September 23, 2014

Recall: Goldstar and Comfort-Aire Dehumidifiers by LG Electronics

LG Electronics Tianjin Appliance Co., in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), is urging consumers to check if they have recalled Goldstar or Comfort-Aire dehumidifiers. The firm is re-announcing the recall of about 98,000 of the dangerous dehumidifiers that pose a serious fire and burn hazard, and are believed to be responsible for more than one million dollars in property damage.

The power connector for the dehumidifier’s compressor can short circuit, posing fire and burn hazards to consumers and their property.

The dehumidifiers were first recalled in December 2009 following eleven incidents, including four significant fires. Since that time, the company has received sixteen additional incident reports of arcing, smoke and fire associated with the dehumidifiers, including nine significant fires. No injuries have been reported. Fires are reported to have caused more than $1 million in property damage including:

$500,000 in damage to a home in Gibsonia, Pa.
$200,000 in damage to a home in New Brighton, Minn.
$183,000 in damage to a home in Hudson, Mass.
$192,000 in damage to a home in Valparaiso, Ind.
$139,000 in damage to a home in Salem, Ohio
$129,000 in damage to a home in Brielle, N.J.
$ 95,000 in damage to a home in Philadelphia, Pa.

Because of the severity of the risks, CPSC and LG Electronics are concerned with the lack of consumer response to the recall. Only two percent of the 98,000 consumers who purchased these units have received a free repair, which means that consumers and their property remain at serious risk.

Anyone who has the recalled dehumidifiers is strongly encouraged to immediately stop using them, unplug them, and contact LG Electronics for the free repair.

The recall involves the 30 pint portable dehumidifiers sold under the Goldstar and Comfort-Aire brands. The dehumidifiers are white with a red shut-off button, controls for fan speed and humidity control, and a front-loading water bucket. “Goldstar” or “Comfort-Aire” is printed on the front. Model and serial number ranges included in this recall are listed in the table below. The model and serial numbers are located on the interior of the dehumidifier, and can be seen when the water bucket is removed.

Brand Model No. Serial Number Range Sold at
Goldstar GHD30Y7 611TAxx00001 through 08400
611TAxx08401 through 40600
612TAxx00001 through 20400
612TAxx21001 through 30600 Home Depot

Brand Model No. Serial Number Range Sold at
Goldstar DH305Y7 612TAxx00001 through 00600
701TAxx00001 through 16800
702TAxx00001 through 03000 Walmart

Brand Model No. Serial Number Range Sold at
Comfort-Aire BHD-301-C 611TA000001 through 001697
612TA000001 through 004200
701TA000001 through 000578
710TA000001 through 000599 Various retailers, including Ace
Hardware, Do It Best and Orgill Inc.

The recalled dehumidifiers were sold at The Home Depot, Walmart, Ace Hardware, Do It Best, Orgill Inc., and other retailers nationwide from January 2007 through June 2008 for between $140 and $150. They were manufactured in China.

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How an Evaporative Cooler Works

If you have ever enjoyed a breeze on a too hot day as it cools your skin, you felt as Ben Franklin did back in 1750, when he changed out of damp clothes and into dry ones on a 100+ day. He noted that he was cooler in the damp clothes and realized that the warm breeze in the room was not cooling him, but rather, his sweaty clothes. Not an attractive thought, but one that led him to experiment by wetting the bulb of a thermometer with spirits that evaporated quicker than water, and then blowing air across it. He managed to bring the temperature down so far that ice froze on the bulb.

An evaporative cooler, also known as a swamp cooler works on this principle. It is essentially a large fan with water-moistened pads in front of it. The fan draws warm outside air through the pads and blows the now-cooled air throughout the house. The pads can be made of wood shavings – wood from aspen trees is a traditional choice – or other materials that absorb and hold moisture while resisting mildew.

Small distribution lines supply water to the top of the pads. Water soaks the pads and, thanks to gravity, trickles through them to collect in a sump at the bottom of the cooler. A small recirculating water pump sends the collected water back to the top of the pads.

Since water is continually lost through evaporation, a float valve – much like the one that controls the water in a toilet tank – adds water to the sump when the level gets low. Under normal conditions, a swamp cooler can use between 3 to 15 gallons of water a day.

A large fan draws air through the pads, where evaporation drops the temperature approximately 20 degrees. The fan then blows this cooled air into the house.

Here’s a little lesson to help determine if a swamp cooler will cool your house enough:

Wet and Dry Bulb Temperature

To predict how much a swamp cooler will cool the air, you need to know the wet and dry bulb temperature. The dry bulb is easy — it’s just the regular temperature of the air. The wet bulb temperature tells you what the air temperature would be at 100 percent humidity, and it’s measured with a thermometer covered with a wet cloth sock and exposed to airflow.

