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If you’ve replaced your old “dumb” thermostat with a nifty new programmable model — which is a great idea, by the way — you might want to check real quick to make sure it’s not a White-Rodgers model. The CPSC recently announced the recall of some White-Rodgers thermostats as they “constantly charge the backup AA batteries used to power the thermostat’s clock. This can cause the batteries to leak, resulting in a fire hazard.”

Affected thermostats will look like the one above, and will display model numbers of 1F88-XXX or 1F85RF-275 and date codes beginning with 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, or 1001 through 1039. About 180,000 of the thermostats were sold by wholesalers and/or distributed by “40 utility companies to consumers nationwide who took part in energy conservation programs.” Canadians got 8,300 of ’em, too.

If you have one of the affected models, contact White-Rodgers at (888) 624-1901 between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. CT Monday through Friday for a remedy.

Do not, however, let this turn you off from the idea of programmable thermostats. They’ll not only save you significant cash but also will help keep you much more comfortable. (I have two of them and wouldn’t trade ’em for anything.)

White-Rodgers Recalls Home Heating and Cooling Thermostats Due To Fire Hazard [CPSC]


4 Responses to Recall: White Rodgers Thermostats

  1. A1cntrler says:

    This is similar to the junk thermostat that the power company gave me as part of a pilot program. It had a radio receiver attached to it with a 2′ long antenna that allowed them to control my A/C on hot days and cycle it on and off as they saw fit. The thermostat was always way off and did not do a very effective job even in the winter when it was not cycled by the power company.

    I do not recall if those are the thermostats I left in the house when we sold it or not. I want to say that I think they are.

    My payment for allowing them to control the systems (yes, I had 2 zones in my house) was that I got to keep the thermostats when the test program was complete. I never noticed anything strange with the batteries on them while I had them.

  2. dave says:

    This is a strange recall, LOTS of NiMH and NiCd devices constantly recharge their battery, which in extreme cases could cause leaking but that does not cause fires.

    It would seem that it might recharge the cells at too high a rate, or ideally it wouldn’t recharge them at all since a humble alkaline could power the clock for years at a time, let alone rare occasions when the AC power is off, times when you don’t really even need the clock to work because it can’t turn your HVAC on when there is no AC power to run THAT.

  3. Chuck says:

    Ha figured so. A customer phoned me last December in the heating season complaining of no heat, when he said He replaced the thermostat the previous year I checked the fan control. Fan control was good, when I jumped R&W, the main valve opened it began heating. So I replaced this junk thermostat with a Honeywell PRO 4000 programmable (a similar one that is good quality). No problems, I came back in a few months later to replace the old furnace with a Lennox EL-195UH. He has never been happier.

    I have noticed on old Gas Valves (standing pilot) the White Rodgers 36C03 Gas valves I have to change 2-3 times over 4 years, whereas I would only have to install 1 Honeywell VR80…Gas valve and it would last quite awhile. Not to mention Rheem water heaters and John-wood changed over to Honeywell gas valves since the White Rodgers Intelli vent ones were absolute junk. I had one of those Intelli vent gas valves fail on a new water heater 1 yr after installation, just a day past warranty. Honeywell are superior, they are involved in not only missile systems, but the space station equipment as well. I trust Honeywell any day.

  4. Selena says:

    It’s great product with good price ( ~ $100)

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