Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Comfort Zone Heater Warning

Occasionally this blog deviates from the subject of running.

We recently did a calculation which showed that the cost of resistive electric heat was LESS than the cost of oil heat, the tipping point being about $2.50 per gallon of oil. So we bought an electric space heater for the TV room.

It's the Comfort Zone Model CZ40 two-speed 1500-watt fan heater with thermostat, made by Howard Berger Co., Inc., date code 0707CX, bought at a local Menards. We ran it on the porch for a while to burn off the "new" smell, and then put it to work, turned up high, for two or three hours last night.

This morning when we turned it on the "new" smell appeared once more. On closer examination, the heater was MELTING! The fan was running. The arrows in the picture show where the plastic is distorted from the heat. Click to enlarge.

Comfort Zone Model CZ40

When I touched the plastic at a distorted spot, it felt very soft but not very hot. I'm not a plastics engineer, but it's my opinion that the plastic has a melting point far too low for a 1500-watt heater. We had the heater on the floor, a foot in front of the TV furniture and four feet from any other obstructions; there was NO interference with air flow; we know better.

It's made in China, of course. It makes me wonder if the Chinese substituted a different plastic after Howard Berger's representatives left their plant. In any case, I sure won't be buying any more Howard Berger products.

Our unit is dangerous - DO NOT BUY THE COMFORT ZONE MODEL CZ40! If you have one, please check right away for softness in the plastic when turned up high.

11 comments:

peter said...

I have a heater that looks like that that someone gave me. I haven't used it yet. I'll check out its manufacture and then watch it very carefully, thanks to your experience. Glad you were observant with it.

Anonymous said...

Dear Don - if you are looking for an alternate heat source, try the REAL ComfortZone Infrared heater. Either the CZ1500 or CZ1000 lines will provide you with safe, therapeutic heat. You won't find this quality product at Menards but there are many authorized dealers online that sell and support this heater.

wjm said...

Dear Don,
I have a CZ446 Ceramic Heater that appears to be a black plastic similar to your heater. The 4 position switch melted in the on position. After your story I'm thinking the heater is better trashed than repaired.
bill

Anonymous said...

This one is not to be confused with the ComfortZone Infrared Heaters made by Earthwise Innovations.
Models CZ1500 or CZ1000. Those are awesome. I have a couple that heat my entire home exclusively and they are very safe and effective.

Doug said...

I bought a CZ446 at Dollar General and the side of it melted and it quit working thank God. They need to recall these heaters.

Don said...

Based on these comments, I personally wouldn't buy ANY heaters made by ComfortZone. There are lots of brands out there. Just say no.

Dani said...

I think I might have a newer or more updated model of that same heater and mine hasn't melted or anything like that. It could just be a coincidence that those couple were defective.

Anonymous said...

It is remarkable, very amusing message

bigchew77 said...

I have the same heater an it caught on fire

printingcraze@yahoo.com said...

I just bought a comfort zone heater at Family Dollar this past winter. I usually only use it on low 750 watts to get the chill out. However, someone must of put it on high and last night while at my desk I could smell melting plastic so I went to shut it off and the knob was melted right off. I am going to contact family dollar about this product they are selling. Buyer beware!!

Joseph Stafford said...

I just purchased a Living Solutions CZ40 from Walgreens this morning. It looks identical to the one in the picture and the fine print says made by Howard Berger, model no. CZ40. I've had it on high for 2 hours now. All the plastic and knobs and the power cord at the outlet so far have remained cool to the touch. The plastic is not getting soft. When I started the temperature at my desk was 60. It's now at 70. When it gets to 72 I will turn it down to low (750W) and set the thermostat. So far, no problems. I bought it on sale for $16.95.