These water heaters have started house fires. That's why 616,000 have been recalled

2018-11-11 | The Miami Herald

Nov. 10--The problem with 616,000 A.O. Smith Ultra-Low NOx water heaters, sold under seven brand names including Kenmore and Whirlpool, isn't that they don't heat water.

The problem, as stated in the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recall notice, is "The water heater's gas burner screen develops tears. The water heater's burner can then create excess radiant heat, posing a fire hazard if the water heater is installed directly on a wood or other combustible floor."

And this has happened six times, the notice states. Which is why those with the recalled water heaters are asked to turn them off and contact A.O. Smith for a free repair.

To see if a water heater is included in this recall, check the serial number, which is on the data plate next to the gas control valve. Serial numbers with the first four digits between 1115 and 1631 are included. To double check, go to and put in the model and serial number.

While A.O. Smith made the water heaters, they were sold under seven different brands from April 2011 through December 2016. Customers who have it under the Whirlpool, U.S. Craftmaster or American Water Heater brands can call 866-854-2793 from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Those with the heater under Kenmore, A.O. Smith, Reliance or State brands can call 866-880-4661 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Eastern time, Monday through Friday, or 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays.

The water heaters work off natural or propane gas and have 30, 40 or 50-gallon tanks. Most were sold in California, since they were designed to work inside certain California air quality districts.