The wet bulb temperature is always lower than the dry bulb temperature, and the difference between the two is the wet bulb depression. Depending how efficient your swamp cooler is, it can bring the temperature down as much as 95 percent of the wet bulb depression. Imagine you and your evaporative cooler are in Las Vegas, and it’s 108 degrees outside with a wet bulb temperature of 66 degrees. A swamp cooler operating at 85 percent efficiency can bring the temperature down to a nice, cool 72.3 degrees, right in the human comfort zone.

Unfortunately, evaporative air coolers don’t work everywhere. Swamps, for instance, are lousy places for swamp coolers. It’s not entirely clear where they got the nickname, but it probably refers to the humidity they add to the air or the swampy smell that can develop when they aren’t cleaned often enough. In order to work, they need a hot, dry climate. In the U.S., swamp coolers work well in the arid southwest.

Portable Air Conditioners and Evaporative Coolers

Now that August is here and we have all had a chance to experience the heat of summer, I have a question – have any readers used a portable air conditioner? Not the fixed models that mount in the window, but the free-standing style that sit in the middle of a room with a tube that allows it to vent outdoors. How about a Swamp, or Evaporative cooler?

The efficacy of the air conditioners seems doubtful to me. Do they have the power to cool a room when at the same time they are producing so much energy (that’s heat!) to run the motor?

Many years ago, my in-laws had what we called a swamp cooler. It was also free-standing and worked by blowing air over water soaked pads. The air that came into the room was cooled as it passed through the pads. It did a great job of cooling one room in hot Southern California where, although the room did seem damp, it was pleasant.

These appliances are the same size and relative cost to buy, but the cooler uses up to 75% less energy to run.

Recall: Honeywell Electric Baseboard and Fan Heater Thermostats Due to Burn Hazard

Name of Product: Electric Baseboard and Fan Heater Thermostats

Units: About 77,000

Importer: Honeywell International Inc., of Morris Township, N.J.

Hazard: The thermostats can overheat, causing them to melt and smoke. This poses a burn hazard to the consumer.

Incidents/Injuries: Honeywell has received 16 reports of thermostats melting. There have been no reports of injuries.

Description: The recalled thermostats are rectangular, white, programmable thermostats used to control electric baseboard and fan heaters. “Honeywell” or “Cadet” is printed on the front of the thermostats that come in various sizes. The model number and four-digit date code are printed on a label inside the front cover of the thermostat. The model numbers listed below are included in this recall. Only models with date codes beginning with 00, 01, 02, 03, 04, 05 or 06 are included.

Brand Name/ Model Number
Honeywell/ CT1950A1003
Honeywell/ CT1950B1002
Honeywell/ CT1957A1008
CADET/ T4700B1030
CADET/ T4700A1040
Honeywell/ T4700B1014
Honeywell/ T4700A1016

Sold at: Home improvement stores, HVAC and electrical stores, and contractors from January 2000 to December 2007 for between $80 and $300.

Manufactured in: Singapore

Remedy: Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled thermostats by setting the thermostats to 45 degrees or turning them off. Only models with a “B” in the model number have an off switch. Consumers should contact Honeywell for a free replacement installed by Honeywell.

Consumer Contact: For additional information, contact Honeywell toll-free at (888) 235-7363 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. CT. Monday through Friday or visit the firm’s website at http://www.yourhome.honeywell.com/T4700

Recall – Again: Additional Retail Sales Prompt CPSC and Meijer to Reannounce Touch Point Heater Recall; Fire Hazard Posed

Name of Product: Touch Point Oscillating Ceramic Heaters

Units: About 13,000 units (6,700 originally recalled in November 2010)

Importer: Meijer Inc., of Grand Rapids, Mich.

Hazard: The oscillating mechanism in the heaters can short out, posing a fire hazard to consumers.

Incidents/Injuries: Meijer has received two reports of incidents involving fires that resulted in property damage. No injuries have been reported.

Description: This announcement involves previously recalled Touch Point oscillating ceramic heaters with model number PTC-902. The grey/silver color heaters are about 10-inches tall, have a black screen across the front and controls on the top. The model number and UPC code 7-60236-58339 are printed on a metal label/plate on the bottom of the heater. Some models have an additional digit in the UPC code, making it a 12-digit code. In addition, some heaters will have a UPC code 7-13733-29222 sticker on the bottom of the packaging box.

Sold at: Meijer stores in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan and Ohio from October 2009 through April 2011 for about $25. Discount retailers, dollar stores, flea markets and retail liquidators nationwide sold the heaters from November 2010 through April 2011 for various prices. The heaters were sold after the original recall was announced in November 2010.

