FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

February 15, 1996

 

Release # 96-070


WASHINGTON, D.C. - In cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), White-Rodgers, a division of Emerson Electric Co., St. Louis, Mo., is replacing certain White-Rodgers Model 37 and 37C natural gas water heater temperature controls manufactured between March 1994 and October 1994. Soot can build up on the water heater burner, presenting a fire hazard. Approximately 1.6 million valves were manufactured during this period.

White-Rodgers has received 32 reports of such sooting. Twenty-three of these reports alleged charring or fire, but there have been no injuries.

The temperature controls resemble a small metal box located above the access panel door of the natural gas water heater. A white label located on the right side of the box contains the model number, which begins with the number "37." Retail distributors and independent servicers have installed the controls since April 1994.

Consumers should check their water heaters for signs of malfunction. Signs that the heater should be inspected include: discoloration or black soot on the lower outside surface on the front, sides or back of water heater; a pilot flame that keeps extinguishing; or an unusual burning odor around the water heater.

Consumers who own water heaters with these signs should use a mirror to identify the date code located in the upper left corner on the back of the metal box. Consumers who own controls with dates code 9412 to 9440 (12th week of 1994 to 40th week of 1994) should call White-Rodgers at (800) 426-3503 to arrange for a qualified service technician to inspect and, if necessary, replace the control free of charge.

Warning!: DO NOT attempt to replace the gas water heater temperature control or service the water heater if you are not specifically trained to do this. Natural gas may leak from the control, and if ignited, could catch fire. CPSC and White Rodgers remind consumers to always keep the area immediately surrounding gas water heaters free of combustible materials.