The unofficial end of summer is near, but that hasn't stopped Mother Nature from turning up the heat. With many residents still dependent on their air conditioners, the following story should serve as a late-summer warning that even these units can be prone to fires.
This week, a family of eight was displaced from their Kansas home after an outdoor air-conditioning unit caught fire. Investigators deemed the fire accidental after they attributed the cause to the unit's faulty air compressor, according to the Topeka Capital-Journal. The family escaped the fire without any injury, but the home sustained structural damage from the incident.
NFPA has analyzed similar fires involving air-conditioning units. A 2012 report, for instance, states that in 2010, air conditioners, fans, or related equipment were involved in an estimated 7,400 reported U.S. fires that resulted in 29 deaths, 249 injuries, and $207 million in property damage.
The report, "Home Fires Involving Air Conditioning or Related Equipment," also provides the following safety tips:
- Use electric-powered equipment safely, in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions.
- Inspect and maintain electric-powered equipment regularly for safety.
- Make sure your equipment has the label showing that it is listed by a recognized testing laboratory.