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Warning Issued For 3 In 1 Type Bathroom Units

Safety Warning Issued For 3 In 1 Type Bathroom Units

Voluntary product warning for 3 in 1 bathroom heat, light and fan units

Auckland, 10 August 2004 - Australian company IXL Pty Limited and Auckland based HPM NZ Limited, have today issued a joint safety warning for their, superseded models of 3 in 1 type bathroom heat, light and fan units.

A potential safety issue which is isolated to these superseded models.(IXL Tastic 2 or 4 lamp standard unit (excluding "EasyDuct" and HPM models R622/2A - 4 heat lamp unit and R622/1A - 2 heat lamp unit).

The companies are asking those with such units to contact a special information line (0800 224 255) so that arrangements can be made to remedy the problem at the companies cost.

The Energy Safety Service has reported a general increase in overheating in bathroom heat lamp units since the introduction of ducting systems to meet the requirements of the revised building code.

Three criteria have been identified that must be present before there is the potential for the units to overheat:

(a) unit is an IXL Tastic 2 or 4 lamp standard unit (excluding "EasyDuct") or an HPM unit purchased between July 2002 and December 2003; and
(b) unit is ducted to the outside (not venting directly into a roof space); and
(c) the fan does not turn on automatically when heat lamps are turned on.

The product alert applies only where these units have been ducted to the outside rather than into the roof space (a requirement of the new NZ building ventilation standards). Some units may still be vented directly into the roof space.

The potential problem arises because the heat lamps in these superseded models can be turned on without the fan. Heat can potentially build up in the ducting on these older units if the fan is left off but the heat lamps are left switched on for a considerable period of time.

Scott Simpson, General Manager, HPM NZ Limited says that while the potential risk is low, his company is ensuring that every attempt is made to rectify it as quickly as possible.

"Consumer safety is our number one priority. We are locating the units that may be affected as quickly as we can.

"After consulting with the New Zealand Energy Safety Service, they confirmed that there has been a general increase in overheating of 3 in 1 type bathroom units since the introduction of ducting. As a responsible market leader, HPM has acted to provide an effective solution along with IXL Appliances, another major manufacturer of similar 3 in 1 type bathroom units. However, other manufacturers have been less forthcoming and responsive.

"For our product, HPM has established that a simple rewiring, which ensures its units cannot operate without the fan being turned on, immediately eliminates the potential problem. This is a simple and quick job for an electrician to do, and HPM has organised for this to be done for all people with its models that may be affected," Simpson says.

"We would ask that all people with units who meet the criteria contact the special information line and arrange for their unit to be modified. In the interim, we would remind people that the heat lamps in the units should not be operated without also turning on the fan."

The voluntary safety warning will be published extensively throughout New Zealand and invites people with affected units to contact the information line on free phone 0800 224 255 for further advice on correct operational use. People with other brands other than IXL or HPM should contact their manufacturer to see how the problem is being dealt with.

The companies will continue to consult with the New Zealand Electrical Safety Service.


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