When a home inspector inspects a home, their goal and responsibility is to identify visible health or safety defects. Because there are millions of recalled products in the United States, it is not possible nor required by state law for home inspectors to identify recalled products in a home. At their discretion and without increasing the scope of their responsibilities, however, our inspectors may identify one or more recalled products if they are known safety hazards.
One type of recalled appliance that you should look out for are recalled Cadet or Encore in wall mounted electric heaters. Certain models of in wall mounted electric heaters made by Cadet (also branded as Encore) have been recalled due to potential electrical shock or fire hazards.
In February of 2000, Cadet and Encore brand heaters were recalled. The following models of Cadet and Encore brands were involved in the February 2000 recall:
These heaters are known to overheat and are a fire hazard. Reports include that flames, sparks, or molten particulates spew through the front grill cover, which can cause fire. In 2002, a four-year old boy died when one of the recalled heaters allegedly was involved in a house fire. In addition, the grill covers have been known to become energized, which is a potential electrocution hazard. You can visit the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission website for more information:
Remember that home inspectors are not required by state law to call out recalled appliances or materials, so there’s no guarantee that an inspection report will include information regarding a recalled electric heater. So how do you know if your home has a recalled in wall electric heater? The best way is to check the model number on any wall heater that may have been manufactured by Cadet or Encore. This can be done by carefully removing the front grill after turning off power to the unit. Since grill covers can become energized, power should be disconnected to prevent shock hazards. An easier way to identify the model number is to use a flashlight and look though the grill. You can usually find the model number by looking at the data plate in between the spaces at the grill cover.
Having a home inspection is the best way to find out about health and safety issues about a property that you’re looking to buy, but you should always do your own due diligence to educate yourself about potential recalled appliances or products in a home.
For more information, please check out this video about recalled Cadet heaters posted by a home inspector in Olympia, Washington.