In South Australia's hot climate, and with the design of many buildings, cooling equipment is a modern necessity. However, the use of electrical cooling equipment carries the same fire risk as any other electrical equipment.
If electrical cooling equipment, such as air conditioners, evaporative coolers and fans, is poorly maintained and used continuously for long periods during heatwave events there is a danger of the equipment overheating and causing a fire.
Importantly, the fire services do not discourage the use of electrical air cooling equipment as it can be a necessary health requirement for the elderly or families with young children.
You can reduce the potential for fire in the following ways:
- Electrical cooling equipment such as air-conditioners and evaporative coolers should be installed by a qualified tradesperson in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions.
- All electrical cooling equipment, both permanently installed systems and portable equipment, should be regularly serviced by a licensed tradesperson according to the manufacturer's specifications.
- Arrange to have your evaporative air-conditioner serviced before the start of summer so that it is fully functional when the hot weather begins. The tradesperson should:
- check for any faults (water flow and all bearings)
- clean the evaporation pads
- ensure that the equipment is mechanically sound
- Clean or replace return air filters in reverse cycle air-conditioners (both ducted and split systems) in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions. If you live in a very dusty environment you may need to clean filters more regularly.
- Do not leave your air cooling equipment running unattended while not at home.
- Watch for signs of your electrical cooling equipment overheating. Keep a spare, well maintained fan that can keep you cool while resting overheated cooling equipment.
- Keep portable electrical cooling equipment away from wet areas to avoid the possibility of electric shock.
- Children must be supervised when cooling equipment is in use. Keep an eye on children and pets, particularly when portable equipment is within reach.
For further advice ring the Community Safety & Resilience Department 8204 3611, Country callers 1300 737 637
visit our website www.mfs.sa.gov.au
or call in to 99 Wakefield Street, Adelaide during business hours.