If you've been staying warm this winter thanks to an electric space heater that you bought from Walmart, you may want to check the label. Approximately 2.2 million 1,500-watt units were recalled today, consisting of four different brands: Flow Pro, Airtech, Aloha Breeze, and Comfort Essentials sold in Walmart stores between December 2001 and October 2009.
The model number for all of these small gray units is 1013, and you can find it on the lower left-hand corner of the back panel in of the heater.
The US Consumer Product Safety Commission announced the recall after several heater-related accidents were reported that included about a dozen instances of property damage due to fires, and several reports of physical injuries. The issue stems from a wiring or design problem that causes these $18 heaters to overheat, resulting in burning, smoking, melting, or in some extremely unfortunate cases, setting on fire.
Obviously, if you own any of these heaters, for goodness sake, don't plug it back in. We definitely don't want to set the Christmas tree on fire. You can return it to your local Walmart store where they'll be happy to refund you for the full amount, just like they do with anything else that you bring into the store, even that used bra (true story, I used to work at a Walmart).
I know, Walmart during holiday shopping season? Yeah, I'd rather freeze, too. But if you simply can't go without, they have some other heaters that you can easily swap it out evenly for, such as the Patton Rugged Utility Heater ($16) or the Sunbeam Compact Personal Heater ($10.97), and the good news with these is that they won't set your house on fire. Always a plus.
You can also call their toll-free customer service hotline (800-925-6278) on weekdays between 7 a.m. - 9 p.m. CST if you have any additional questions.
Does this recall affect you?
Image via Walmart.com