August 30, 2014

Recall: GE Dishwashers Due to Fire Hazard

Name of Product: GE Profile™ and GE Monogram® Dishwashers

Units: About 174,000

Manufacturer: GE Appliances & Lighting, of Louisville, Ky.

Hazard: Water condensation can drip onto the electronic control board, causing a short circuit and resulting in an overheated connector. This poses a fire hazard to consumers.

Incidents/Injuries: GE has received five reports of fires, four of which caused minor damage to the kitchen countertops where the dishwashers were installed and one caused minor damage to adjacent cabinets and smoke damage to the home. No injuries have been reported.

Description: This recall involves the GE Profile dishwashers manufactured between July 2003 and December 2005 and GE Monogram dishwashers manufactured between January 2004 and December 2006. They were sold in white, black, bisque, stainless steel and with custom panels. The recalled model and serial numbers listed below are located on the inside on the front left side of the dishwasher tubs.


(Click to Enlarge)

Sold at: Retail stores nationwide, appliance dealers and authorized builder distributors from July 2003 through December 2006 for between $750 and $1,400.

Manufactured in: United States

Remedy: Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled dishwashers, disconnect the electric supply by shutting off the fuse or circuit breaker controlling it and inform all users of the dishwasher about the risk of fire. Contact GE for a free in-home repair or to receive a GE rebate of $200 for the purchase of a new GE Profile dishwasher and a GE rebate of $400 for purchase of a new GE Monogram dishwasher.

Consumer Contact: For additional information, contact GE toll-free at (877) 275-6840 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday or visit the company’s website at www.geappliances.com/recall

Recall: Frigidaire and Electrolux ICON Electric Smoothtop Cooktops and Slide-In Ranges Due to Fire Hazard

Name of Product: Frigidaire and Electrolux ICON Smoothtop Electric Cooktops and Frigidaire Slide-in Ranges with rotary knobs and digital displays

Units: About 122,000

Manufacturer: Electrolux Home Products Inc., of Charlotte, N.C.

Hazard: Liquids can pool under the control knob and cause the surface heating element to turn on unexpectedly, heat to temperatures other than expected and then not turn off, posing a risk of fire and burn hazards to consumers.

Incidents/Injuries: Electrolux has received 70 reports of incidents, including three reports of fires that resulted in property damage. Three minor burn injuries were reported.

Description: This recall involves Frigidaire and Electrolux ICON smoothtop electric cooktops and Frigidaire slide-in ranges with rotary knobs and digital displays. Model and serial numbers for the slide-in ranges can be found inside the oven door on the left side of the unit or on the underside surface on cooktop models. The following model and serial numbers are included in this recall:

Frigidaire Serial Number Range and Models

Serial Number Range: NF501XXXXX through NF952XXXXX
Model Numbers GLEC30S9EB
GLEC36S9EB
GLEC30S9EQ
GLEC36S9EQ
GLEC30S9ES GLEC36S9ES
GLES389EB
GLES389EQ
GLES389ES
GLES389FB GLES389FQ
GLES389FS
LEEC30S9FE
LEEC36S9FE
LES389FE PLEC30S9EC
PLEC36S9EC
PLES389EC
PLES399EC

Electrolux ICON Serial Number Range and Models

Serial Number Range: NF501XXXXX through NF045XXXXX
Model Numbers E30EC65ESS E36EC65ESS

Sold at: Mass merchandise and independent retail stores from January 2005 through August 2010 for between $500 and $2,500.

Manufactured in: Canada

Remedy: Consumers should immediately stop using and unplug the recalled ranges or power off cooktops at the circuit breaker. Contact Electrolux for information on how to obtain a free repair kit.

Consumer Contact: For additional information, contact Electrolux at (888) 281-5310 between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. ET Monday through Saturday or visit the firm’s website at www.smoothtoprangerecall.com (Frigidaire) or www.cooktoprecall.com (Electrolux).

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 them about it by visiting https://www.cpsc.gov/cgibin/incident.aspx

Appliance Lifespans

We’ve said it before, here, but we’ll say it again, below we list some approximate lifespans for household appliances.

