Many homeowners and renters use dehumidifiers to remove excess moisture from the air. Especially in warmer months and climates, dehumidifiers are particularly useful in basements where condensation tends to collect, especially near an air conditioning unit. Many homeowners set up their dehumidifier and simply let it do its job, often forgetting it is even there.
According to an August 4 notice from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), about two million dehumidifiers manufactured by New Widetech are being recalled across the United States due to overheating and fire risks. The recall includes approximately 400,000 more dehumidifiers in Canada and Mexico.
New Widetech (NWT) reports, in conjunction with the CPSC, Health Canada, and Profeco, the affected dehumidifiers can overheat and catch fire, causing property damage and burn injuries. The CPSC reports the recall involves 25-, 30-, 35-, 45-, 50-, 60-, 65-, 70-, and 74-pint dehumidifiers, manufactured before September 1, 2017, with the brand names including: AeonAir, Amana, ArcticAire (Danby), Classic (Danby / Home Hardware Stores), Commercial Cool, Danby, Danby Designer, Danby Premiere, De’Longhi, Edgestar, Friedrich, Generations (Danby), Haier, Honeywell (JMATEK / AirTek), Idylis, Ivation, perfect aire, SuperClima, Whirlpool, and Whynter.
A complete list of names and models, which is quite lengthy, can be found within the CPSC announcement, and consumers can locate the brand name and model name of their humidifier on nameplate on the back of their machine.
Why are these humidifiers being recalled?
New Widetech was notified of 107 incidents of the dehumidifiers overheating and catching fire. Although no injuries were reported, approximately $17 million in property damage occurred from the resulting fires. Consumer Reports points out to dehumidifier users:
With the high heat and humidity, summer is prime season for dehumidifiers, and many homeowners keep them running around the clock. And if you have a particularly damp basement or crawl space, you may be running yours year-round. Whatever the situation, it’s important to check your model number to see whether it’s on the recall list in the CPSC notice, which is quite extensive.
If you have one of these in your home, unplug it, stop using it immediately and contact New Widetech toll-free at 877-251-1512 from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, or online and click on “Recall Information” at the bottom of the page for more information. Consumers will receive a refund, prorated based on the age of their specific dehumidifier.
This is not the first dehumidifier recall
The New Widetech recall echoes another CPSC dehumidifier recall encompassing 2013 to 2016, involving about 2.5 million products from manufacturer Gree. Again, this recall was prompted by incidents of dehumidifiers overheating and catching fire. Gree received over 2,000 reports of overheating, 450 fires, and over $19 million in property damage.
In March of 2016, Gree agreed to pay a $15.45 million penalty to the government to settle charges that the company knowingly failed to report a defect and risk of injury, knowingly made misleading statements to CPSC personnel, and sold dehumidifiers with UL safety certification knowing they did not meet UL standards.
Potential injuries and damages from defective dehumidifiers
Defective and dangerous consumer products can cause serious injuries to unsuspecting consumers when manufacturers knowingly allow these products on the market. Although as of this writing, the CPSC reports no injuries from the New Widetech recall, any time an appliance is at risk of overheating, a consumer is also at the risk of burn injury.
Because many dehumidifiers operate in a basement or other rarely-used room, a consumer may not immediately notice a malfunction, which could cause a fire to spread out of control quickly. When one small consumer purchase results in the loss of your entire home, an experienced product liability attorney must step in and defend your rights.
Your product liability lawyer holds corporations and manufacturers responsible when they allow dangerous and defective products on the market. When one of these products causes you injury, you are likely eligible for compensation. Typically with product liability cases, anyone in the product supply chain can be liable for your injuries. In the case of these defective dehumidifiers, however, all eyes are on New Widetech.
Manufacturers are responsible for creating and making a product; hence, the manufacturer can be held liable if the product was dangerous or defective when it left their site. Manufacturers are also usually held responsible for design defects, which is a potential cause of the dehumidifiers overheating. Retailers can also be held responsible if they knowingly continue to sell a product after a recall or notice of safety hazards.
How a Richmond product liability attorney can help
If you suffered injuries or property damage from a defective or overheating dehumidifier, an attorney can help you secure compensation for your losses, including:
- Fire or smoke damage to your home or business
- Loss of personal belongings and property
- Property damage
- Burn injuries and smoke inhalation
- Any raise in your insurance premiums
- Punitive damages, when a manufacturer’s behavior is particularly negligent or malicious
At Phelan Petty, our Richmond-based product liability lawyers understand how to hold the right parties responsible – especially when companies put profits over people. If you or a loved one suffered injuries and losses from a defective product, we can help. Get in touch with us today to find out how. Please call 804-980-7100, or fill out our contact form. Proudly serving all of Virginia.
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Michael Phelan is a Virginia trial attorney who practices with a special focus on traumatic brain injury (TBI) cases, pharmaceutical and medical device claims, product liability cases, and truck accidents. Michael’s peers have consistently recognized him for his excellence as a trial lawyer, and his clients have praised him for his commitment to deep research, his outstanding communication skills, and his sincerity and dedication.