SHEBOYGAN -- If you have a dehumidifier in your home, you should immediately unplug it and stop using it as it may be part of a massive recall. 450 fires have been caused by dehumidifiers across the country and right here in southeastern Wisconsin.
The Sheboygan Fire Department responded to another house fire caused by a dehumidifier Thursday morning, December 22nd. The damage is extensive!
"Just unplug it right now. Don't think twice about it," said Lieutenant Robert Kocmoud.
Dehumidifiers are typically kept in the basement, and while winter isn't the typical time for use, some homeowners may not even know if theirs is on.
"I will say people probably have them, the dehumidifier running all the time. It's plugged in and it's running all the time -- and they forget about it," said Kocmoud.
That's what has happened at the Hengst house.
"Normally it doesn't kick in in the winter because the furnace runs and it keeps it dry in the basement," said Bruce Hengstr.
On Thursday, it did -- while Bruce was on a walk with his dog and his wife at home on the computer.
"All the sudden, the smoke detector went off and she looked down in the basement and seen a little glow quick and called 911," said Hengst.
The heat from the fire was so intense it melted the dehumidifier.
"It also took out the refrigerator that was standing next to it," said Hengst.
The whole house was damaged after the dehumidifier overheated.
There have been more than 2,000 reported incidents of the dehumidifiers overheating --causing 450 reported fires.
The Sheboygan Fire Department has responded to four in the last three months.
"In my 28 years, I can't think of a situation where one appliance in your house is failing as often as we're seeing," said Kocmoud.
Gree Electric Appliances announced a recall, urging you to unplug the device so it doesn't happen to you.
"This is a serious concern," said Kocmoud.
The recall was actually first announced in 2013, but has been updated and expanded as more fires occurred.
In a news release, they're single out one brand in particular:
About 3.4 million GD Midea dehumidifiers sold under just about every brand name you can think of are being recalled because they can overheat and catch fire. Midea has received 38 reports of smoke and fire. About $4.8 million in property damage has been reported, but there have been no injuries reported thus far.
The brand name, model number, pint capacity, and manufacture date are printed on the nameplate sticker on the back of the dehumidifier. To determine if your dehumidifier has been recalled, enter the model number at https://www.recallrtr.com/dehumidifier.
The humidifiers were sold at Lowes, Menards, PC Richard, and other stores nationwide from January 2003 through December 2013 for between $100 and $300.
This recall involves 25, 30, 40, 50, 60, 65, 70, and 75-pint dehumidifiers with the following brand names: Airworks, Alen, Arcticaire, Arctic King, Beaumark, Coolworks, ComfortAire, Comfort Star, Continental Electric, Crosley, Daewoo, Danby, Danby & Designer, Dayton, Degree, Diplomat, Edgestar, Excell, Fellini, Forest Air, Frigidaire, GE, Grunaire, Hanover, Honeywell, Homestyles, Hyundai, Ideal Air, Kenmore (Canada), Keystone, Kul, Midea, Nantucket, Ocean Breeze, Pelonis, Perfect Aire, Perfect Home, Polar Wind, Premiere, Professional Series, Royal Sovereign, Simplicity, Sunbeam, SPT, Sylvania, TGM, Touch Point, Trutemp, Uberhaus, Westpointe, Winix, and Winixl
Consumers who have a faulty model should immediately turn off and unplug the dehumidifiers and contact GD Midea for either a replacement unit or a partial refund. Consumers whose dehumidifiers were manufactured before October 1, 2008 will receive a partial refund, not a replacement. The manufacturing dates can be found on the back of units.
Consumer Contact: GD Midea at 800-600-3055 from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. CT, Monday through Friday or online at midea.com/us. Click on Product Recall for more information.
To check to see if your dehumidifier is part of the recall, CLICK HERE.