
Your safety is our number one priority.
Have a fire safe summer.