Kiwi mum warns of the dangers of wall heaters after her daughter's catches fire

omg 07/08/2018

A Christchurch mother has issued a warning after spotting a panel heater burning a hole in her daughter's bedroom wall late at night. 

At about 3am on Saturday morning Jessica Yardley and her husband Geoff were woken up by the cries of their two-year-old Rosabella.

They checked on their daughter and found the heater a red colour and overheating.

"The three of us all in her bedroom - and all of a sudden, the back of the heater started glowing - it took quite a minute to realise what was going on," Ms Yardley explained.

"Then we realised what was going on: the element had popped out of the back of the heater - it was just glowing right around the heater."

It turns out the Goldair wall heater had been recalled over a safety fault in November 2017. The supplier CDB believes there could be more heaters in homes all over the country. 

"We had no idea there was a recall of the panel heaters," Ms Yardley says.

"Some people received phone calls about heaters that have been recalled - there's a lot of people out there, but for whatever reason we haven't received anything."

Ms Yardley posted a warning on Facebook, which has now been shared more than 600 times. Many have commented saying they had no idea about the Goldair product recall. 

This is something Consumer NZ says is a common problem.

"We've got major concerns about how effective [recalls] are," Consumer NZ Head of Research Jessica Wilson says.

"On average, less that 50 percent of products are returned when asked to be recalled."

Ms Yardley says the family were very lucky.

"We just want to get the word out there - we just want to make sure everybody has a look at their panel heaters," she said.

"We were extremely lucky; a few more minutes, if she hadn't woken up, and it might have been a different story."

The panel heaters were sold between 2016 and 2017 at The Warehouse and Mitre 10, under the brand names Goldair, Living & Co, EcoSaver, Nouveau and Number 8.

The company involved, CDB, has urged customers to check the serial number on their units to find if their heater has been issued a recall.  CDB says it has replaced 10,000 heaters to date.

Faulty recalled products are a concern for Fire and Emergency New Zealand as well. Christchurch Fire Risk Management Officer Wayne Hamilton says if an incident like this happens, people should always call 111.

"Within three minutes, a whole wall could be on fire."

Homeowners and tenants should always check the appliances for any faults before putting them to use, Mr Hamilton says.

CDB has offered to pay for the Yardley's damage, but the Yardley family is just thankful they woke up before the heater broke into flames.