Recalled dehumidifier fixed with a 3-cent part

HOBART, Wis. (WBAY) - A Target 2 Consumer Alert about dehumidifiers recalled due to fire hazards: Even if you think you've checked your unit, you might need to check it again on a different list.

Burned up dehumidifier
Dehumidifier blamed for Allouez house fire on March 26, 2017 (Green Bay Metro Fire Dept. photo)

Since our report Monday on firefighters investigating a dehumidifier for a house fire in Allouez, calls have been pouring into us, the Green Bay Metro Fire Department, and the Consumer Product Safety Commission asking about recalled units.

One call was from Sandy Keller from Hobart. She had a recalled dehumidifier.

She bought her GE dehumidifier in 2010. Despite hearing about numerous recalls she thought nothing about its safety.

"The room was always kind of warm when I turned it on, and I thought, well, maybe that's what dehumidifiers do. And then on TV I saw a fire had started due to it, and I looked at it, and it looked just like mine."

She took it back to Walmart, where she bought it, and was told to contact the company.

When she asked the company what to do with it, she was told to ship it to Tennessee for repairs, and their expense.

It was fixed and sent back to her, along with an itemized list: $65 for labor and 3 cents for the repaired part.

The replaced part is what keeps the dehumidifier from overheating and causing a fire.

Keller is worried because her unit was repaired. The vast majority of recalled dehumidifiers we've been telling you about for years have been replaced.

"I thought, well, it's on the list. They must have figured out what was wrong and they can just fix it. So, I'm trusting it's fixed, but I'm not quite sure, because I hear that people are getting replaced now, and I'm thinking... I don't know!"

"I've been using it, but I'm a little nervous about using it," she says, noting she lives in a rural area. "My house will be gone before anybody notices it burning."

She asked Target 2 to look into this. While the receipts and other paperwork Keller saved say her product was recalled, when we started digging it didn't show up in our searches.

We contacted the Consumer Product Safety Commission, which eventually figured out Keller's dehumidifier was part of a smaller, lesser-known recall.

We learned there is no master list of recalled products -- and there are a lot of them. The CPSC says you have to search by specific manufacturer or you may not find a recall.

It recommends going to the CPSC website and in the search box in the corner type in "dehumidifier recall," then look through them to find your manufacturer and model, or you can call the CPSC hotline at 1-800-638-2772 and talk to a real person.

The CPSC says it's up to individual manufacturers whether to replace or repair a recalled unit. If they opt to fix it, like in Keller's case, the CPSC says the manufacturer must first prove the fix works.

Since many products from different manufacturers look the same, Keller hopes others take note.