June 23, 2017

Archives for May 2010

Recall: Hoover Upright Vacuum Cleaners Due to Fire and Shock Hazards

Name of Product: Hoover® WindTunnel T-Series™ Bagless Upright Vacuum Cleaners with Cord Rewind Feature

Units: About 108,000

Importer: Hoover Inc., of Glenwillow, Ohio

Hazard: The power cord is not properly routed or securely seated in the cord rewind assembly allowing the power cord to be pulled loose. This poses fire and shock hazards.

Incidents/Injuries: Hoover has received three reports of minor burns to carpet and furniture and one report of a minor burn to a consumer’s hand.

Description: This recall involves Hoover® WindTunnel T-Series™ Bagless Upright vacuum cleaners with the cord rewind feature. This feature enables the cord to wind inside the vacuum for storage. The following model numbers and manufacturing codes are included in the recall.

Model Numbers Manufacturing code
ends with…
UH70110  UH70120
UH70200  UH70205
UH70210
H09A I09A
J09A K09A

Vacuums with the manufacturing code K09A followed by a green dot are not included in this recall. Vacuum cleaners with the cord rewind feature sold after November 2009 and with any other manufacturing code are not included in this recall. The model number and manufacturing code can be found on a label on the lower rear part of the vacuum cleaner.

Sold at: Mass merchandisers, department stores and independent vacuum retailers nationwide and online from August 2009 through May 2010 for between $100 and $160.

Manufactured in: Mexico

Remedy: Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled vacuum cleaners and contact Hoover for a free repair.

Consumer Contact: For additional information, contact Hoover toll-free at (888) 891-2054 between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, or visit the firm’s Web site at www.hoover.com/tseriesrewindrecall

CPSC is still interested in receiving incident or injury reports that are either directly related to this product recall or involve a different hazard with the same product. Please tell us about it by visiting https://www.cpsc.gov/cgibin/incident.aspx

The Microwave Oven- a Brief History

I remember my parents first microwave; my father insisted my mother needed this newfangled  appliance, and she was equally insistent that it would, and I quote, collect dust.  Fast forward 35 years or so, and she’s using her newest stainless steel model daily.

I was a kid when that first microwave appeared and never gave much thought to the technological progress it represented – how it came to be sitting there- ’til now, so…

Here’s a quick overview of the history of the microwave oven:
1945
Percy Spencer of Raytheon Co. discovers microwave heating after finding that microwave energy had melted a candy bar in his pocket.

1947

Raytheon produces its first microwave oven. It costs between $2,000 and $3,000, and is intended for commercial use.

1960’s

Companies are developing countertop microwaves, like this Litton model.

1970’s

Microwaves start to become widespread. Primary buyers are men, who purchase them as gifts for their wives. (My Dad probably thought he had thought of a unique gift.)

Early’80’s

Orville Redenbacher introduces its first room-temperature microwavable popcorn.
1987
Barbara Kafka’s “Microwave Gourmet,” a cookbook for those who want to do more than heat leftovers and make popcorn with their microwaves, hits shelves.
2009

Heinz introduces the Beanzawave. It is 7.4 inches tall and is said to be the world’s smallest microwave. 

Recall: General Electric Coffee Makers From Walmart Due to Fire Hazard

Name of Product: General Electric®-branded 12-cup digital coffee makers

Units: About 900,000

Importer: Walmart Stores Inc., of Bentonville, Ark.

Hazard: The coffee maker can overheat, posing fire and burn hazards to consumers.

Incidents/Injuries: Walmart has received 83 reports of overheating, smoking, melting, burning and fire, including three reports of minor burn injuries to consumer’s hands, feet and torso. Reports of property damage include a significant kitchen fire and damage to countertops, cabinets and a wall.

Description: This recall involves General Electric®-brand 12-cup coffee makers sold in white or black. The digital coffee maker has programmable functions and plastic housing. The GE logo is printed on the base of the coffee maker and the model number is printed on the bottom of the base. Model numbers included in the recall are:

169164 – Black

169165 – White

No other models are included in this recall.

Sold exclusively at: Walmart stores nationwide from March 2008 through January 2010 for about $30.

Manufactured in: China

Remedy: Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled coffee makers and return the product to any Walmart for a full refund.

Consumer Contact: For additional information, contact Walmart at (800) 925-6278 between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. CT Monday through Friday, or visit the firm’s website at www.walmart.com

CPSC is still interested in receiving incident or injury reports that are either directly related to this product recall or involve a different hazard with the same product. Please tell us about it by visiting https://www.cpsc.gov/cgibin/incident.aspx

EnergyStar Ratings – Can They be Trusted?

