400,000 solar-powered umbrellas sold at Costco recalled due to fire hazard

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Federal safety agencies say more than 400,000 solar-powered umbrellas sold exclusively at Costco are being recalled because they pose risks of overheating and fire.

Outdoor furniture maker SunVilla said the recall applies to its 10-foot solar LED market umbrellas, sold at Warehouse Club from December 2020 to May 2022, which cost between $130 and $160. An umbrella’s arm has LED lights, and the fire hazard is linked to the lithium-ion batteries contained in the round, black, solar panel battery puck that sits on top of the umbrella, labeled either “YEEZE” or “YEEZE” is marked 1.”

The company has received at least six reports of the risk of overheating, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said on Thursday. In five incidents, the solar panels or the umbrella caught fire. And one injury from smoke inhalation was reported.

“Consumers should stop using the umbrellas immediately,” the agency said in a press release. Customers are advised to remove the solar panel puck immediately, store away from the sun and flammable materials, and avoid charging with a power adapter.

Customers may return the item to any Costco warehouse for a full refund or contact SunVilla at 866-600-3133 or get refund instructions online. Both SunVilla and Costco contact known customers.

SunVilla also received an overheating report in Canada and issued a recall for the 33,000 umbrellas sold in that country from January 2021 to May 2022.

Lithium-ion batteries are commonly used in most electronic devices, including smartphones, hand-held power tools, and electric vehicles. The lithium-ion battery market has grown significantly as the demand for electric bikes and electric cars has increased.

Last year, the White House pushed for a national network of electric vehicle charging stations as a basis for reducing carbon emissions. The global lithium-ion battery market was valued at US$36 billion in 2020 and is expected to reach US$193 billion in 2028, a market report showed.

On the other hand, the batteries are sensitive to high temperatures and are inherently flammable. “Lithium-ion batteries store a large amount of energy and can be a hazard if not properly managed,” the New York Fire Department said social media.

In April, the department warned the public about the proper handling of lithium-ion batteries after the batteries sparked four light electric vehicle fires in New York City, injuring dozens. “If using a lithium battery, follow the manufacturer’s charging and storage instructions. Always use the manufacturer’s cable and power adapter that are made specifically for the device. If a battery overheats, discontinue use immediately,” the department wrote.