Maytag Corp. said Tuesday that it has voluntarily recalled about 1.6 million refrigerators due to an electrical problem that could create a fire hazard.
The problem has led to 16 incidents ranging from smoke damage to major kitchen damage, Maytag said.
The company and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said the recall -- the nation's largest involving refrigerators, according to federal authorities, involves some Jenn-Air, Amana, Admiral, Magic Chef, Maytag, Performa by Maytag and Crosley side-by-side and top freezer refrigerators. They were sold from January 2001 through January 2004 at department and appliance stores and by homebuilders.
The refrigerators, which sold for $350 to $1,600, came in black, bisque, white and stainless steel. Those with bottom freezers are not included in the recall.
The recall notice said an electrical failure in the relay component that turns on the refrigerator's compressor can cause overheating and pose a serious fire hazard.
Maytag, a unit of Whirlpool Corp., said 41 refrigerator ignition incidents have been reported, with 16 resulting in various degrees of damage.
Consumers were advised to contact Maytag to find out if their refrigerator is included in the recall and to set up a free in-home repair. Its toll-free number is 866-533-9817.
The company said refrigerators should not be returned to the stores that sold them.
Benton Harbor, Mich.-based Whirlpool purchased Maytag in March 2006 in a $1.8 billion deal.