February 17, 2000
Cadet Recalls In-Wall Heaters

Cadet Manufacturing Co., of Vancouver, Wash., announced today the recall of more than 1.9 million Cadet and Encore brand in-wall electric heaters, distributed mainly in California, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington.

The following Cadet and Encore brand in-wall electric heaters are defective and can overheat and catch fire: models FW, FX, LX, TK, ZA, Z, RA, RK, RLX, RX and ZC. Flames, sparks or molten particles can spew through the front grill cover of the heater into the living area of a residence, putting consumers at risk from fires, including burn injuries, smoke inhalation and property damage. The heaters also can become energized creating a risk of electric shock.

There have been more than 320 reports of heaters that smoked, sparked, caught fire, emitted flames, or ejected burning particles or molten materials. These incidents have allegedly resulted in three deaths, two serious burn injuries and property damage claims exceeding $1.2 million, which include five partial or total house fires.

The heaters that are part of today's recall announcement are the following models of Cadet and Encore brands: FW, FX, LX, TK, ZA, Z, RA, RK, RLX, RX and ZC. The brand and model are located on a label on the front of the heat box, behind the grill. Before removing the grill to check the identification label, consumers must disconnect the power supply to the heater at the circuit breaker. If power is not disconnected, consumers risk electrocution and shock.

Cadet is offering consumers replacement heaters at a significantly reduced cost. Each heater will cost between $25 and $57, depending on the model. Consumers who already have replaced the recalled units from October 23, 1997, until today can file a claim for partial reimbursement for $25 per heater. Consumers must register to participate in this recall by February 17, 2002. To register, contact Cadet anytime at (800) 567-2613 or at www.cadetco.com/recallprogram.html.

Companies are required to pay the full costs associated with recalls. In this case, Cadet has recently emerged from bankruptcy and is unable to provide free replacements or full reimbursements. In October 1997, Cadet recalled its model FW, FX, LX and ZA heaters to replace defective over-temperature black plastic limit switches. By December 1997, Cadet informed CPSC that it could no longer pay the full costs of the recall, and that the number of heaters involved was far greater than it had originally known. While attempting to resolve the problems with the limit switch recall, the CPSC staff discovered additional problems with the heaters involved in the 1997 recall, as well as problems with some other Cadet and Encore models. In addition to the switch defect, the heating elements and internal wiring connections are defective and can fail. Even if consumers have had the heaters' switches repaired, the heaters have additional problems and need to be replaced.

Cadet Contact: Hutch Johnson or Jennefer Messenger (503) 223-3299 or (503) 358-5548

Cadet Manufacturing Co.
2500 W. Fourth Plain Blvd.
Vancouver, WA 98660-1354
TEL: 360-693-2505