Average appliance life span in years

Compactors: 6

Dishwashers: 10

Disposers, food waste: 9

Dryers, electric: 12

Dryers, gas: 12

Freezers: 11

Microwave ovens: 9

Ranges, electric: 16

Ranges, gas: 17

Range/oven hoods: 11

Refrigerators: 12

Washers: 11

Water heaters, electric: 13

Water heaters, gas: 11

Air-conditioners, room: 9

Air-conditioners, central: 11

Boilers, gas: 20

Dehumidifiers: 7

Furnaces, gas: 15

Furnaces, oil: 17

Heat pumps: 12

Courtesy of heraldnet.com

Paying for Your Next New Appliance

Household appliances are generally so reliable, having one break down takes us by surprise. The hassle of shopping for a new appliance is trouble enough without worrying about paying for it too. Plan ahead, because the dryer is not going to sound out announcements before it conks-out.

Repair or Replace?

The first decision to be made is if you really need a new appliance, or if repairs are in order. If the repair costs half the price of a new appliance, seriously consider buying new, says Mark Kotkin at Consumer Reports. According to the magazine’s research, any major household appliance more than eight years old should be considered for replacement rather than repair. The magazine also suggest you skip the repair and buy new if your appliance costs less than $150.

Budgeting

“I’ve seen a lot of people’s budgets over the years, and it seems like household maintenance is one category that people miss,” says Matt Bell of MattAboutMoney.com. People who know the age of their appliances and their expected life spans can budget better for replacements. Or they could maintain a more general emergency fund for when bad things happen. Either cash stash will help you avoid finance charges on a credit card you can’t pay off right away, said Bell.

Home Warranty

A home warranty is a service contract for an existing home that covers major operating systems, such as a furnace or a dishwasher. The homeowner buys a repair contract, often for $300 to $500 a year, and pays a service charge for each call. If many of your major appliances are near the ends of their useful lives, a home warranty might be worthwhile. But warranties are complicated, covering some types of breakdowns and not others. Pre-existing conditions and malfunctions that stem from poor maintenance or installation can be excluded. Some companies will cover all or part of an appliance’s replacement cost. Choose this option carefully.

Recall: Ryobi Cordless Drills Due to Fire Hazard

Name of Product: Ryobi Model HP 1802M Cordless Power Drills

Units: About 455,000

Importer: Ryobi Technologies Inc., of Anderson, S.C.

Hazard: The switch on the cordless drill can overheat, posing a fire and burn hazard to consumers.

Incidents/Injuries: Ryobi has received 47 reports of the drills overheating, smoking, melting or catching fire, including 12 reports of property damage to homes or vehicles. Two of the incidents involved minor burns from touching an overheated switch.

Description: The Ryobi Model HP 1802M cordless drill is powered by an 18 volt rechargeable NiCad battery. The drills are blue and black in color with “Ryobi” appearing in red and white on the left side. The model number can be found on a white label on the right side of the drill.

Sold at: Home Depot from January 2001 to July 2003 for about $100.

Manufactured in: China

Remedy: Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled drill, remove the rechargeable battery and contact Ryobi to receive a free replacement drill.

Consumer Contact: For additional information, contact Ryobi Customer Service at (800) 597-9624 between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. ET Monday through Friday or visit the firm’s website at www.ryobitools.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 them about it by visiting https://www.cpsc.gov/cgibin/incident.aspx

Best Stores for Buying Appliances

When you’re shopping for a new appliance, you want a store that will provide good prices, helpful staff and ease of service along with a good selection.

Unfortunately, two surveys from the Consumer Reports National Research Center show that no one retailer seems able to provide it all.

CR did find some cause for hope. Abt Electronics, in the Chicago area, and independent local stores garnered high praise from shoppers who bought a major appliance in the past year. For small appliances, independents also rated highly, along with Costco, though the standout was Amazon.com, as in past years.

CR’s rankings for shopper satisfaction came from more than 21,000 respondents to its 2009 Appliance Shopper Satisfaction Survey. It also commissioned a separate, nationally representative Home Gripes survey of 1,405 homeowners about their experiences shopping at home stores.

Only Abt Electronics scored better than average on price for major appliances. For small appliances, Amazon.com and Costco got readers’ highest marks for price for the second year in a row.

Here’s more from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Consumer Reports:

Besides price, the expertise and manner of a store’s sales staff were key reasons for choosing a major appliance retailer, according to the CR Shopper Satisfaction Survey. But respondents to the Home Gripes survey cited difficulty in finding a useful salesperson at all as one of their chief shopping annoyances. Salespeople who were arrogant or even nasty were especially bothersome for women.

Independent retailers, Abt Electronics and Pacific Sales in California received top marks for having salespeople knowledgeable in major appliances. The trio also stood out for service rendered; Best Buy scored below average for its staff. For staff expertise and service in small appliances, independent local retailers scored best. Among major retailers, only Lowe’s stood out; and for service, Sears scored above average.

