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Lawsuit for a fire caused by humidifier

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  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,447
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    Paul Harvey used to say "and now for the rest of the story".
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • RayWohlfarth
    RayWohlfarth Member Posts: 1,518
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    @Jamie Hall You are so correct Loved Paul Harvey
    Ray Wohlfarth
    Boiler Lessons
  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,546
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    I find it hard to believe the insurance company will win. Unless there are other similar incidents with same humidifier. Using as directed doesn’t mean it was not abused as far as the cord, or cleaning it.

    For 150k Sunbeam may just settle out of court, or drag the insurance company through the mud to proclaim victory, and avoid huge recalls for their product. Never know.

    Solid_Fuel_Man
  • johncharles
    johncharles Member Posts: 50
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    Last fall I was thinking I might get a heated blanket, started looking at amazon reviews for the sunbeam one which is the "choice." At the time easily half of the reviews were, the wires frayed and it started melting/got much too hot and started smoking, etc...

    Needless to say I did not ever buy an electric blanket, but if that product is any indication of the quality of sunbeam products this lawsuit might be the spearhead for many house fires caused by sunbeam products.
  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,546
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    Electric blankets are tough to prove they were not miss used/handled improperly.

    I know of one person who awoke to flames at the foot of their bed from an electric blanket. Brand I don't know, but they didn't file a lawsuit.

    It's surprising anyone wants to take the risk of producing anything that could present the slightest danger to the consumer anymore.
  • Zman
    Zman Member Posts: 7,573
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    Today's culture has quite an appetite for cheap electronics and appliances. The UL does not appear to be very effective in keeping unsafe appliances off the market. The NEC has stepped up to mitigate the problem by requiring GFI's and Arc Faults in critical areas. This doesn't help much in older buildings with regular circuit breakers that won't even trip at their design voltage.
    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
    Albert Einstein
    IronmanGordy
  • Solid_Fuel_Man
    Solid_Fuel_Man Member Posts: 2,646
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    About 5 years ago my BIL came home on his lunch break to let his dogs out and eat some leftovers. He said when he opened the door he smelled something funny. Went into the living room and saw light smoke coming from his 6month old wall hung TV. He said in the 30 seconds it took him to see it and unplug the TV it started to billow smoke. Mind you that the TV was not on and no one was home.

    He returned it to Sears and they "sent it in for factory warranty" he got a call about a week later and they told him to come in and get a brand new TV off the shelf.

    I've contended that household appliances are pretty much all a fire waiting to happen. We unplug all kitchen appliances when not in use. The toaster especially scares me, just sitting there... I'll take a bet that a simple fast blow glass fuse which costs a total of $0.25 to install would prevent many fires.
    Serving Northern Maine HVAC & Controls. I burn wood, it smells good!
  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,546
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    Or my GE profile dishwasher that melted because the heating element stuck on............thank god it was a ss tub.
  • RayWohlfarth
    RayWohlfarth Member Posts: 1,518
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    wow those are some scary stories @Solid_Fuel_Man You may be right. Anything plugged in can catch fire
    Ray Wohlfarth
    Boiler Lessons
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,785
    edited December 2018
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    > @Solid_Fuel_Man said:
    > About 5 years ago my BIL came home on his lunch break to let his dogs out and eat some leftovers. He said when he opened the door he smelled something funny. Went into the living room and saw light smoke coming from his 6month old wall hung TV. He said in the 30 seconds it took him to see it and unplug the TV it started to billow smoke. Mind you that the TV was not on and no one was home.
    >
    > He returned it to Sears and they "sent it in for factory warranty" he got a call about a week later and they told him to come in and get a brand new TV off the shelf.
    >
    > I've contended that household appliances are pretty much all a fire waiting to happen. We unplug all kitchen appliances when not in use. The toaster especially scares me, just sitting there... I'll take a bet that a simple fast blow glass fuse which costs a total of $0.25 to install would prevent many fires.

    Personally I would think the toaster is fine, is actually designed to get got and they are generally very simple.

    That said, here's the GFCI I had on my 1933 fridge since 2015. This happened on its own, no one hit it and there was no damage inside.

    Cheap brittle plastic that didn't age well.


    That said it's my opinion home appliances have always been made overly cheap.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
    Solid_Fuel_Man
  • Leonard
    Leonard Member Posts: 903
    edited December 2018
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    GFI has got to be good ....is says passed :)


    Problem too is these days China is counterfeiting the UL label on things they make.

    In TVs I believe the switching power supply stays on all the time to power the IR remote receiver, but just runs at a very low duty cycle. The older ones just use a separate small regular transformer.

    You can tell if it has switcher power supply if you put a $20 kill-a-watt meter on TV plug. When off my Sony pic tube TV will draw no watts for ~ 30-45 seconds, then ~ 3-4 watts for ~ 5-15 seconds, then repeat.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,785
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    > @Leonard said:
    > GFI has got to be good ....is says passed :)
    >
    >
    > Problem too is these days China is counterfeiting the UL label on things they make.
    >
    > In TVs I believe the switching power supply stays on all the time to power the IR remote receiver, but just runs at a very low duty cycle. The older ones just use a separate small regular transformer.
    >
    > You can tell if it has switcher power supply if you put a $20 kill-a-watt meter on TV plug. When off my Sony pic tube TV will draw no watts for ~ 30-45 seconds, then ~ 3-4 watts for ~ 5-15 seconds, then repeat.

    Your Sony pic tube TV.........
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • Bob Harper
    Bob Harper Member Posts: 1,040
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    Plaintiff would have to sue under one of several legal theories: strict liability, implied warranty of merchantability or fitness for particular purpose going after mfr. and wholesaler or negligence against installing and service contractors. As stated, difficult to prove in strict liab. as would have to show problem was a reasonably foreseeable problem under conditions of use by a reasonable and prudent person or that mfr. knew about the defect. To get contractors would have to prove 4 parts of negligence: duty to act, damages, act or omission and proximate case. If installed and serviced correctly only way contractor could be negligent would be if this unit was known defective but he sold, installed or kept servicing anyway. Still everyone gets an invite to the party. Yes, these usually settle for a % of total loss. To bring in contractor would have to prove comparative negligence and get a cut from his insurance. Otherwise, it would fall on the mfr.
    GordySolid_Fuel_Man
  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,546
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    Plaintiff would have to sue under one of several legal theories: strict liability, implied warranty of merchantability or fitness for particular purpose going after mfr. and wholesaler or negligence against installing and service contractors. As stated, difficult to prove in strict liab. as would have to show problem was a reasonably foreseeable problem under conditions of use by a reasonable and prudent person or that mfr. knew about the defect. To get contractors would have to prove 4 parts of negligence: duty to act, damages, act or omission and proximate case. If installed and serviced correctly only way contractor could be negligent would be if this unit was known defective but he sold, installed or kept servicing anyway. Still everyone gets an invite to the party. Yes, these usually settle for a % of total loss. To bring in contractor would have to prove comparative negligence and get a cut from his insurance. Otherwise, it would fall on the mfr.

    I nominate @Bob Harper legal consultant on the wall :)

    Bob HarperSolid_Fuel_Man
  • RayWohlfarth
    RayWohlfarth Member Posts: 1,518
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    @Gordy I second it All in favor say aye
    Ray Wohlfarth
    Boiler Lessons
  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,546
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    Aye
  • Solid_Fuel_Man
    Solid_Fuel_Man Member Posts: 2,646
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    Aye
    Serving Northern Maine HVAC & Controls. I burn wood, it smells good!