Lowe's customer worries company sold her a dryer with a dangerous part
NAPERVILE, Ill. (CBS) – A retired union leader used to fight for salaries and sick days, but now she's taking on a new battle over a common household appliance.
Listen up if you have a dryer! Morning Insider Lauren Victory took us inside the woman's crusade about dryer vents.
Francine Anderson was excited for the delivery of her fancy laundry machines.
"I was going back and forth looking at it," Anderson said. "Eee! Look at my new stuff. Ready to use it and I smelled something."
She said she had a gas leak from the appliances after she paid for installation by a Naperville Lowe's.
While that problem got sorted out, Anderson noticed something else troubling.
"And on page three, it says 'Warning: Risk of fire,'" she said. "On page 17, 'Do not use a metal foil vent.'"
Victory: "Did you read this line and go running back there and double check?"
The vent connected to her dryer is made from foil, but that's the type of manufacturer Whirlpool warns about.
"The Whirlpool representative sent me pictures of the correct vent," Anderson said.
Victory: "And does it look like the one you have?"
Whirlpool sent CBS 2 a diagram with green checks for the approved vents. Foil gets a red X.
If foil is so bad, why is it on the market?
CBS 2 noticed the foil vent Lowe's sold to Anderson is certified by testing and inspection company UL Solutions, based in Northbrook.
"This product has met the level of safety that's specified in the UL standards," said Darrin Conlon, a UL Solutions engineer.
Conlon and his team of engineers put foil dryer vents through the ringer.
"We'll do tension. We'll pull it, right?" he said. "We'll do a torsion. We'll do a twist and a bending test."
That's along with a flame resistance test, so if that all checks out, why is the fire warning in Anderson's manual? Whirlpool told CBS 2 that foil material poses a crushing risk "which could cause lint to collect and potentially block the vent."
At the end of the day, does Conlon recommend that a consumer follow the manufacturer's instructions?
"Always," he said.
Anderson wonders how many other Lowe's customers received what Whirlpool believes is an improper part.
Lowe's stands by Anderson's installation and said it only uses products that meet industry standards. A store spokesperson would not comment on the Whirlpool fire hazard warning in the manual.
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