When our dependence on air conditioners and ceiling fans soars, safety precautions often go by the wayside.
But while air conditioners and fans are essential for staying cool and comfortable in the sweltering summer heat, they come with a number of potential hazards. You may be surprised to learn just how many house fires are caused by air conditioning and fan equipment. According to the National Fire Protection Association, fans or air conditioners were responsible for an estimated 8,700 home fires in the US last year. These fires caused 30 deaths and more than $186 million in direct property damage.
Most air conditioner and fan fires occur due to a mechanical or electrical failure.
The top three causes include:
- Overuse, which causes heat buildup
- Lack of proper maintenance
- Poor wiring and other electrical issues
Fortunately, air conditioning and fan fires can be prevented with the proper maintenance and safety measures:
Central AC Safety Precautions
- Keep your air conditioner working safely and efficiently by scheduling annual maintenance every spring.
- Always hire a qualified, licensed technician to install and service any heating, ventilation, or air conditioning equipment.
- Don’t store anything within three feet of your indoor air handler unit.
- Make sure all of your supply and return vents are unblocked. Check behind furniture and drapes.
- Teach children to stay far away from your indoor and outdoor air conditioning units.
- Keep the access panels and covers on at all times. This applies to your indoor air handler, outdoor condenser unit, as well as the thermostat.
- Change your air filter every 60 days.
Window AC Safety Precautions
- When selecting your equipment, make sure it’s rated for the size of the space you want to cool.
- Never attempt to install or remove a window AC unit on your own. It’s best to have a professional install and remove your window units.
- Make sure the window and window frame are secure and in good condition.
- Do not plug your air conditioner into an extension cord or power strip. Your window unit should have its own dedicated outlet.
- Never position window units near water or where water is likely to be spilled.
- Clean or replace AC filters according to manufacturer instructions.
- Periodically inspect cords for damage, fraying, loose connections, and broken plugs. If you notice any damage, turn the unit off, unplug it, and replace the damage equipment.
- Make sure the unit is off before pulling the plug from the socket.
Fan Safety Precautions
- Only purchase fans that have been approved by a recognized, independent testing laboratory.
- Always follow manufacturer instructions.
- Keep fans away from water.
- Ensure that air intakes are not blocked.
- Never plug fans into an extension cord. Plug fans directly into outlets with sufficient electrical capacity.
- Periodically inspect cords for damage, fraying, broken plugs, and loose connections. Replace any damaged equipment before use.
- Don’t install ceiling fans yourself. Always rely on a trained electrical technician for .
You can see how important it is to keep your home cooling equipment in good condition and to trust its repair and maintenance to qualified technicians. If you have any problems, questions, or concerns about your cooling equipment, please .
About M.R. Electricians: Since 1996, M.R. Electricians has been serving the electrical needs of homeowners and businesses throughout Montgomery County, Washington, DC, Baltimore, and surrounding areas. The company also specializes in commercial fire protection, contract needs from small tenant fit outs to whole building installations, and motor controls for industrial spaces. From major renovations to the smallest of electrical jobs, the family-owned company is committed to providing high quality products, superior results, and unmatched customer service. Regarded as a leader in the electrical industry, M.R. Electricians has set the standard for excellence in the region. For more information, please visit the website at or call 301.871.0477.