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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 11, 1996

Release # 96-098
CPSC: Kate Premo
(301) 504-0580 Ext. 1187

CPSC and Square D Announce Baseboard Heater Recall

WASHINGTON, D.C. - In cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), Square D Company of Palatine, Ill., announces a voluntary recall of approximately 920,000 electric baseboard heaters. The insulation of a wire running along the inside of the heater may deteriorate over time, causing sparking, which may lead to a potential fire hazard. In addition, if the heaters are not properly grounded, a potential shock hazard exists when the uninsulated wire contacts the metal heater enclosure.

Square D Company has received at least 100 complaints or claims of baseboard heaters overheating. Ninety incidents of property damage, three deaths, and five injuries were among incidents alleged. The involvement of the baseboard heaters in the reported incidents has not been confirmed.

This voluntary recall program affects baseboard heaters sold between 1970 and 1986 with brand names Square D and Nelco Corporation. Model numbers begin with 18, 25, or 30, followed by four numbers ending in series A or B (for example 25242-4 SER A).

These tan colored baseboard heaters are permanently installed units measuring two feet (500 watt) to ten feet (2500 watt) in length. The brown and white Square D and Nelco Corporation identification label, which includes both model number and UL listing number, is located on the bottom left side of the heater just below the heating element.

To prevent a potential fire or electric shock, all of the heaters subject to this recall should be replaced. Consumers who own the baseboard heaters should check for discoloration on the heater cover. If the cover is discolored, consumers should immediately turn off the power to the heaters and stop using them until they are replaced.

Square D no longer sells these heaters. A major manufacturer of electric baseboard heaters has agreed to provide replacement heaters for a discount of 50 percent off the retail list price to consumers who own recalled Square D heaters.

To obtain a discount on the purchase of a new, similar heater, consumers must remove the Square D or Nelco Corporation identification label from the recalled heaters and present the label at the time of purchase. Consumers may receive the discount on the purchase of the same number of heaters of equal or lesser size and wattage. For further information and to identify the nearest participating replacement distributor, call (800) 666-7557.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission protects the public from the unreasonable risk of injury or death from 15,000 types of consumer products under the agency's jurisdiction. To report a dangerous product or a product-related injury and for information on CPSC's fax-on-demand service, call CPSC's hotline at (800) 638-2772 or CPSC's teletypewriter at (800) 638-8270. To order a press release through fax-on-demand, call (301) 504-0051 from the handset of your fax machine and enter the release number. Consumers can report product hazards to info@cpsc.gov.

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