The air conditioner has turned into a vital feature in our homes, which you probably use every day. Today there is no way we could endure summer heat without cool air inside our homes. However, did you know that if your AC is not working properly, it could lead to an air conditioner fire inside your home?
An air conditioner fire is more common than what you might think. According to a 2016 National Fire Report, annually, HVAC fires cause 20 deaths, around 140 injuries and property damage of $82 million. Experts in the report further say that if your air conditioner unit is overheated, it could turn into a fire hazard, putting your loved ones in danger.
We are sure the last thing you want is having your air conditioner be a fire hazard to your family. That’s why we will tell you how you can prevent this type of accident. The first step towards preventing an air conditioner fire at home is knowing the most common causes of an HVAC fire.
How does an air conditioner fire happen?
When you want to make sure an HVAC fire never occurs in your house, you need to look out for four main things: maintenance, overheating, wiring and flammable objects.
Our air conditioner units sometimes turn into something we take for granted, and we forget this is a feature that also needs maintenance to work properly and stay in safe conditions. Your air conditioner unit is a system that has different parts that ensure it is doing its job. With time these parts will become outdated, which then will cause your system to overwork, causing issues like blown AC fuses.
When you wait a long time to check your unit, this can turn your air conditioner into a fire hazard.
HVAC system and flammable objects
Your air conditioner interior is not the only thing that matters, other objects can also turn your air conditioner in a fire hazard. Then can air conditioners catch fire due to outside materials? The answer is yes. Even when you ensure maintenance is up to date, you need to create a safe space around your air conditioner.
Avoid placing it near decking, especially if it’s made of wood. Also, keep your plants away from your HVAC unit. In case your air conditioner system overheats, it won’t be near objects which could easily catch fire.
Overheating is one of the main causes that turn an air conditioner into a fire hazard. Different things can lead to overheating, such as items producing friction in your motor or having a dirty filter. Also, don’t have your air conditioning unit turned on all day long since this will only result in damage.
One of the most dangerous things that could cause an HVAC fire is the wiring. Even when you think installing wiring for your air conditioner unit is something you could do by yourself, we recommend hiring a professional. You need to understand even though this is another appliance in your home, is also one that needs unique care.
Your air conditioner system takes a lot of power to function properly, and with improper wiring, this power could turn into sparks. When you have bad wiring combined with flammable objects near your HVAC system, an air conditioner fire could ignite in minutes.
Now that we understand how your air conditioner becomes a fire hazard. We are going to give you 6 ways in which you can prevent an air conditioner fire. Following these simple steps, you will make sure your air conditioner is always in proper working condition.
6 ways to prevent an air conditioner fire
- Maintenance once or twice a year
As mentioned above, not having proper maintenance of your unit can lead to an HVAC fire, due to dirt obstructing the airflow. Also because with time, your system pieces will start failing, making your air conditioner overwork.
However, you don’t need several visits to keep your unit in good condition. It is recommended to have at least one visit a year, but if you want to be careful, two visits will do it.
In which seasons can air conditioners catch fire easier? The answer is in summer. Since this is the hottest season of the year, you don’t want your unit to overheat on an already hot summer day. It is best to check your unit at the beginning of summer or right in the middle when the harshest summer months start.
Most companies offer to track these visits for you. This way, you don’t have to keep maintenance in mind all year long.
- Professional installation
To be safe from the beginning it is better to hire a professional or company that can install the system in your house.
The advantage of having a professional install an air conditioner at your home is, they know how to place all the wiring. Further, when you have a window unit at home, they can make sure in case of a fire, it won’t ignite inside.
- Beware of outside elements and wiring
This goes together with hiring a professional who apart from proper installing, can assess the space surrounding your air conditioner has not flammable objects near. Also, to prevent any accident, never use an extension cord to power your unit. Since in case, your unit overheats, it could produce sparks on your cord.
Make sure your air conditioner unit is in a safe place. This means it shouldn’t be in a deck, which could turn the system into a fire hazard.
You can ensure all of this will be taken care of when hiring a professional. Yes, it might be an added expense but it will keep your family safe from an HVAC fire.
- Keep it clean
This is an important part of the regular maintenance you should do to your air conditioner unit. Ensure you don’t have a dirty filter with waste blocking the airflow. If you want to do this by yourself, make sure your system is unplugged. Then you can proceed to check if the air filter is clean as well as the fan. Keeping this machine clean is a huge factor in preventing an air conditioner fire and in the long run it will also reduce your bills.
If you don’t feel comfortable doing this by yourself, you can ask a professional to come to your house and clean it for you. This is the best way to do it because you will be sure your air conditioner is clean from top to bottom.
- Don’t leave it on all-day
As mentioned before, leaving your AC unit on all day can lead to overheating, which is one of the main causes of igniting a fire inside your home. We understand that probably in summer, you’ll want to have a cool ambiance inside your house. However, since you don’t want your unit to overheat it is better to turn it off during the hottest hours of the day. Instead, what you can do is have the AC on a couple of hours prior, which will create a fresh environment in your home.
Turning off your AC will maintain your HVAC in good condition, making it last longer.
- Know when to replace your unit
Over time, even with regular maintenance, your air conditioner unit will start aging. This means that the motor will degrade and will stop working at the same pace as before. You need to keep track of how old your air conditioner is, to know when it’s time to replace it. If you have any questions on this subject, ask a professional who can give you a complete evaluation of your air conditioner state.
Remember, if you want to change your HVAC unit to prevent an air conditioner fire, hire a professional. They will take out all the pieces that no longer work and replace them with new ones, following all the safety protocols.
There are several reasons why air conditioners could catch fire, from technical issues to external elements. However, it is important to keep in mind the ways in which we can prevent an air conditioner fire hazard, are easy to execute and will keep our family safe all year long. By following our 6 preventative steps, you will be able to enjoy the air conditioner at all times, making sure it is safe for your home.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding your HVAC unit, don’t hesitate, contact our team of experts. They will check your air conditioner unit is safe and they will also ensure you get regular maintenance preventing an HVAC fire.