BMW Recalls

BMW has recalled issued two recalls for approximately one million vehicles.  The first recall involves a defective PCV valve heater that can short circuit and cause a vehicle fire.  The recall applies to 2008 through 2011 model 128i; and 2007 through 2011 models 328i, 525i, 528i, 530i, X3, X5, and Z4.  The second recall is for a defective blower motor wiring connector that also poses a fire hazard.  The connector can cause the wiring to overheat and ignite.  The recall applies to 2006 through 2011 models 323i, 325i, 325xi, 328i, 328xi, 330i, 330xi, 335i, 335xi, and M3; 2007 through 2011 model 335is; and 2009 through 2011 model 335d.  Vehicle repairs are expected to start on December 18 and will be fixed free of charge.  For additional information, consumers can contact BMW by calling 1-800-327-4236.

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Eight Deaths – Really?

We’ve all heard about the eight people who lost their lives at the Rehabilitation Center in Hollywood Florida.  We’ve also heard about how the Center lost power and as a result, also lost their air conditioning.  The loss of power as a result of Hurricane Irma was not unusual.  With all the destruction, it would have been unusual if they hadn’t lost power.  For several days before the hurricane made landfall the whole country was hearing about Hurricane Irma and how destructive the storm could be.  For at least one week, the staff of the facility had time to prepare for the storm.  Granted, nobody knew where the storm would hit, how much damage would result, how much rain would fall or how bad flooding would be.  Knowing that a major storm was about to hit, it’s hard to believe that the staff didn’t plan to have extra water, food, and medicine on hand just in case it was needed.  Surely, the staff recognized the need to have extra batteries available for electronic medicine dispensing machines, oxygen monitors, vital sign monitors, and the like.  So, how is it that a critical necessity like electric power is overlooked?  Did the center not have a backup power generation system?  If not, why couldn’t they have rented a couple of generators before the storm?  In both cases, the backups would most likely have required the storage of gasoline in order to be prepared for a power outage.  In all fairness, the storage of gasoline could have been as dangerous to patients as the lack of cool air.  If the hurricane had damaged the facility, the stored gasoline could have been a huge fire hazard.  It’s easy to sit back, second guess and criticize those that were supposed to have been in attendance of the patients.  But, when the hazards are considered, choices have to be made.  To err on the side of caution is not necessarily a bad thing.  Food? Yes. Water? Yes. Medicine? Yes. Gasoline? Wait a minute!  Where will it be stored?  Can the stock be safely accessed if debris and flood water are in the area? Can generator fuel tanks be safely filled?  Can generators be safely operated without danger to staff or patients?  These and many more questions will be asked by investigators in order to determine if criminal charges are warranted.  Hopefully, those things that can be improved upon will be improved and staff as well as patients will be as well protected as can be during a major storm.  However, if negligence on the part of management or staff is found to have been a factor in the deaths of the eight patients, then criminal charges should be levied against the responsible people.

 

 

 

Recalls for Fire and Electrical Defects

The following information describes products that have been recalled for serious defects that can result in fire or electrical shock. All of the information reported here has been reported by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

 

Goodman Air Handlers

 

Goodman Manufacturing has recalled approximately 210,000 air handlers because the units have been found to remain powered when the electrical disconnect handles were removed. The disconnect is a device that is supposed to deenergize the unit when the handle is removed, breaking the electrical circuit that supplies current to the air handler.  The air handlers involved in this recall are models that begin with the letters AWUF and ACNF.  The serial numbers associated with these models begin with 1511, 1512, and 1601 through 1610.  The units were sold by Goodman dealers between November 2015 and October 2016 for use in apartment complexes, townhouses and condominiums.  Mechanical contractors would then install the air handlers along with their condensing units as a package.  Owners should contact Goodman for a free inspection and free repair.  Goodman can be contacted by calling 1-888-386-2075 or visiting Goodman on line at www.goodmanmfg.com and clicking on “Air Handler Product Recall”.  Lastly, the recall number for this recall is 17-103.

