It is rare for an air conditioner (AC) to start a fire, but it is possible under some circumstances. Below are some of the conditions that can trigger AC fire.
Poor Storage of Flammables
Some parts of the AC produce a lot of heat when the system is running. For example, the AC motor heats up during operation because it has moving parts that generate friction. The heat produced is usually manageable, but it can trigger a fire if highly flammable materials are kept near the AC. Car gasoline, for example, shouldn't be stored near the unit because it is highly flammable.
Overworking the AC
As mentioned above, the AC produces some manageable heat when it is operating. However, the heat can become too much and even trigger a fire if the AC is overworked. Below are some of the things that can overwork your AC:
- Running an AC with a clogged air filter that restricts airflow.
- Running an undersized AC that struggles to produce adequate cool air for your house.
- Running an AC with low refrigerant (for example, due to refrigerant leakage) overworks the system since it won't have enough refrigerant to carry away the heat.
- Running an AC with poor air circulation—for example, if the outside unit is blocked by bushes.
- Running an AC with malfunctioning parts, such as damaged fans, that can't circulate air efficiently.
In short, anything that forces the AC to run harder than the system was designed to run is dangerous. The overworking can overheat some parts of the system, such as the motor, which can trigger a fire outbreak if the situation is not fixed in time.
Electrical Malfunctions or Mistakes
Lastly, electrical malfunctions can trigger fires in all electrical appliances, including ACs. Below are some of the specific electrical issues that can trigger fire:
- Using damaged wires, such as those with missing insulation; this can trigger a short circuit and cause an electrical fire.
- Using an extension cord for the AC; a mismatch between the AC power demands and the cord's electrical rating can lead to overheating and fire outbreaks.
- Running an AC power cable under a material, such as a carpet, that hinders heat dissipation and can lead to cable damage.
Anything that causes electrical short circuits, overheating, and electrical overloads can cause an electrical fire.
As you can see, you need to be really careful with your AC if you don't want to experience disasters such as AC fires. Ensure you regularly service the system to keep problems at bay. Contact an air conditioning repair company to learn more.