Gazing through the window, they saw their house was engulfed in smoke. They went to the back of the house and opened the door; they couldn’t see a foot in front of their face. They immediately called for help, and the fire department found that the dehumidifier was burning and nearly caught their home on fire. Had they not arrived home when they did, their home could have been a complete loss.
Their dehumidifier was made by Gree Electric Appliances. Consequently, this machine was “Made in China.” Recently, they have recalled more than 2.5 million dehumidifiers that have been sold under various names in both the U.S. and Canada.
They Heyden’s fire was one of about 120 fires that have been reported nationwide. These fires are all due to faulty parts inside the dehumidifier units that were in the homes. Though no one was hurt in this fire, others haven’t been so lucky. There have been several who have suffered from smoke inhalation, and some have lost their animals.
The Recalls Continue
What is going wrong with these seemingly simply units? You plug it in and it removes the water; there’s hardly a reason to panic, right? Wrong, I am shaken to hear that this is just another tragedy with the ongoing list of dehumidifier problems. In January of 2010, LG Electronics Tianjin Appliance Co recalled 98,000 portable dehumidifiers because of their potential to catch fire. This is not the first recall either. In 2013, there were more than 2 million dehumidifiers recalled by another company due to safety hazards.
Typically, most people don’t think of a dehumidifier as a fire risk, but they are. If you have one in your home, you probably have already checked the model and want to see if it one that has been recalled. The first thing you need to do is arm yourself with knowledge. You need to know if you have a unit that is at risk, and what part needs replaced or if you need to send it back.
What’s Going Wrong?
The whole purpose of these little machines is to keep humidity down inside the home, which prevents mold and other allergen issues. These units can be bought at most hardware stores between $150-$250 and they’re portable. The reason why some were recalled was because they are prone to overhearing. Others were recalled because of the potential for the water to leak into the main housing and short the unit out.
As the water is extracted from the air, it begins to fill a chamber that needs to be emptied on occasion. If the water is left to accumulate, it can spill over into the motor unit. Now if you’re like me, you probably don’t check your water container and empty it as often as you should. I have the best of intentions, but I always seem to forget. The water can fill up quite quickly, especially during a humid summer month.
Some units have just smoldered and filled the house with smoke, like in the case of the Heyden family. However, others haven’t been so lucky. There have been catastrophic fires that have destroyed homes and lives. You need to find out if your unit is in danger. Most of the units in question have been sold at major retailers like Walmart, Home Depot, Lowes, Kmart and Sears. A complete list of those units can be found at Dehumidifier Web or by calling them directly at 1-866-853-2802.
If you have a unit made by this parent company, get your money back and get a new one. Thankfully, the one I have isn’t associated with Gree and is hopefully safe. You can never be too safe when it comes to your home and those who dwell within.