News / Serene bathroom heater update

Serene bathroom heater update

April 18 2024

Energy Safety has extended its clampdown on Serene wall mounted bathroom heaters. These have been identified as not meeting New Zealand’s strict safety standards.

S2068 model

A prohibition notice was issued in February for the S2068 model, this encompassed specific serial numbers. This has now been extended to include all units of this particular model sold since June 2018.

The S2068 model is considered a significant fire risk, and should not be used at all.

This prohibits the importation, sale, installation, and most notably use of these heaters.

This model has been recommended for voluntary recall by MBIE

S207T/S2069 models

Further Gazette notices have now also been issued for all S207T models sold since January 2018, and S2069 models sold since June 2018

The prohibition notice for the S207T model restricts the sale and installation of these models

And the S2069 model has had deemed approval removed, due to being found non-compliant with New Zealand safety standards.

The S207T, and S2069 models are considered relatively low risk by Worksafe, but should be monitored closely.

These models have been recommended for voluntary recall by MBIE

Advice for consumers

  • Firstly, check which make and model of heater you have installed. A label can usually be found on the top of the heater with this information.
  • If you are still unsure which make and model you have installed call a quality assured Master Electrician to check for you.
  • If you have the S2068 model installed stop using this immediately, and contact your installer. If you are unsure of who this is contact a Quality Assured Master Electrician to remove. The replacement may be covered under the CGA however there may be a charge for the labour, please consult your electrician.
  • If you have either the S207T, or S2069 models installed, Worksafe considers these low risk for continued use. However, we recommend not leaving these units running unattended, and to monitor them closely. If you notice any unusual smell, or noise switch them off immediately, and contact your installer, or a Quality Assured Master Electrician.
  • Do not remove the heater yourself if it has been hard wired. This task should be undertaken by a professional.
  • Don’t drag in your general corded heater into the bathroom – water and electricity don’t mix and you could be putting yourself in danger.
  • Now’s a great time to check the condition of your electrical heating sources, coming into winter, there’s already been some issues with fires on Electric Blankets. Check it over yourself. If you’re unsure get in touch with a quality assured Master electrician.
  • If consumers need to have these removed and made safe, if you’re not sure who installed it, if you need someone to even check if your bathroom heater is safe you can get in touch with Master electricians on 0800 50 66 88 or email and we can put you in touch with a Quality Assured Master Electrician. Our website also has a find a Master Electrician Function.
  • We are aware faults have been discovered in several Serene fan heater models and we are currently devoting significant resources into reviewing the matter, including communicating with our members, as well as the suppliers and wholesalers of the products in question. Those communications are ongoing as of this afternoon.
  • We have also recently commissioned legal advice on the issue, particularly around responsibility for costs of replacement and/or reinstallation costs. Our lawyers are working on that on an urgent basis and inform us that we will receive that full advice next week.
  • The purpose of our statements in today’s article were to draw attention to the seriousness of the issue. While it is true that some electricians are meeting the costs of replacement/reinstallation, we cannot yet confirm our position while our investigations in to the matter are ongoing. Our aim with the above communications and legal advice is to return with a firm position on where responsibility for those costs lie, and the steps affected parties can take to recover those costs.
  • Master Electricians is giving this serious matter the urgency it deserves with the aim of providing a full response as soon as possible.

Advice for members

  • Compensation for the heater replacement for the S2068 model is covered by the Consumer Guarantees Act,  so no cost to the consumer.
  • Master Electricians is working at pace with its legal adviser, Ford Sumner, to deliver advice to members on their rights and obligations in respect of this issue.
  • Given the scale of the issue, we appreciate that each member business may be dealing with the situation differently. We are aware a key concern for many members is their ability to recover labour costs associated with the replacement of the faulty heaters. We can confirm this issue will be addressed in the advice, which will be provided to members within the next week.

What has happened?

Serene heaters were deemed a inexpensive and practical product for bathroom heating, they were widely available and hence why they have been fitted into a number of bathrooms in New Zealand.

Any electrical product being imported, sold, or used in must be electrically safe. These heaters were portrayed as such by Serene. Several fires caused by these heaters prompted an investigation by Worksafe. Subsequent testing revealed that this was not the case.

Master Electricians acknowledges that Worksafe, Energy Safety, and MBIE needed to undertake due diligence around the matter. In this time period the company responsible for importing these heaters ceased trading.

Beyond the notable safety concerns the repercussions for the industry are that wholesalers and retailers don’t have redress to claim back from a supplier who ceased trading in New Zealand. Our members and electrical contractors who have installed the affected products have no redress for the cost in uninstalling the recalled heaters and installing their replacements.

The situation has highlighted a glaring issue in the regulatory process for the electrical sector, where MBIE is not allowing the regulator for the electrical industry, Energy Safety, to keep safety regulations up to date, and regulate the electrical industry effectively. This has inherent repercussions in preventing issues, such as those we are currently experiencing.

There has been no significant update since 2013 to electrical safety regulations, and these issues will only worsen if MBIE does not act to let the regulator do what is necessary to maintain and improve electrical safety in New Zealand.

Furthermore, this highlights the need and importance of the Government engaging with industry associations regarding the recent announcement to make it easier and cheaper for construction to use overseas building products by loosening rules. Master Electricians has the ability to pull together industry stakeholders within the sector – wholesalers, retailers, suppliers, and manufacturers – to provide constructive feedback on how to ensure construction is more affordable without compromising the safety of New Zealanders.

For further information about the recall via Worksafe

Back to top