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One melted EdenPure space heater sparks Costco recall

Consumer Reports News: February 04, 2011 08:08 AM

A safety glitch with just one sample of the EdenPure US 1000 electric space heater was apparently enough for Costco to yank the product off its shelves, notify the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), and send the notice below to more than 200 Costco members who bought it:
 
“The EdenPure Infrared heater you have recently purchased has been recalled due to the potential to overheat and cause the plastic front casing to melt. Discontinue use immediately and return it to your local Costco for a full refund. For more information please contact www.edenpureservice.com or EdenPure at 1-866-786-8946.”
 
Costco’s action is not a CPSC or manufacturer recall. The US 1000 and similar GEN 4 1000 are still being sold at more than 700 other stores, as well as at Amazon.com and the Herrington Catalog. An online search found six other complaints spanning from December 2008 through January 2011 about EdenPure models melting. While most of those complaints appear to involve models bought before 2010—the year the US 1000 and GEN 4 1000 came out—one comment cited a recently bought EdenPure heater.

According to Craig Wilson, Costco’s vice president of quality assurance and food safety, the recall notice went out after a Costco employee bought one of the heaters for herself and saw the plastic casing melt. Since Costco had sold only some 260 units of the EdenPure US 1000 as part of a trial run in the Midwest and Northeast between December 1, 2010 and January 4, 2011, the store chose to issue a recall rather than take any chances.
 
The small number of sales and the single safety incident are why you won’t find the Costco recall on the store’s website, said Wilson. Nor is the recall anywhere on EdenPure’s site. According to Michael Puterbaugh, general counsel for Suarez Corporation Industries, which owns EdenPure, its analysis determined that the overheat-protection sensor had been damaged. Puterbaugh noted that the unit may have been dropped during shipping.  “Costco’s experience is an isolated incident that we do not believe rises to the level of a recall situation,” he added. 
 
Melting or burning EdenPure heaters were mentioned in the following (unedited) comments we received on the Consumer Reports Home & Garden blog:

January 20, 2011
“We purchased 2 Eden Pure heaters about 5 years ago, at 2 years we had to send one back to be repaired. They replaced it. Then about a month ago because of smelling burning plastic coming from the den I discovered the Eden Pure Heater had over heated and the top was dimpled, the front plastic melted to the bottom of the opening where the heat comes out and was melting this plastice also.”
 
January 10, 2011
“We bought an EDENPURE two months ago and pleased with the consistent heat and the home furnace actually running less. We even lowered our thermostat to 60. Unfortunately one night it quit. On examining the unit in the morning, it was obvious burns and melted insulation in the back where the power cord attaches. I feel fortunate a larger fire didn't develop.”
 
January 8, 2011
“This heater ... over heater and scortched my electric outlet.”
 
December 8, 2010
“First purchased two Model 1000 heaters in 2006, had them replaced by Biotech with refurbished Gen 3 Model 1000s due to problems under warranty in 2009 and just had one almost cause a fire due to melting plastic.”
 
December 3, 2008
“Our Edenpure melted in the front.”
 
We also found this December 7, 2010 user review on Amazon.com:
“I purchased an EdenPure heater about 2 years ago and I brought it out this year and it almost burned my house down. When I started it this year it seemed to start fine, but after a couple hours of running I noticed that it had got so hot that it melted the plastic off the front of the unit.”  
 
Except for the comment from January 10, 2011, the others appear to involve earlier EdenPure space heaters, including the $300 GEN3 Consumer Reports tested in its October 2010 report. Like the other space heaters in our report, the GEN3 had an overheat-protection sensor that effectively turned the heater off before a cloth we wrapped around the housing showed any sign of scorching or discoloration. Like the newer GEN4 and US 1000 models, however, it lacked a hot-surface alert as well as a switch that turns the heater off if it tips over—key reasons the EdenPure didn’t make our list of Recommended space heaters.
 
Costco’s action differs from another recent recall involving space heaters. In December 2010, Walmart, the importer, in conjunction with  the CPSC, recalled 2.2 million space heaters made by Flow Pro, Airtech, and Aloha Breeze & Comfort Essentials Heaters because the heaters could malfunction, resulting in overheating, melting, and fire.  
 
According to Michael Puterbaugh, every fire-related complaint against EdenPure heaters has been investigated, and the cause has always been faulty home wiring. We’ll keep you posted if we find out more. The CPSC would say only that it has been alerted to the issue and is aware of Costco's action. We'll let you know if there is any further CPSC response. Meanwhile, if you bought an EdenPure US 1000 heater at Costco, you can take the retailer up on its refund offer. And if you experience any signs of overheating with any space heater, stop using it and notify the CPSC on the Report an Unsafe Product page of its website.
 
—Daniel DiClerico
 
Space heater safety: No matter what type of space heater you have, always follow best safety practices by keeping flammable items at least three feet from the unit; checking the power cord for cracks or fraying; not using the heater on uneven surfaces, near foot traffic, or in a child’s room; and never leaving the heater on unattended or while you’re sleeping.

   

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