A.O. Smith Corporation, a manufacturer of water heaters located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, recently announced a recall of more than 616,000 water heaters that are being blamed on causing numerous house fires. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPCS), the gas burner (flame arrestor) screen on several models develop a tear, resulting in excessive radiant heat which can cause a fire hazard if the hot water heater is installed directly on a wood or other combustible floor. Therefore, this fire hazard is most likely to occur when the heater is located on a first-floor rather than on a concrete floor in the basement.
This recall includes A. O. Smith 30, 40, and 50 gallon natural or propane gas-fired Ultra-Low NOx emission gas water heaters. They are designed to comply with regulations in certain air quality districts in California and were sold primarily in California. They were sold under the American, A. O. Smith, Kenmore, Reliance, State, U.S. Craftsmaster, and Whirlpool brand names and manufactured from April 8, 2011 through August 1, 2016. Only water heaters with the first four-digit serial numbers between 1115 and 1631, where the first four digits represent the year and week of production, are included in the recall. The brand name, model number, and serial number can be found on the data plate on the product located next to the gas control valve/thermostat. The brand name is printed near the top of the water heater. Consumers can look up their water heater’s serial number to see if it is affected by this recall at www.waterheaterrecall.com.
A.O. Smith has already acknowledged being notified of multiple fires caused by these water heaters. For more information on possible subrogation potential involving such units, contact Gary Wickert at [email protected] or at (800) 637-9176.