Maytag Recalls 1.6 Million Refrigerators

Maytag and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission today announced a voluntary recall of about 1.6 million refrigerators because of a fire hazard.

From Dow Jones Newswires:

Maytag, which was bought by Whirlpool Corp. (WHR) in 2007, said the recall affected Maytag, Jenn-Air, Amana, Admiral, Magic Chef, Performa and Crosley brand side-by-side and top-freezer refrigerators. Refrigerators with freezers on the bottom aren’t included in the recall.

The company said an electrical failure in the units’ relay, the component that turns on the refrigerator’s compressor, can cause overheating and a fire hazard. It said it has received 41 reports of relay ignitions, including 16 reports of property damage, including smoke damage.

Maytag said the refrigerators, which were made in the U.S., were sold between January 2001 and January 2004.

The company said consumers should contact it to determine if their refrigerators are affected and to schedule a free in-home repair.

Maytag and Korean manufacturer Samsung Electronics Co. (005930.SE) had to recall about 270,000 front-loading washing machines in 2007, also because of a fire hazard.

From the Associated Press:

The problem has led to 16 incidents ranging from smoke damage to major kitchen damage, Maytag said.

The Newton, Iowa-based company and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said the recall involves some Jenn-Air, Amana, Admiral, Magic Chef, Maytag, Performa by Maytag and Crosley side-by-side and top freezer refrigerators. They were sold from January 2001 through January 2004 at department and appliance stores and by homebuilders.

The refrigerators, which sold for $350 to $1,600, came in black, bisque, white and stainless steel. Those with bottom freezers are not included in the recall.

The recall notice said an electrical failure in the relay component that turns on the refrigerator’s compressor can cause overheating and pose a serious fire hazard.

Maytag, a unit of Whirlpool Corp., said 41 refrigerator ignition incidents have been reported, with 16 resulting in various degrees of damage.

Consumers were advised to contact Maytag to find out if their refrigerator is included in the recall and to set up a free in-home repair. Its toll-free number is 866-533-9817.

The company said refrigerators should not be returned to the stores that sold them.

Benton Harbor, Mich.-based Whirlpool purchased Maytag in March 2006 in a $1.8 billion deal.

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