More than 1.3 million Kidde smoke detectors and combination smoke detector/carbon monoxide alarms are being recalled due to a risk that they may fail to warn consumers of a fire or the presence of carbon monoxide gas.
The Kidde Smoke Alarm and Combination Smoke/CO alarm recall was announced by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) on September 11, after it was determined that the alarms may fail in a power outage.
The alarms are hardwired, designed to be linked into a home’s electricity. Kidde has said that the problem involves a programming code error.
“If a power outage occurs at the same second that a unit is performing a sensor health check, the units may go into a ‘latched’ mode, causing them not to alert to the presence of smoke. It will sound if it receives a signal from an alarm in the same interconnected system,” the company explained in a FAQ about the recall (PDF). “Once power is restored, a latched unit will sound an alert, regardless of the presence of smoke or carbon monoxide, until power to the alarm is completely removed.”
This could cause consumers to remain unaware of a fire during an outage, or high levels of carbon monoxide, which is a significantly toxic gas that has no irritating factors that can allow someone to detect its presence.
Because people often fail to promptly recognize symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, exposure is a leading cause of fatal poisonings in the United States.
The recall affects Kidde AC/DC Powered Residential Smoke Alarms and Combination Smoke/CO Alarms, models KN-COSM-IBA, a combination box and clamshell model manufactured from October 22, 2013 through May 13, 2014; i12010SCO, a combination box model with a 10 year back up battery manufactured from December 30, 2013 through May 13, 2014; and model i12010S, a smoke alarm with 10 year back-up battery manufactured from December 18, 2013, through May 13, 2014.
About 1.2 million affected units were sold in the United States, with another 112,000 were sold in Canada.
The alarms were sold at Home Depot, Menards, City Electric Supply and other retailers, as well as online at Amazon.com, HomeDepot.com and shopKidde.com from January 2014 through July 2014 for between $30 and $50. They were manufactured by Frynetics Ltd. of Hong Kong and imported by Walter Kidde Portable Equipment Inc. of Mebane, North Carolina.
The CPSC recommends that consumers call Kidde at (844) 553-901 or visit the company’s website at www.kidde.com for more information and to have affected units replaced.