27 July 2010
Mitsubishi issues Ecodan recall after "explosion"
MITSUBISHI Electric UK has taken the unprecedented step of issuing a product safety recall after a component failure in one of its Ecodan air source heat pumps. The announcement follows what was described by local press reports as an 'explosion' in one of its heat pumps at a house in Chard, Somerset, on July 9.
No-one was injured but residents described hearing a loud bang and feeling their houses shake. The owner told the Chard News: 'It was a big explosion. I was in the bathroom and I opened the window to look outside and all this smoke started pouring in the house.'
The unit was described as a Mitsubishi external air source heat pump inherited by the Yarlington Housing Group when it took over the housing area last year.
Mitsubishi has blamed the problem on the power receiver component in the W85 unit that failed under pressure, seriously damaging the outdoor unit.
'We have installed more than 6,000 of these units in the UK over the last few years and have had a single component failure in one of our units,' explained John Kellett, general manager of the company's Domestic Heating Systems Department.
'We are very aware that any incident with a heat pump has the potential to undermine confidence and we wanted customers to realise just how much importance we place on product reliability and safety.'
This type of failure is only possible when the unit is operating, but should this happen whilst there is anyone in close proximity then there is the potential for injury and the company was not prepared to risk the possibility, however slight.
'We have examined the failed component in forensic detail, identified the supplier and manufacturing plant concerned and we have decided to err on the side of caution,' adds Kellett.
The recall affects all of the models (W50, W85, W90, HW140) except the W85 models produced in Scotland.
The model numbers affected are: PUHZ-W50VHA; PUHZ-W50VHA-BS; PUHZ W85VHA; PUHZ W85VHA-BS; PUHZ W90VHA; PUHZ-HW140VHA; PUHZ-HW140VHA-BS; PUHZ-HW140YHA; PUHZ-HW140YHA-BS and PUHZ-HW140YHA2-BS. All sales have been stopped with immediate effect.
Mitsubishi Electric is continuing to sell the popular medium-sized W85 units manufactured in Scotland (PUHZ W85VHA2-BS). These are manufactured using a different process and are not affected by the recall.
'Although we have had a problem with just one unit, we have taken the decision to replace all units that could potentially be affected because we want to be confident that this problem will not occur again,' explains Kellett.
Mitsubishi Electric is writing to everyone affected instructing them to switch their Ecodan unit off and use their immersion heater to supply their hot water for the time being. The company is also implementing a replacement programme with its installer base.
'This is obviously quite a task and it could mean that some customers may be without their heat pump for some weeks,' explains Kellett. 'We are doing everything we can to get a replacement heat pump installed as soon as possible.
We recognise the inconvenience this will cause and apologise sincerely.'
A dedicated webpage is being set up to help customers identify which models are affected at www.mitsubishielectric.co.uk/response-team.
The company has also set up a free telephone line for homeowners which is open from 8am - 7pm Monday to Saturday on 0800 783 1764. Special advisors will be able to help customers with any general queries about the recall and the replacement unit will come with a new 3-year warranty.
'The decision to undertake a recall on any of our products is not an easy one but product quality and safety remain paramount to everything we do,' explains Kellett. 'We know how something like this could damage faith in this growing market so we are doing everything possible to make this process quick and straightforward.'