A.O. Smith has recalled about 616,000 residential water heaters primarily sold in California because they pose a fire hazard. According to Consumer Reports, the water heaters have a gas burner screen that develops tears. The water heater’s burner can then create excess radiant heat, posing a fire hazard if the water heater is installed directly on a wood or other combustible floor. The water heaters were sold under brand names American, A.O. Smith, Kenmore, Reliance, State, U.S. Craftmaster, and Whirlpool.
So far, no injuries have been reported to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), but A.O. Smith has received six reports of fires.
The recalled products are 30-, 40-, 50-gallon gas or propane-fired water heaters. The first four digits of the serial number between 1115 and 1631, where the first four digits represent the year and week of production, are included in the recall. The brand name, model number and serial number can be found on the data plate on the product located next to the gas control valve or thermostat.
If you have one of the impacted models at home, it is important that you turn off the water heater right away and contact A.O. Smith to find out if a free repair is needed. The water heaters were sold by independent contractors, plumbers, plumbing supply vendors, and at various home improvement and hardware stores primarily in California from April 2011 through December 2016 for $500 to $1,000. If you’re not sure if you have one of the impacted water heater models, go to waterheaterrecall.com to find out.
Fires and Burn Injuries
These recalled products pose a significant danger of fires, property damage and serious injuries. Burn injuries have the potential to result in permanent scarring, disfigurement and disabilities. These types of injuries often result in significant medical expenses for victims who have to undergo costly procedures such as skin graft surgeries. In addition to the financial expenses, burn injury victims also go through severe physical pain and emotional suffering.
Defective products are among the leading causes of burn injuries in the United States. Product manufacturers have a responsibility to make items that are safe for consumers. If you have been injured as the result of a defective product, contact an experienced product defect lawyer who will help you secure fair and full compensation for your losses.