Heating Units Should be Checked During Fall Season to Reduce the Risk of Injury from Defective Products in North Carolina

In a joint effort, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and LG Electronics Tianjin Appliance Company are strongly advising consumers to make sure they don’t own the recalled Goldstar or Comfort-Aire dehumidifiers. These units were recalled back in December 2009 but only two percent of the units have gotten the free repair needed to make them safe.

Our Charlotte personal injury lawyers know that these defective dehumidifiers have allegedly caused property damage in excess of one million dollars. In the most extreme case $500,000 in fire damage was caused to a house in Gibsonia, Pennsylvania.
The hazardous defect with the 98,000 dehumidifiers is that the power source to the units compressor can short circuit, which results in a fire and burn hazard. There have been a total of 27 incidents reported, including 13 major fires.

With fall approaching and bringing cooler weather, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) remind us all to have our fuel-burning heating systems — including furnaces, water heaters, fireplaces, boilers, wood stoves, chimneys, vents and flues — inspected by a trained professional. Carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning is known as the silent killer because it is odorless and colorless.

This deadly gas claims the lives of roughly 500 people every year. The CDC estimates that more than 15,000 people suffer from non-fire related unintentional CO exposure. Over 100 of them die from CO poisoning from heating systems that use natural gas, oil, wood, liquid propane, coal or kerosene. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are weakness, dizziness, nausea, headache, vomiting, confusion and chest pain.

CDC offers these helpful tips:
-Have a professional inspect your heating system each year.
-Make sure you have smoke and CO alarms in your house that are battery operated.
-It is a must to have CO alarms in and around your home’s sleeping areas and smoke alarms on every level.
-Do a monthly test of your smoke and CO alarms.
-If your alarm goes off, exit your home and call 911, don’t investigate the cause.
-Get medical attention right away if you or family members have CO poisoning symptoms.

Space heaters: Use space heaters that are safety tested and certified. Older heaters won’t have the needed safety features necessary to keep you safe. Never place a space heater on carpet and keep it 3 feet away from any material that could catch fire. Keep pets and children away from space heaters and always turn the heater off when no one is in the area or when you go to sleep. Unplug the heater when you are leaving for the day.

Fireplaces: Have a professional check the chimney and flue for debris, creosote blockage and leaks. Never start a fire until the damper is open and don’t close it until the ashes have cooled. Ashes should be put in a container that is fire resistant and covered. The container should be kept outside and away from anything that is flammable.

Charcoal grills: Never ever use a charcoal grill inside the house.

Gas-powered generators: Often used during power outages, the exhaust from these generators contains carbon monoxide. For this reason they can never be used inside the home and must be used outside and far away from the house.

If you have been injured by a defective product in North Carolina or sustained CO poisoning or another type of personal injury, contact the Lee Law Offices, P.A. for help regarding your case. Call 1-800-887-1965 for a free initial consultation to discuss your rights today.

More Blog Entries:

Strangulation Hazard a Serious Danger in Children’s Clothes, Cribs in North Carolina, North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, August 2, 2011.

CPSC unveils new database to decrease risks of harmful product use in North Carolina and elsewhere, North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, May 26, 2011.

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