WASHINGTON, D.C. — Water heater manufacturer GSW Industries Inc. and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission announced a voluntary recall of S.I.T. gas temperature controls on GSW water heaters. The gas controls were manufactured in Mexico by S.I.T. Manufacturing N.A.S.A. de C.V. The water heaters were manufactured in Canada.
The company and CPSC advised consumers to stop using recalled products immediately unless otherwise instructed. The controls pose a potential burn hazard from ignition flashback or an increase in tank water temperature.
GSW of Fergus, Ontario, Canada, said 13,000 units are in the United States.
No incidents or injuries have been reported in the United States. In Canada, where 140,000 units were sold, 45 incidents were reported, including 15 reports of minor burns.
The recall involves GSW water heaters with S.I.T. model 650 AC4 gas/temperature controls. The temperature control knobs on GSW propane water heaters are red and the control knobs on GSW natural gas water heaters are blue. The controls can be found on GSW water heaters with serial numbers ranging from 0202694162 to 0304507825.
The water heaters were sold by appliance distributors from February 2002 through April 2003 for between $150 and $550.
GSW has a series of recommendations for installing a GSW water heater with an S.I.T. AC4 gas control valve in the identified group, or re-lighting the pilot light.
The installer should make sure that the water heater contains cool water prior to lighting the pilot by opening a hot water faucet near the water heater and allowing the water to run for five minutes. He should close the faucet.
The installer should turn the gas/temperature control knob clockwise to the maximum (“very hot”) setting, and then slowly turn the knob back counterclockwise to the pilot position, indicated by the yellow button. He should listen for the main valve to close with a popping or snapping sound, which is different from the clicking sound that the knob makes as it’s turned.
If the contractor hears the popping sound, then the valve is working properly. The contractor should then read and follow the installation and operating instructions.
If the plumber does not hear the popping sound, then the valve is faulty and must be replaced. He should not attempt to light the pilot.
If the unit has been stored or is being installed in a cold environment and the main valve does not close before the knob is turned back to the pilot position, the gas control valve must be warmed up to a temperature above freezing. Once warmed up, the installer should repeat the previously described procedure. If the gas control valve does not close (popping sound), he should replace the valve.
If the water is too hot or if the temperature and pressure relief valve opens, the installer should turn down the temperature using the temperature control. If the water still remains too hot or the temperature and pressure relief valve continues to open, the valve should be replaced.
More information is available between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Eastern time Monday through Friday from GSW at 800-263-3502 and from S.I.T. Controls USA at 704-369-2810.