Dehumidifiers are Dangerous: Fires and Recalls

Defective dehumidifiers made by Gree and Midea have been overheating and linked to destructive fires. Sold at well-known national retailers as well as on secondary markets, consumers have to be careful. If you have a dehumidifier, stop using it and unplug it until you have a chance to determine whether it is subject to recall. By entering the brand name, model number, and date code from the label here for Gree and here for Midea, you can determine whether you are affected and eligible for a refund.

Quick science lesson: Hot air can hold significantly more moisture than cooler air. At a latitude of 26 degrees north (a nearly tropical climate) and surrounded by the warm waters of both the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean, South Florida is positioned for high humidity. In fact, the Sunshine State is the most humid in the nation with relative humidity that often reaches 90 percent. That means the air is saturated with a lot of water, making dehumidifiers popular investments. While air conditioners remove some humidity, comfort in our muggy climate requires the extra boost supplied by dehumidifiers. Given the widespread use of dehumidifiers in Florida, reports of them overheating and catching on fire is particularly concerning.

Made by Gree Electric Appliances, the defective dehumidifiers were sold under several brand names, sizes, colors, and model years. An initial recall was originally issued by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) in 2013, expanded in 2014, and reannounced in November of 2016 following 2,000 reports of overheating, 450 fires, and $19 million in property damage. The debacle lead to Gree paying a record single exposure fine of $15.45 million to the CPSC in March 2016 in settlement of charges that it:

  • Knowingly failed to report a defect and unreasonable risk of serious injury to CPSC immediately (within 24 hours) with dehumidifiers sold under 13 different brand names, as required by federal law;
  • Knowingly made misrepresentations to CPSC staff during investigation; and
  • Sold dehumidifiers bearing the UL safety certification mark knowing that the dehumidifiers did not meet UL flammability standards.
  • The recall urges consumers to check their machines and stop using any affected models immediately. Brand and pint capacity can be found printed on the front of the dehumidifier, while the model number and date code are printed on a sticker on the back, front, or side of the unit. The units were sold for between $110 and $400 from January 2005 until August 2013 at retailers such as AAFES, HH Gregg, Home Depot, Kmart, Lowe’s, Menards, Mills Fleet Farm, Sam’s Club, Sears, and Walmart, as well as online at Amazon and eBay (and can still be found on Craigslist for sale used). The dehumidifiers are white, beige, gray, or black plastic and measure between 19 and 24 inches tall, 13 and 15 inches wide, and 9 and 11 inches deep.

    Overall, the recall involves approximately 2.5 million dehumidifiers holding 20, 25, 30, 40, 45, 50, 65, or 70 pints with brand names Danby, De’Longhi, Fedders, Fellini, Frigidaire, GE, Gree, Kenmore, Norpole, Premiere, Seabreeze, SoleusAir and SuperClima. If you find you have one, stop using it, unplug it, and apply for a refund by registering your information here or contacting Gree directly at 866-853-2802.

    Reports of smoke and fire have also resulted in Midea recalling similarly sized and priced dehumidifiers. Linked to $4.8 million in property damage and sold from January 2003 through December 2013 at national stores, affected Midea brands include Arctic King, Frigidaire, GE, Honeywell, Kenmore, and Sunbeam. Refunds and replacements can be arranged by entering your information here or by calling 800-600-3055.

    We Can Help

    Consumers have a right to be safe. Anytime a product fails to perform in the way it is meant to and results in damage or injuries, the negligent parties should be held accountable. As one of South Florida's most respected and oldest law firms, Stabinski Law has helped many people sort out their legal rights, responsibilities, and remedies. For 45 years, we have been the trusted advocates for countless personal injury victims and their families. We also work on a contingency basis, which means that if there is no recovery, there is no fee or cost to you. If you wish to learn more about how our firm can be of assistance to you or if you have any questions about this topic, contact us by calling 305-964-8644 or filling out a free case evaluation form.

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