 

Carrier Packaged Terminal Air Conditioners

 

The Carrier Corporation is recalling approximately 94,000 packaged terminal air conditioners (PTAC) and packaged terminal heat pumps (PTHP) for problems with the power cords. The units were sold under the Bryant, Carrier, and Fast brand names.  The power cords of these units can overheat and pose a fire hazard to consumers.  It should be noted that approximately 185,000 units were previously recalled in November of 2007 and another 285,000 units recalled in December of 2015.  This recall also includes those units that received a replacement power in the 2007 recall.  The recalled units have capacities of 7000, 9000, 12,000 and 15,000 BTU/Hr and connect to 208/230 volt power.  The recall covers the following units: Carrier models 52CE, 52CQ, 52PE, 52PQ, 52PC, 52ME and 52MQ; Bryant models 840, 841, and 842; and Fast models 840, 841, and 842.  Consumers should discontinue use of these machines and contact Carrier to receive a free replacement cord.  Carrier can contacted by calling 1-800-761-8492 or visiting www.carrier.com and clicking on “Important Product Safety Recall”.  The recall number for this recall is 17-094.

 

Philips Lighting Metal Halide Lamps

 

Philips Lighting is recalling 256,000 metal halide lamps. The company has recognized that the lamps can shatter and cause hot glass debris to fall and pose fire and laceration hazards.  The recall applies to Philips Energy Advantage Ceramic Metal Halide Lamps, model CDM330.  The lamps were manufactured between May 2011 and March 2014.  Both clear and coated versions of the lamp are included in this recall.  The recall applies to lamps with the following date codes:

1E, 1F, 1G, 1H, 1J, 1K, 1L, 1M, 2A, 2B, 2C, 2D, 2E, 2F, 2G, 2H, 2J, 2K, 2L, 2M, 3A, 3B, 3C, 3D, 3E, 3F, 3G, 3H, 3J, 3K, 3L, 3M, 4A, 4B, and 4C. The date code can be found on the base of the lamp or the glass bulb.  Consumers should stop using the bulbs and contact Philips for a free replacement.  Philips can be contacted by calling 1-866-253-5503 or visiting www.philips.com and clicking on “For Professionals” and then “Recalls”.  The recall number for this recall is 17-100.

Oil Filled Heaters Spray Hot Oil, Recalled Due to Burn Hazard

The Consumer Products Safety Commission has announced that Sunbeam Products has recalled approximately 34,000 Holmes Oil Filed heaters, models HOH 3000 and HOH 3000B.  The heaters can cause heated oil to expand and sprayed on to combustible fabrics and carpet resulting in a scalding and fire hazard.  The heaters involved in this recall are also identified as having the following code range: G192 through G 298.  Consumers should stop using the heaters immediately and contact Sunbeam for instructions on how to obtain a refund.  Sunbeam can be contacted by visiting their website at www.holmesproducts.com and clicking on “Oil Filled Heater Recall”.  Sunbeam can also be contacted by calling 1-800-515-4715.  It should be noted that this is not the first time that Holmes has had this problem.  In 2007, a similar recall was made for approximately 300,000 oil filled heaters that also sprayed hot oil and caused a fire hazard.  Officially, the root cause was found to have been overheating due to a poor electrical connection.

General Electric Pays $3.5 million Civil Penalty

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has reported that it has come to an agreement with General Electric regarding an imposed penalty for not reporting defects in two of its product lines. The products were identified as the “Profile” dual fuel ranges and “Profile and Monogram” dishwashers. According to the CPSC, press release number 15-082 dated February 19, 2015; General Electric had been notified about overheating of a wiring harness connector back in 2004 but did not report the problem until 2009. It was further determined that the overheating of the connector could also pose a fire hazard. In April of 2009, General Electric recalled 28,000 dual fuel ranges because of the hazard. Furthermore, the CPSC has determined that the control board in “Profile” and “Monogram” dishwashers can short circuit as result of the buildup of condensation on the boards. The short circuiting can also pose fire and burn hazards. According to the CPSC, General Electric had known about the problem since 2007 but failed to report the defect to the CPSC until 2010. Instead, the company chose to settle claims and make payments based on reports of defective units. In October of 2010, the company recalled 174,000 units.

