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Soleus Air dehumidifiers pulled from stores and our Ratings

Consumer Reports News: July 01, 2013 05:13 PM

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Soleus Air's $225 SG-DEH-70-2 dehumidifier has been a CR Best Buy in Consumer Reports' Ratings. But it's also among the models cited in a recent stop-sale notice issued by the manufacturer after reports that the dehumidifier can overheat, smoke, and catch fire. For that reason, we've removed this dehumidifier and two other Soleus Air models affected by the stop sale from our Ratings of dehumidifiers.

The company's notice includes models that were sold between January 2010 and the beginning of 2013 and distributed under either the Soleus Air or Kenmore brands in 25, 30, 45, 50 and 70-pint sizes. MJC America, which owns the Soleus Air brand, recently filed suit in federal court in California asserting that the dehumidifiers were defectively designed and encased in a non-fire-retardant plastic by its Chinese manufacturing partner, Gree Electric Appliances.

Gree Electric Appliances says it is investigating the issue in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. While the CPSC couldn't provide further specifics, a federal official told Consumer Reports that a stop-sale announcement can be a precursor to an official product recall.

The Soleus Air SG-DEH-70-2 dehumidifier we tested showed no fire risks in our tests and performed well enough to earn a CR Best Buy in our Ratings. But as a result of the stop sale, we have removed it from our Ratings. We also tested two smaller Soleus dehumidifiers that are affected by the stop sale, the Soleus Air SG-DEH-45-2, and the Soleus Air SG-DEH-45-1, but they did not make our list of top picks. We did not test the Kenmore models in the stop-sale notice.

We'll update this story with any new information, including details of any CPSC recall, as it becomes available. Meanwhile, if you own one of the dehumidifiers listed in Soleus Air's safety notice, which includes dozens of models, stop using it immediately and call the manufacturer at 866-853-2802. Lowe's, one of the retailers that sold the defective dehumidifier, says that customers can return the product to its stores for a refund.

If you're shopping for a dehumidifier, consider the $238 Frigidaire FAD704DUD, which costs a little more than the Soleus Air and was tops overall in our dehumidifier Ratings.

Daniel DiClerico

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