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Uncool air conditioners fan flames this summer

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16 Feb 2018
Don’t let a cool breeze turn into a firey inferno.

That’s the message firefighters are spreading following a spike in air conditioning fires across Melbourne last month.

Between the warm summer months of November to January, MFB firefighters responded to 44 fires involving air conditioners, fans and evaporative coolers.

There was a spike in calls in January with 20 incidents recorded.

The majority of fires were sparked by central and other air conditioners, with fans and exhaust fans also an offender.

During one incident in November, occupants of a Hawthorn East apartment noticed a burning smell coming from their third floor balcony. On closer inspection, they saw flames spouting from underneath their air conditioning unit. Firefighters later determined the fire was sparked by a build-up of dried leaves around the air conditioner.

In another case last month, an air conditioning unit on a Parkdale home caught fire. The fire quickly travelled through the roof space and ceiling into the hallway and bedrooms.

MFB Assistant Chief Fire Officer Martin Braid said poor maintenance, damaged or faulty wiring and connections and clutter were among the top causes of air conditioning fires.

“People tend to think of air conditioners as ‘leave alone’ appliances that you just install and forget about,” Mr Braid said.

“But neglecting your air conditioners and could spark a fire, leaving you with a significant damage bill, or worse.

“During the summer months it’s important to stay cool but more importantly, to stay safe.”

Air conditioning safety tips:

·         Regularly service and maintain your air conditioner to ensure it’s in good working order

·         Only use certified tradespeople to repair damaged or faulty appliances

·         Always follow manufacturer’s instructions

·         Keep your air conditioners and coolers clear of clutter

·         Turn electrical appliances off at the power point when not in use

For more home fire safety tips, visit mfb.vic.gov.au/Community/Home-Safety.html

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