Whirlpool Microwave Recall

Whirlpool has announced the recall of their microwave hood combinations due to an electrical problem.  Internal arcing can cause plastic components to melt and ignite.  Ignition of flammable material can pose a fire hazard.  The units that are involved in this recall are listed as follows:

Model Numbers                                                          Serial Numbers

WMH53520CS                                               TR33500000 – TR34899999

WMH53520CW                                             TR33500000 – TR34899999

WMH53520CB                                              TR33500000 – TR34899999

WMH53520CE                                              TR33500000 – TR34899999

WMH53520CH                                             TR33500000 – TR34899999

WMH73521CS                                              TR33500000 – TR34899999

WMH73521CW                                             TR33500000 – TR34899999

WMH73521CB                                              TR33500000 – TR34899999

WMH73521CE                                              TR33500000 – TR34899999

WMH73521CH                                             TR33500000 – TR34899999

Consumers should immediately stop using the affected models and contact Whirlpool for a free replacement model.  For additional information, Whirlpool can be contacted by calling 1-800-990-6254 or going to http://www.whirlpool.com and click on “Product Recall” at the bottom of the page.  Whirlpool has received five reports of incidents involving smoke and fire.  To date, Whirlpool has identified 15,200 units involved in this recall.

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Deep Fryer Fires due to Lack of Maintenance

We recently investigated the cause of a deep fryer fire in a restaurant setting.  As you probably know, these appliances are everywhere, not just in commercial food establishments, but in homes as well.  They have been in use for a number of years and are tried and tested dependable pieces of equipment.  However, there is just one problem which seems to be constantly ignored by owners.  That is, a thorough cleaning!  It’s one thing to clean the surfaces that are easily reachable and say that the fryer is clean.  It’s quite another to clean the areas where grease accumulates and is ignored because these areas are hard to get into.  I’m talking about the places around the burners and controls.  I’m talking about the area where the gas line comes in and the connections are made.  Many people are afraid to get into the cabinet where the guts of the fryer (and stoves and grilles) are located.  And if you don’t know what you are doing, you’re probably better off leaving the cleaning to a professional.  That doesn’t mean that the cleaning should be put off until absolutely necessary, or as in this case, after a fire occurs.  Deep frying food causes cooking oil to splatter onto exterior surfaces.  Whether onto an exhaust hood or other appliances, the residue that accumulates becomes fuel for a potential fire.  In the recent case mentioned above, greasy residue was allowed to accumulate on the rear side of the fryer as well as the exhaust hood wall.  Greasy residue also accumulated inside the fryer’s exhaust duct enclosure and this was where the fire originated.  The fire started here because the heat from the exhaust was insulated by the greasy residue, raising the temperature of the exhaust gases to the ignition temperature of the residue.  As a reference, cooking oil ignites between 750 F and 800 F depending on the oil.  If the fire hadn’t been contained as quickly as it was, the fire would have eventually reached those grease laden areas behind the fryer and inside the control and burner area.  The fire would also have spread to the stove and grille which were also under the same exhaust hood as the fryer and in need of the same type of cleaning.  If you have to set aside a day to clean inside your cooking appliances – Do It! I promise you that the time and money you spend doing a little maintenance will be significantly less than spending days to clean up, if not rebuild, after a significant fire loss.  Just think about the lost revenue over one day as opposed to several weeks if not months.  Remember, you have control over your schedule and therefore you can plan for your downtime.  Your customers, employees and those close to you will all appreciate it.

To show you what I mean, the following photograph shows how dirty the burner and control area can get if not kept clean.

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This is the back of the fryer after it was removed from its place under the exhaust hood.  The burn pattern was created by the heat produced from burning on the inside the exhaust area of the fryer. The residue on the lower back was never touched and is therefore an example of how bad the accumulation can be if not cleaned regularly.

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The last photograph shows what the floor area looked like when the fryer was removed. The gas line, which is barely recognizable, was buried in the residue.

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Irrigation System Failure

Attention farmers and anyone else that uses long irrigation systems for crop growth. You risk damaging your equipment if you don’t maintain it on a regular basis.  Recently, we investigated the collapse of a system due to the accumulation of mud inside the main water distribution pipe.  A portion of the system is shown in the photograph below.

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Instead of causing the truss supports to fail, the system came apart at the rubber boots between sections. When one section came apart, it dragged another section down. Two pipes were found especially blocked with mud and sediment debris.  The photos below show the blockages.

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If your water source is a lake, river, or well, you are best advised to use some type of water filtration if you don’t want to risk this type of damage. The owner of this system was lucky in that his insurance carrier paid for the repairs.

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