The U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission urges caution when using portable heating devices, and has compiled a list of heaters that have been recalled for flaws or defects that pose a risk of fire. While these heaters should not show up new on retail store shelves, many could turn up in yard sales, thrift stores, and flea markets. Many more may still be in use in private homes throughout the country. Before you buy or use a portable heating device this winter, be sure to check this list to make the device doesn’t pose a safety flaw that could create a fire.
- Meijer Inc. of Grand Rapids, Michigan recalled about 13,000 Touch Point Oscillating Ceramic Heaters starting in November 2010 because the mechanism that makes the heater oscillate can short out, posing a fire threat. The company received two reports of fires and property damage that were caused by a short in the oscillating mechanisms. Units covered under the recall have the model number PTC-902, with the number 7-60236-58339 printed on a metal label / plate on the bottom of the heater. Some models have an additional digit in the UPC code, make it a 12-digit number. Additionally, the UPC code 7-13733-29222 is on the bottom of some of the packaging boxes. Consumers who believe they have one of the faulty heaters should 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.
- Wal-Mart Stores Inc. of Bentonville, Arkansas has imported 2.2 million Chinese-made heaters that may overheat to the point of starting a fire. The faulty heaters were sold under the brand names Flow Pro, Airtech, Aloha Breeze, and Comfort Essentials Heaters. The CPSC says that the retail giant has received 21 reports of malfunction incidents, including 11 reports of property damage. Four incidents resulted in injury, three of which required medical attention for burns and smoke inhalation. Other incidents included smoke irritation and sparking. The recall encompasses 1500-watt heaters. The model number is 1013 on a label on the lower left corner of the heater’s back panel. The heaters were sold exclusively at Wal-Mart for about $18. Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled heater and return the product to any Walmart store for a full refund. Consumers may also contact Wal-Mart toll-free 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.
- Lasko Products Inc. of West Chester, Penn. recalled about 107,500 “Air King” portable electric heaters because an electrical connection in the base of the unit can overheat, melt, and expose the electrical connection, posing a fire hazard to consumers. The company received 36 reports of overheating 18 reports of property damage. The brand names Lasko or Air King are on the top, center, of the front cover of the units, which include the Lasko Model 5540 and Air King Model 8540. Only heaters made in 2002 and stamped with a manufacture date code of “2” are included. These Chinese-made heaters were sold at Sam’s Club and other retailers from September 2002 through early 2004. The CPSC urges consumers to stop using the heaters immediately and contact Lasko to receive a free replacement heater. The company may be reached toll-free at (800) 363-8044 or by visiting www.Laskoproducts.com.
- Honeywell International Inc. of Morris Township, NJ, has recalled about 77,000 electric baseboard and fan heater thermostats for a flaw that can cause the thermostats to overheat, melt, and smoke, posing a burn hazard to the consumer. The company received 16 reports of thermostats melting on the units. Either the name “Honeywell” or “Cadet” is printed on the front of the thermostats, which were sold in various sizes. The model number and four-digit date code are printed on a label inside the front cover of the thermostat. Only models with date codes beginning in 00, 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, and 06 are included in the recall. The flawed models numbers from these years are Honeywell CT1950A1003; Honeywell CT1950B1002; Honeywell CT1957A1008; CADET T4700B1030; CADET T4700A1040; Honeywell T4700B1014; and Honeywell T4700A1016. Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled thermostats and contact Honeywell for a free replacement. The company can be reached toll-free at (888) 235-7363 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. CT. Monday through Friday or by visiting http://www.yourhome.honeywell.com/T4700
- Although not a portable heating device, it should be noted that GE Appliances and Lighting, of Louisville, Ky recalled about 90,600 Zoneline Air Conditioners and Heaters made in China by Sharp Corp., of Osaka, Japan for an electrical component in the heating system that can fail, posing a fire hazard. GE and Sharp have received four reports of incidents involving smoke and/or fire caused by the devices, resulting in property damage in two of the cases. The recall involves GE Packaged Terminal Air Conditioners (PTAC) and packaged terminal heat pumps manufactured between January 2010 and March 2011. The units are most often used in apartment buildings, hotel rooms, and commercial spaces. The GE logo is affixed to the control panel door, and the serial and model are printed on the rating plate. The front panel must be removed to see the model and serial information. Recalled model numbers begin with AZ41 or AZ61 and serial numbers begin with AT, DT, FT, GT, HT, LT, MT, RT, ST, TT, VT, ZT, AV, DV, and FV. The CPSC advises consumers to stop using the recalled units immediately contact General Electric to schedule a free repair. The company can be reached by calling toll-free at (866) 918-8771 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, or visiting the firm’s website at www.geappliances.com/products/recall