Recall issued for dehumidifiers that cause home fires

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), in cooperation with LG Electronics Tianjin Appliance Co., is re-issuing a recall on dehumidifiers that have already caused more than $1 million in property damage. The recall involves 30-pint portable dehumidifiers sold under the Goldstar and Comfort-Aire brands. 

The dehumidifiers were sold through Home Depot, Walmart, Ace Hardware, Do it Best, Orgill, and other outlets and distributors nationwide from January 2007 through June 2008 for between $140 and $150.  They were manufactured in China.

The power connector for the dehumidifier's compressor can short circuit, posing fire and burn hazards to consumers and their property. The dehumidifiers were first recalled in December 2009 following 11 incidents, including four significant fires. 

Since that time, the company has received sixteen additional incident reports of electrical arcing, smoke and fire associated with the dehumidifiers, including nine significant fires. No injuries have been reported. Fires are reported to have cause property damage that includes: $500,000 in damage to a home in Gibsonia, Pa.; $200,000 in damage to a home in New Brighton, Minn.; $183,000 in damage to a home in Hudson, Mass.; $192,000 in damage to a home in Valparaiso, Ind.; $139,000 in damage to a home in Salem, Ohio; $129,000 in damage to a home in Brielle, N.J.; and $ 95,000 in damage to a home in Philadelphia, Pa. 

Because of the severity of the risks, CPSC and LG Electronics are concerned with the lack of consumer response to the initial recall. Only 2% of the 98,000 consumers who purchased these units have received a free repair, which means that consumers and their property remain at risk.