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More than 2 million dehumidifiers recalled after $17 million in fire damage

Roughly 2.4 million dehumidifiers made for 20 different brands and sold by retailers nationwide are being recalled because they can overheat and catch fire, something that's happened more than 100 times, causing about $17 million in property damage.

"The recalled dehumidifiers can overheat and catch fire, posing fire and burn hazards," according to a notice posted earlier this by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

New Taipei City, Taiwanese-based New Widetech said it is aware of 107 incidents where the made-in-China dehumidifiers overheated and/or caught fire, resulting in about $17 million in property damage. No injuries have been reported. 

Recalled AeonAir dehumidifier. U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission

About 2 million of the recalled dehumidifiers were sold at retailers nationwide including Costco, Lowe's, Menards and Walmart from February 2009 through August 2017 for between $120 and $430 each. Another 380,000 of the dehumidifiers were sold in Canada and about 25,000 in Mexico, the company stated.

The 25-to-74-pint dehumidifiers were sold under brand names including AeonAir, Danby, Friedrich and Whirlpool. A table with the model numbers can be found here.

Consumers should stop using the dehumidifiers and contact the company for a refund that will be pro-rated depending on the product's age. New Widetech can be reached online or by calling (877) 251-1512 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. EST.

Separately recalled dehumidifiers sparked 450 blazes

The latest dehumidifier recall is not the first the time the product has been linked to fires and property damage. 

Commack, New York, resident Stacey Jurman and her family have been living in a trailer in their yard for more than a year after their house was destroyed in a fire due to a separately recalled dehumidifier made by China's Gree Electric Appliances.

"We had a huge house fire that was started by a dehumidifier that has a national recall after the power came back on from a storm," Jurman said in an email to CBS MoneyWatch. "It created a huge electrical fire that went through our home quickly and filled our home with black smoke. My son ran in numerous times to get all the animal out."

Jurman's family, including her son and disabled husband, escaped the August 6, 2020, blaze, but their home was totaled by the Gree product. It's one of more than 2,000 reported incidents of dehumidifiers overheating, resulting in about 450 fires and more than $19 million in property damage, according a November 2016 re-announced recall of 2.5 million units. 

Property damage from fire involving a recalled Gree-manufactured dehumidifier.  U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission

Jurman relayed a year of difficult and costly trailer-related problems, starting with a malfunctioning air conditioner, a trailer door that couldn't be closed properly and a leaking kitchen sink. "Our private adjuster said ours is the worst case he has dealt with in his career, partially because this is going on during a pandemic," she stated.  

Founded in 1991, the Zhuhai, China-based home appliance maker last month touted its momentum with consumers and more than $24 billion in annual sales. 

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