FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE  
May 18, 1984  
Release # 84-034
 

Washington, D.C. -- The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission in cooperation with Robertshaw Controls Company announced today that Robertshaw has offered to pay $150 to consumers who replace certain old liquid propane gas water-heating systems with new LP gas water-heating units. Robertshaw indicated that because of their age, critical parts of the safety control on some older systems can ultimately wear out, leading to a potentially dangerous condition.

Known as the Unitrol A-l series, the safety controls were manufactured between 1946 and 1955 and last distributed in 1960. The firm reports that 475,000 LP-type controls were produced. These controls have been involved in explosions and fires in which there have been deaths, personal injuries, and property damage. The Company has records of 24 incidents involving 33 injuries and 7 deaths occurring during the 38-year period from 1946 to present Fewer than 1,000 controls of the 475,000 LP-type controls produced are believed to remain in service. Control valves used in water heaters fueled by natural gas are not involved in this program.

The Unitrol A-l series was produced in several styles. Most feature two dials and may carry the name "Unitrol" and "Robertshaw-Grayson," or the name "RUDD". Controls are approximately 3"wide, 3" deep and 5 l/2" long. The dials may vary in shape and size and may be painted, chrome-plated, or a combination of these shapes. They can be seen from outside the water heater and can be easily identified by consumers and/or LP suppliers.

Robertshaw is engaging in this program in an effort to remove the controls from service. Consumers will have to replace the entire water heater in order to be compensated.

Because replacement controls are no longer available, Robertshaw is reimbursing consumers presently using these controls $150 to help defray the cost of purchasing a new water-heating system.

Robertshaw also is undertaking a consumer and trade advertising program to further assist owners in the identification of affected valves. Consumers who find that they are using one of these controls should have a new water-heating system installed immediately by their LP gas distributor, dealer or other authorized representative.

Consumers may get information from the CPSC toll-free Hotline at 800-638-CPSC. The teletypewriter number for the hearing impaired is (301) 595-7054.

NOTE: This release refers to a different valve than discussed in Release 84-32.