Dehumidifier Fire Risks: What You Need to Know and When to Contact a Lawyer
The dehumidifier market is booming. Consumers and businesses alike are sold on these appliances’ ability to create a healthier, safer home and workplace.
However, few people are aware that these appliances pose a very real fire risk. Poor electrical wiring has resulted in millions of units being recalled on the order of the US Consumer Product Safety Commission.
If you own a dehumidifier, it’s vital that you understand the risk they pose. It’s also very important to know what your legal position is if your property has suffered any damages due to a fire caused by a faulty dehumidifier.
Do you need to contact a lawyer that specializes in dehumidifier fire cases if this were to happen? What legal action is open to you, and when is the right time to contact a lawyer?
In this article, we’ll answer all of these questions.
Why Own a Dehumidifier?
People are becoming increasingly aware of the benefits of dehumidifiers and often invest in these appliances to combat health conditions related to mold and dampness.
By extracting moisture from the air, dehumidifiers create a healthier environment for you and your family. If anyone in your household suffers from respiratory problems caused by asthma or allergies, a dehumidifier is often a must-have appliance.
Damp air inside your home or office is a big health risk for people with or without existing health problems. Dehumidifiers reduce this risk and limit symptoms typically caused by humidity: chest pain, sneezing, eye irritation, and wheezing.
A dehumidifier also helps prevent the accumulation of other airborne irritants. Mold, animal hair, dust mites, and pollen can be extremely aggravating for people who have allergies.
In some cases, mold can even cause extreme illness in people with compromised immune systems and has been known to trigger illnesses like bronchitis, chronic rhinosinusitis, and hypersensitivity pneumonitis.
At the same time, advances in technology are making dehumidifiers better and better at cleaning up industrial-sized areas damaged by rain, floods, or burst pipes.
If your home or place of work frequently experiences water damage, it’s likely that you’ll want to invest in a dehumidifier to reduce the long-term damage caused by lingering moisture.
Dehumidifiers and the Risk of Fire
High-Risk Recalled Dehumidifiers
Since 2013, more than 5.5 million dehumidifiers have been recalled by their manufacturers due to the fire risk they pose. Approximately 50 brands were involved in recalls – many of them household names with excellent reputations.
During this same time, more than 500 fires in the United States have been attributed to malfunctioning dehumidifiers. Over $20 million worth of damage (mostly to residential property) was caused by these fires.
If you purchased your dehumidifier between 2003 and 2013, it’s possible that it may be one of the models that are on the recall list. Contact your manufacturer immediately to find out if it poses a fire risk and if you are eligible for a refund or replacement.
Alternatively, you can also check the current list of recalled dehumidifiers by clicking here.
Why Are Dehumidifiers Such a Big Fire Risk?
One of the main reasons why dehumidifiers pose such a big fire risk is because they’re frequently placed out of residents’ sight. They are often quite noisy and need to be positioned close to a water outlet to ensure proper drainage.
When an electrical appliance is running semi-permanently and is mostly forgotten about because it’s never seen or heard, evidence of malfunction can’t always be detected before it’s too late.
Even dehumidifiers that aren’t inherently faulty are still a fire risk if they’re improperly used. When a dehumidifier is in a room that’s too small or lacks proper ventilation, the airflow will be restricted. As a result, the appliance can’t cool itself so it overheats, often causing a fire.
The same outcome is possible when the dehumidifier is positioned or installed in an area where its grills are blocked. This will also result in a compromised airflow and significantly increase the risk of fire.
When do You Need to Call a Dehumidifier Fire Lawyer?
If you or a member of your family has been injured in a fire that was caused by a dehumidifier, it is possible that you can sue a number of parties. The same can be said for suffering damage to your property.
Of course, the validity of each case depends on its unique circumstances, and a lawyer will need to assess whether there is legal recourse.
If a fire in your home or place of work was caused by a dehumidifier, contact a lawyer as soon as possible so that the details can be analyzed and your options explained to you by a legal professional.
Having said that, there are certain conditions where compensation is more likely than others.
Spontaneous Appliance Combustion
If the dehumidifier was installed correctly, plugged into a properly functioning electrical outlet, and no other source for the fire could be found, it’s possible that the unit itself was at fault for the malfunction and resultant fire.
If your lawyer and other experts find this to be the case, you will be able to sue the dehumidifier’s manufacturer as well as the seller.
Inadequate Warnings or Usage Instructions
In some cases, the dehumidifier may have caused a fire because it was improperly used or installed. If this was the case, a lawyer would assess the instructions that accompanied the unit to see if it contained enough information to prevent the fire.
If any appliance has a risk of starting a fire, it is the responsibility of the manufacturer or the seller to ensure that you, the consumer, are properly informed. If not, they can be sued for inadequately communicating risk and how to avoid it.
If your dehumidifier was installed by the manufacturer, retailer, or a third-party vendor, it is their responsibility to ensure that proper safety protocols are followed.
Your lawyer will be able to assess whether the party responsible for installation did so with sufficient attention to the risk of fire and did what they could to avoid it.
Under certain circumstances, where it can be proven that this party ignored warnings and installation instructions, they could be held liable for damage or injury caused by the fire.
Recourse as a Renter
You don’t have to be the owner of the property, or the dehumidifier, to take legal action if the appliance caused a fire in your home.
If you are renting a property that contains a dehumidifier, it is the responsibility of the property owner to ensure that it functions properly.
Under certain circumstances, the property owner can be held liable if there is a fire caused by a faulty or improperly installed dehumidifier.
What are the Typical Legal Remedies for Fire Damage or Injury?
If it can be conclusively proven that the fire caused by a dehumidifier was not a result of your own personal negligence, there can be monetary compensation.
Whichever party is found to be at fault could be held responsible for hospital expenses, replacing damaged property, loss of earnings, legal costs, and even emotional stress.
Proving that you cannot be held liable for the event will be your lawyer’s primary purpose. There are many laws, like the “assumption of risk,” that are in place to protect defendants.
Your lawyer will advise you on the validity of your case and the likelihood of your chances prior to taking legal action.
In Closing – Contact a Lawyer as Soon as Possible
Dehumidifiers are a known source of fires in the United States.
Aside from some models that have inherent faults, they are potentially dangerous electrical appliances that need to be properly installed and maintained to lower the risk of a fire.
If your dehumidifier fire resulted in injury, damaged property, medical costs, or the loss of income, you should contact a lawyer as soon as possible.
A reputable and experienced dehumidifier fire attorney will be able to advise you on the ideal way forward to ensure that you are properly compensated for your losses.