Around a quarter of major- and small-appliance shoppers chose retailers based on their reputation for high-quality products. Retailers varied significantly on both counts. Poor selection was a complaint for less than 5 percent of respondents to CR’s Shopper Satisfaction survey. But almost a quarter of small-appliance shoppers at Sam’s Club complained that the store had too few brands or models available for selection. For major appliances, no store scored better than average for shopping ease.

For major-appliance product quality and selection, Abt Electronics and Pacific Sales scored best; for selection, Home Depot scored below average. For small-appliance purchasing, Amazon.com and independents stood out for quality and selection. Shopping for small appliances in stores was more varied, with independent retailers getting top marks for shopping ease, followed by Sears, Lowe’s and Best Buy, which all scored above average.

Stores that push extended warranties were among the top annoyances in CR’s Home Gripes survey. In the Shopper Satisfaction Survey, respondents who bought a major appliance were much more likely than those buying small appliances to be hit with an extended-warranty offer.

For small appliances, Amazon.com’s storage of shipping addresses and payment preferences might have contributed to its high score for checkout ease in the Shopper Satisfaction Survey. Independent retailers also received top marks, followed by Costco. For major appliances, no retailer scored worse than average. But Abt Electronics and independents fared best.

LG’s Smart Diagnosis

LG has taken the technology they used in the Kenmore Connect system for Sears. and applied the self-diagnosis technology for clothes washers and dryers to their own LG brand.

The SmartDiagnosis system was developed by LG to help customer service representatives quickly and efficiently troubleshoot mechanical issues over the phone, limiting service calls and in-home visits.

Consumers calling the LG customer service center are instructed to press select buttons on the laundry unit, which in turn trigger a series of diagnostic tones. Each tone corresponds with a specific potential maintenance need and can be identified by trained service technicians over the phone, allowing them to evaluate the information and provide feedback based on the data that was received. The system is designed to eliminate a step in the troubleshooting process, because issues may be identifiable without a service technician visit. When service visit is required, the technician can come prepared with the correct parts so that the repair can be resolved in one visit.

Recall: Black & Decker Cordless Electric Lawnmowers Due to Laceration Hazard

Name of Product: Black & Decker and Craftsman brand cordless electric lawnmowers

Units: About 160,000 (these lawnmowers were previously recalled in September 2002 for a fire hazard, and that recall was expanded in August 2006)

Manufacturer: Black & Decker (U.S.) Inc., of Towson, Md.

Hazard: The lawnmower’s motor and blade can unexpectedly turn on after the mower’s safety key is removed, posing a laceration hazard to consumers. Removing the safety key is designed to keep this from occurring.

Incidents/Injuries: Black & Decker has received 34 reports of the motor operating after removal of the safety key, including two incidents that resulted in finger lacerations, one requiring stitches.

Description: The recalled cordless electric mowers were sold under both the Black & Decker and Craftsman brand names. The recalled Black & Decker mowers have model number CMM1000 or CMM1000R. All date codes and types are included. The date code and type information are both located on a silver and black label affixed to the rear door of the mower. The Black & Decker mowers have either an orange or green deck with a black motor cover. The Craftsman-brand mowers have model number 900.370520 and include all date codes and types. The model number is located on the silver and black label affixed to the rear door of the mower. The Craftsman-brand mowers have a dark green deck with a black motor cover.

Sold at: Home center, hardware and discount stores and authorized Black & Decker dealers nationwide from September 1995 through December 2006 for about $450. Craftsman-brand mowers were sold at Sears and Orchard Supply Hardware stores nationwide from January 1998 through December 2000 for about $450.

Manufactured in: United States, Canada and Mexico

Remedy: Consumers should stop using the recalled lawnmowers immediately and call Black & Decker or Sears for a free inspection and repair, or a credit towards a new cordless lawnmower. Consumers who had their mowers repaired as a result of the previous recalls should also have their mowers inspected and repaired as part of this recall.

Consumer Contact: For additional information, consumers with Black & Decker mowers should contact Black & Decker toll-free at (866) 229-5570 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday or visit the firm’s website at www.blackanddecker.com. Consumers with Craftsman-brand mowers should call Sears toll-free at (888) 281-5314 between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. CT Monday through Saturday or visit the firm’s website at www.sears.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 them about it by visiting https://www.cpsc.gov/cgibin/incident.aspx