Water heaters recalled due to fire hazard

Officials are recalling more than a half-million water heaters after determining that their gas burner screens can develop tears, posing a fire hazard.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a recall last week of about 616,000 A. O. Smith Ultra-Low NOx water heaters manufactured from April 8, 2011, to Aug. 1, 2016.

“The water heater’s gas burner screen develops tears,” officials said in a recall notice. “The water heater’s burner can then create excess radiant heat, posing a fire hazard if the water heater is installed directly on a wood or other combustible floor.”

Under recall are the 30-, 40- and 50-gallon natural or propane gas-fired Ultra-Low NOx emission gas water heaters. Most of them were sold in California under the American, A. O. Smith, Kenmore, Reliance, State, U.S. Craftsmaster and Whirlpool brand names.

Officials said the brand name and the model and serial numbers can be found on a data plate next to the gas control valve or thermostat on the water heaters.

The serial numbers of the recalled water heaters begin with numbers between 1115 and 1631, officials said.

Employees of the Milwaukee-based A. O. Smith Corp. have received six reports of fires stemming from the water heaters in cases where they were installed on a combustible surface, officials said. No injuries have been reported.