Federal law requires manufacturers, distributors and retailers to notify the CPSC immediately after learning of a potential defect in a product that could be hazardous to consumers. Consumers can report a dangerous product by going on line to www.saferproducts.gov or calling the CPSC hotline at 1-800-638-2772.

Chevy Impala not Recalled for Exploding Intake Manifold and Engine Fire

During the late 1990s, a problem developed with some General Motors vehicles that were recalled for engine backfire and subsequent damage to plastic intake manifolds. All of the vehicles that were involved were equipped with defective fuel pressure regulators. The defective regulators allowed combustible mixtures of air and fuel to accumulate in the intake manifold. When an engine backfired, the mixture ignited producing a pressure that caused the plastic manifold to burst. Since General Motors was aware of the problem in the late 90s, recalls were issued for 98-99 Buick Park Avenue, Buick LaSabre, Oldsmobile 88, and Pontiac Bonneville vehicles. Although various vehicle models manufactured between 1995 and 2002 were supposed to have been monitored, the Chevrolet Impala escaped notice. As a result, we recently investigated a 2001 Chevrolet Impala engine fire that was caused by the sequence of events described above. It should be noted that GM vehicles in the model year range previously stated are still on the road and could be potential fire hazards. If you feel that your vehicle might be a fire hazard, have it inspected. Remember that the sequence of events that leads to an engine fire occurs as follows: attempt to start in cold weather and then a loud popping sound followed by smoke and the appearance of flames from beneath the hood. Damage to one recently investigated instance is shown in the photographs shown below.

Cracked intake manifold cover

Cracked intake manifold cover

Damage to intake manifold and surrounding wiring

Damage to intake manifold and surrounding wiring

Danger: Using Lights for Space Heating

During this past week, hundreds of thousands of people experienced the polar vortex that swept across our country. In the process, many have had to figure out a way to heat spaces where there was no heat in order to keep pipes and pets from freezing. One of the things being done is using lights with high wattage bulbs. Clamp lights as well as any type of spot or work light are rated for use with a bulb of specific wattage. It is never a good idea to use a light rated for a specific wattage with a bulb rated for a higher wattage. For example, if your light is rated for 100 watts, do NOT use a bulb rated with a wattage greater than 100 watts. A higher wattage bulb will produce more heat, always in excess of the rating of the light itself. The problem lies in the fact that more heat results in a higher current draw. If the wiring cannot handle the current draw, it will melt and burn resulting in a fire, particularly if an extension cord is also used. A fire hazard will also arise if the light bulb produces enough heat to ignite combustible material in close proximity to the light. How far away should a light be kept from combustible material depends on the heat output of the light bulb. Recently, we were asked to investigate a fire involving a clamp type worklight and its use in heating a dog house. As it turned out, the light was rated for 150 watts and the homeowner installed a 250 watt infrared bulb to provide the necessary heat for their pet. At 120 volts, a 150 watt bulb will draw 1.25 amps whereas a 250 watt bulb will draw a little over 2 amps. These current levels are very low in comparison to other heat producing devices and were not a factor in this incident. On the other hand, the amount of heat produced at 150 watts is about 511 BTU/hr. At 250 watts, the amount of heat produced is 852 BTU/hr, a difference of 341 BTU/hr. This difference was enough to cause the plastic material in the dog house to melt and eventually ignite. The fire went on to cause damage to a deck and vinyl siding material used to cover the soffitt. Fortunately, the owner’s dog survived the fire and was unharmed.

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