Manufactured in: China

Remedy: Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled heaters and return them to the nearest Meijer retail store for a full refund of the purchase price. Consumers who purchased heaters from other retailers should contact Meijer to arrange a refund.

Consumer Contact: For additional information, contact Meijer at (800) 927-8699 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday or visit the firm’s website at www.meijer.com

Recall: General Electric, Sharp GE Air Conditioning and Heating Units Due to Fire Hazard

Name of Product: GE Zoneline Air Conditioners and Heaters

Units: About 90,600

Distributor: GE Appliances and Lighting, of Louisville, Ky.

Manufacturer: Sharp Corp., of Osaka, Japan

Hazard: An electrical component in the heating system can fail, posing a fire hazard to consumers.

Incidents/Injuries: General Electric and Sharp have received four reports of incidents involving smoke and/or fire with the air conditioning and heating units. In two of the reported incidents, fire extended beyond the air conditioning and heating unit, resulting in property damage. No injuries have been reported.

Description: This recall involves GE Packaged Terminal Air Conditioners (PTAC) and packaged terminal heat pumps manufactured between January 2010 and March 2011, and are most often used in apartment buildings and commercial space. The GE logo is affixed to the control panel door. Serial and model are printed on the rating plate. Consumers will need to remove the front panel to locate the model and serial information. The following models and serials are included in this recall:

Brand: GE
Model Number (Begins with): AZ41, AZ61
Serial Number (Begins with): AT, DT, FT, GT, HT, LT, MT, RT, ST, TT, VT, ZT,AV, DV and FV

Sold by: General Electric authorized representatives and HVAC distributors nationwide from March 2010 through March 2011 for between $1,000 and $1,200.

Manufactured in: China

Remedy: Consumers should immediately stop using the air conditioning and heating units in the heat mode and contact General Electric to schedule a free repair.

Consumer Contact: For additional information, contact General Electric toll-free at (866) 918-8771 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, or visit the firm’s website at www.geappliances.com/products/recall

Recall: Lasko Box Fans Due To Fire Hazard

Name of Product: Box fans

Units: About 4.8 million units

Manufacturer: Lasko Products Inc., of West Chester, Pa.

Hazard: An electrical failure in the fan’s motor poses a fire hazard to consumers.

Incidents/Injuries: Lasko has received seven reports of fires associated with motor failures, including two house fires and one barn fire, resulting in extensive property damage. No injuries have been reported.

Description: This recall involves Lasko box fans with model numbers 3720, 3723, and 3733 and Galaxy box fans with model number 4733 that have date “2002-03″ or “2003-04″ stamped on the bottom of the metal frame. “Lasko” or “Galaxy” is printed on the front of the fan. The model number is either stamped or printed on the bottom of the fans.

Sold at: Mass merchandisers nationwide from July 2002 through December 2005 for between $12 and $25.

Manufactured in: United States

Remedy: Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled fans and contact Lasko to receive a free fused plug safety adapter.

Consumer Contact: For additional information, contact Lasko toll free at (877) 445-1314 anytime or visit the firm’s website at www.laskoproducts.com

Recall: Atico International USA Heaters Due to Fire Hazard

Name of Product: TrueLiving Heater Fans and Portable Quartz Radiant Heaters

Units: About 92,000

Sourcing Agent: Atico International USA, Inc. of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Importer/Retailer: Dollar General Stores, of Goodlettsville, Tenn.

Hazard: These heaters have caught fire, posing a fire hazard to consumers.

Incidents/Injuries: Atico has received eight reports of the A14B1053 Heater Fan overheating and 21 reports of the A14B0979 Quartz Heater overheating. Reports for the A14B1053 Heater Fan included one report of damage to an electrical outlet and wall and one report of flames coming out of the front of the unit. Reports for the A14B0979 Quartz Heater included damage to the heater’s plug, one report of flames coming from a control knob and one report of a consumer receiving minor burns to the hand. For both products, reports included incidents of smoke and melting of the plastic casing.

Description: Both heaters can be identified by the following model and item numbers and universal product codes (UPC):
Model# Item# UPC
Heater Fans NSB-200B A14B1053 40022749831
Model# Item# UPC
Portable Quartz Radiant Heaters HD-700 A14B0979 400022750066

Model numbers are found on a silver colored sticker on the bottom of the unit. Additionally, both heaters are marked with manufacturing dates between 6/1/2010 and 8/30/2010. The date code appears as “DATE CODE: 0610”

Sold exclusively at: Dollar General Stores from September 2010 to December 2010. The heater fans sold for about $15 and the quartz radiant heater sold for about $42.

Manufactured in: China

Remedy: Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled heaters and return them to any Dollar General Store for a full refund.

Consumer Contact: For additional information, contact Atico International USA toll-free at (866) 448-7856 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday, or visit the firm’s website at www.aticousa.com