Air conditioning is integral to the lifestyle of homeowners in Tampa and other hot, humid places across the country. However, improper operations often cause HVAC units to catch fire. According to the Home Structure Fires report by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), air conditioners were responsible for an average 2,800 fires annually between 2011 and 2015. Apart from 78 million in property damages, the fires injured 140 civilians and led to the loss of life in at least 20 instances. Most AC fires result from overheating due to a variety of reasons such as a short circuit in the wiring, and voltage fluctuation. A few precautionary measures would help you detect and address issues that might result in a house fire:
1. Keep Your AC Clean and Well-Maintained at All Times
Chances are you run your air conditioning system ragged during hot summer days. And while the AC air filters within the indoor unit are designed to collect dirt and dust particles, they must be cleaned once every two weeks. In more polluted or dusty environments, it is imperative that you clean the filters more regularly. Otherwise, pollutants and particles might find their ways inside key components, such as fins, coils, and air vents, and block regular airflow, thereby increasing the risk of catching fire.
Also, contact the technician about performing AC maintenance on a quarterly basis. Otherwise, overworking a cooling unit that is not thoroughly maintained exerts tremendous strain on the electrical system and may result in combustion.
2. Avoid Experimenting With AC Placement and Wiring
The electrical load of your AC is a lot greater than laptops, microwaves, and other appliances. Thus, the placement of the system is a major safety consideration for your household. While AC professionals can manage the condenser effectively, homeowners must adopt suitable precautions while operating the indoor unit. The location of your AC matters since active fire protection measures, like smoke detectors, must be present nearby. For added measure, make sure the device does not rest on anything unstable or sensitive.
Proper wiring is also a necessity in the home environment. Many households block fuse trips or use oversized fuses to power air conditioning equipment. But this is a recipe for disaster. Never make the mistake of hooking your cooling system to an extension cord. The electrical load is enough to melt the insulation and start a fire.
Hire an experienced AC technician to determine the correct placement and wiring for your model. Sure, consultation and installation will cost some money, but it is a small price to pay for the safety of your loved ones and property.
3. Never Stock Flammable Items Close to the AC
Combustible materials such as paper, dry leaf piles, gasoline, and other debris should never be stored near the air conditioner. You never know when they might catch fire! To be on the safe side, keep the area around your cooling unit free of any debris or materials. If you have no choice but to keep items close to your machine, maintain a distance of at least three feet.
4. Beware of Faulty Components
It is a bad idea to neglect your AC for a long period because you have no way of knowing which parts are malfunctioning. For example, if the condition of the AC fan deteriorates and it comes to a halt, the internal temperature of the system may soar uncontrollably. When this happens, the first things to go are the combustibles near the heating tubes. To avoid such a predicament and jeopardize the security of your family and home, get your system checked by a professional regularly and replace faulty components immediately.
Preventing AC fire doesn’t have to be difficult. With the simplest precautions, you can stop the fire before it starts. So, never leave anything to chance. Find a good air conditioning service center in Tampa or a location near you and get your system checked regularly. Not only will this extend the lifespan of your AC unit, but it will also protect your home against future fire hazards.