A Number of House Fires Have Been Linked to Faulty Dehumidifiers – The Fire Hazard You Should Know About
Dehumidifiers are extremely helpful when excess moisture can cause problems and water damage to homes. Often, dehumidifiers are used in the basement, especially in warmer months when the air conditioner is running consistently from day to day. While some homes may not have problems with condensation, many homes certainly do. When the air conditioner is running for an extended period of time, condensation can develop in the basement, necessitating the use of a dehumidifier. However, dehumidifiers pose their own risk if left unattended. Many people will leave a dehumidifier on and think nothing of it as it may be hidden in the corner of the basement.
When dehumidifiers malfunction, they create a substantial fire hazard which can wreak havoc, causing property damage to a person’s home and potentially causing serious personal injuries or even death. Therefore, it is crucial that all homeowners who use dehumidifiers are aware that many dehumidifiers, especially older models, pose a dangerous fire hazard. Many dehumidifiers that pose a fire risk are already subject to massive recalls throughout the United States and Canada.
Multiple Homes Suffer Fire Damage in Milwaukee Area Towns
The Milwaukee area has seen multiple house fires related to recalled dehumidifiers. Local fire departments have indicated that older dehumidifiers pose a severe safety risk to homeowners and that many of the dehumidifiers involved in the fires are likely subject to a large recall. In many cases, homeowners do not know that their dehumidifiers have been recalled. With many of the Milwaukee area house fires, the dehumidifiers were burned beyond recognition to the point where fire departments were not able to identify the manufacturers of the dehumidifiers.
Because of the slew of house fires caused by faulty dehumidifiers, fire departments are recommending that homeowners immediately check their dehumidifiers to see if they are currently subject to a recall. If their dehumidifiers are not subject to a recall, fire departments recommend that homeowners ensure there is sufficient space around the dehumidifiers and that they are not located near any flammable material.
How to Find Out if Your Dehumidifier is Subject to a Safety Recall
The best way to find out if your dehumidifier is subject to a safety recall is to go to the Consumer Product Safety Commission website. The information provided on this website identifies the specific model of the dehumidifier that is subject to the recall, the relevant sale dates for the recalled dehumidifier, and what steps to take if your dehumidifier is one that is subject to a recall.
As of this year, there are a total of fourteen (14) dehumidifier recalls listed on the Consumer Product Safety Commission website. All recalls pertain to fire hazards. A few of the most recent recalls include the following:
- Midea Dehumidifiers Manufactured Before October 1, 2008 – More than 3.4 million units subject to this recall were sold in the United States, and approximately 850,000 units subject to this recall were sold in Canada. So far, $4.8 million in property damage has been reportedly linked to fires caused by these Midea dehumidifiers.
- GE Brand Dehumidifiers by Midea Sold Exclusively at Walmart – Approximately 15,500 units subject to this recall were sold in the United States exclusively at Walmart.
- Gree USA, Inc. Recall that Includes Thirteen (13) Brands of Dehumidifiers, including GE – Approximately 2.5 million units subject to this recall were sold in the United States, and approximately 55,000 units subject to this recall were sold in Canada. So far, more than $2 million in property damage has been reportedly linked to fires caused by these dehumidifiers.
- Kenmore Dehumidifiers Sold by Sears Between 2003 and 2009 – Approximately 795,000 units subject to this recall were sold in the United States.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission also provides information on what steps consumers should take to either get a new dehumidifier from the manufacturer or seller or obtain a partial or full refund for the cost of the dehumidifier.
The Consequences of House Fires Associated with Faulty Dehumidifiers
The aftermath of house fires caused by defective and unsafe dehumidifiers can be catastrophic and never-ending. Consequences of such house fires include, but are certainly not limited to, the following:
- Destruction of an entire home;
- Destruction of personal property within the home;
- Injuries such as burns that may lead to permanent scarring;
- The loss of animals inside the home;
- Lost income from the inability to work;
- The emotional trauma associated with seeing a home go up in flames; and
- The emotional harm associated with physical injuries, especially when such injuries are permanent.
Additionally, because dehumidifiers are causing damage within a home, a homeowner will likely have to work with his or her insurance company to determine what compensation is available under a homeowners’ insurance policy. Working with insurance companies can be difficult, and it is not uncommon for insurance companies to want to pay as little as possible. Also, if the dehumidifier is the cause of the fire, the manufacturer of the dehumidifier may be considered at fault, and a homeowner may need to seek compensation from the manufacturer by filing a lawsuit.
Do I Have a Potential Legal Claim?
Individuals who have suffered either property damage or personal injuries related to a house fire caused by a defective dehumidifier have a variety of legal options available to them. A homeowner’s insurance company will investigate a fire and determine a cause from its perspective of what went wrong. However, because insurance companies can be difficult to work with, and because the process is confusing, a homeowner should consider speaking with an attorney to ensure the insurance company is fulfilling its obligations under an insurance policy and that the insurance company is not taking advantage of the homeowner.
If the dehumidifier is found to be the cause of the house fire that resulted in property damage and/or personal injuries, a homeowner may have the opportunity to file a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer of the dehumidifier. As such, regardless of whether an insurance company is involved in the process or not, it is best to have an attorney standing by to handle the situation on the client’s behalf to ensure the client’s rights and interests are being protected. Without the assistance of an attorney, many homeowners lose out on compensation they need and deserve for experiencing significant pain and suffering. Fire injuries can be permanent, and the loss of a home can be permanent. Such damages take a significant toll on homeowners and their loved ones.
Contact Parker Waichman LLP Today to Schedule Your Free Consultation
If you have suffered personal injuries or property damage because of a fire linked to a faulty or defective dehumidifier, it is important to speak with a legal professional about your situation. At Parker Waichman LLP, our team of nationally-recognized trial lawyers has extensive experience handling complex personal injury and product liability cases. By discussing your situation with a member of our legal team, you will find out whether you have a potential legal claim under an insurance policy or by filing a lawsuit.
To learn more, contact Parker Waichman LLP today by calling (800) YOUR-LAWYER (968-7529) to schedule your free consultation.
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