Each year, there are over 7,000 reported instances of fire involving air conditioners, fans or related equipment resulting in over $200 million in property damage and in some serious cases, death. Fires, among other problems caused by air conditioning equipment, can be devastating. Take these safety tips into consideration as the weather heats up and home cooling is your priority.
Keep the space around your unit clear
Always maintain the space around your outdoor unit. Trim any bushes or trees that have grown too close to your outdoor HVAC equipment (about 3 ft. at a minimum). Be sure to keep grass clippings, leaves and other debris away from the system so it doesn’t get clogged.
Schedule AC maintenance
Now, before it gets too warm, is the best time to schedule AC maintenance. Your equipment will be cleaned and inspected in order to detect and fix problems before they occur.
Always call a professional for repairs
If your air conditioning stops working, don’t attempt to fix it yourself. If you don’t know exactly what you are doing, trying to fix your AC without a professional can not only be dangerous but can cause even further damage to the equipment, costing you more in the long run.
Don’t overuse the machine
Many air conditioning fires are caused by overuse, when the equipment is on 24 hours a day and gets overheated. When possible, turn off your unit to give it a break.
Make sure your equipment isn’t too close to a power line
Air conditioners need to be installed at least 3 ft. away from any outdoor antenna or power lines that connect to appliances, TVs, phones, radios or security systems.
Minimize the use of window units
Window units cause more than half of air conditioning related fires. If possible, minimize your use of them. If you do need to use a window unit, make sure it’s installed correctly by a professional, safely secured, on its own breaker and using its own cord, not an extension cord.
Check detectors and buy a fire extinguisher
In case of fire, be prepared. Check your smoke detectors regularly (there should be one on each floor at a minimum) to ensure they are working properly. Keep a fire extinguisher in the garage and inside your home at all times and be sure to teach all members of your family how to use it correctly.
Don’t ignore the warning signs
If you think, for any reason, that there is a problem with your air conditioner, don’t hesitate to call a professional. Pay careful attention to notice things such as strange smells, puddling, etc. to try and catch problems before they become disastrous.
Follow these safety tips to keep you and your family out of harm’s way this spring and summer!