According to retailers, the Federal Appliance Rebate Program has increased appliance purchases nationwide.  The rebate is for energy efficient appliances which is great – only you might not be getting what that EnergyStar  label promises.

A recent report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) suggests that some Energy Star products aren’t all they’re cracked up to be.

Responding to a request for investigation from Sen. Susan Collins (R., Maine), the GAO submitted 20 fictitious products between June 2009 and March 2010 for certification by Energy Star, a joint program of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Energy (DOE). Fifteen of the fakes–including a phony “room-air cleaner” that was little more than a space heater with a feather duster taped to it–received an Energy Star label.

Parade Magazine reports that in response, federal officials announced plans to strengthen the program. From now on, each application will be reviewed individually by an EPA staff member (as opposed to the automated approval process previously in place). By the end of the year, companies that want Energy Star certification for their products will be required to submit lab results from an independent testing agency rather than conduct their own evaluations.

Meanwhile, consumer advocates say we can still have faith in our Energy Star appliances: Most Energy Star brands on the market are about 10% more energy-efficient than their counterparts.

Sen. Collins applauds the reforms, calling them long overdue. “Energy Star wasn’t just slipping a bit,” she says. “It was in danger of falling off the quality cliff–putting taxpayers at risk of getting ripped off. Now that the EPA and DOE are moving to put more stringent oversight in place, I believe consumers will be better served and the integrity of the program will be restored.”

Just How Much Energy is That Appliance Using?

My computer stays on through the week, only getting shut off on the weekend.  My answering machine and TV stay plugged in, their little red lights glowing in the night.  I do turn off the treadmill between uses and the DVD player too.

My energy habits are probably similar to many Americans.  If you’re wondering how much energy you’re wasting, or conversely, saving by turning appliances off, check out this energy calculator from GE:

This is a really cool tool that calculates  how much power each appliance consumes in watts or kilowatthours.  Alternatively, you can see how much each appliance costs to use in dollars, and how much it consumes in equivalent gallons of gas.

Some appliances are marked with a blue star indicating that an  EnergyStar model is available or click on the green star to see how much energy (and money) you’ll save with a new appliance.

Recall:Re-announcement of Coby Electronics Portable DVD/CD/MP3 Player – Low Return Rate and Additional Reports of Fires

Name of Product: Rechargeable Batteries sold with Portable DVD/CD/MP3 Players

Units: About 32,600; 13,000 previously recalled in October 2008 and 19,600 in October 2009

Importer: Coby Electronics Corp., of Lake Success, N.Y.

Hazard: The rechargeable batteries can overheat, posing a fire hazard to consumers.

Incidents/Injuries: Coby Electronics has received 32 reports of the battery overheating. Eighteen additional incidents of the battery overheating in the TF-DVD 1020 model, 17 of which resulted in property damage ranging from minor up to $9,650. No additional incidents have been reported for the TF-DVD 8501 model.

Description: The recall involves Coby DVD/CD/MP3 players with product numbers TF-DVD 1020 and TF-DVD 8501. “Coby” is printed on the front cover and the product number is on the bottom of the unit. The serial numbers on the recalled rechargeable batteries are printed on a label on the following batteries:

Product Number Serial Number Description
TF-DVD 1020 DG240043D503000001-1006 Swivel screen
DG240006D503000001-400
DG240039D603000001-3000
DG240111D603000001-2000
DG240143D602000001-3000
DG240106D602000001-2000
DG240106D702000001-2000
DG240183D942000001-100
DG240071DB02000001-1400
DG240115D702000001-2500
TF-DVD 8501 Begin with “HY” 8 ½ inch screen

Sold at: Discount, electronics, music, toy, office supply stores and distributors of electronic products nationwide. The TF-DVD 1020 units were sold from May 2007 through July 2008 for about $168.The TF-DVD 8501 units were sold from January 2007 through September 2009 for between $140 and $275.

Manufactured in: China

Remedy: Consumers should immediately stop using the players with the recalled batteries and contact the firm to arrange for a free replacement battery. After removing the recalled batteries from the unit, consumers can continue to use it with the AC or DC power adapter.

Consumer Contact: For additional information, contact Coby Electronics toll-free at (866) 945-2629 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday or visit the firm’s Web site at www.cobyusa.com