Home owners escaping the summer heatwave with air conditioning on are urged to have the units serviced to prevent a house fire.
Fire Investigation Officer Jim Bell said there had been many fires sparked by air conditioners in the metropolitan area in the past four weeks.
“While air conditioners are a great asset when it’s hot outside just like your car they need to be serviced according the manufacturer’s instructions to reduce the risk of fire,” he said.
“In Mandurah $500,000 damage was caused when the air conditioner on the roof caught fire and raced through the ceiling and gutted the entire house.”
Mr Bell said the service warning also applied to commercial business premises.
“Air conditioning related fires recently have caused over $1million dollars in damage to shop buildings and business stock.”
Mr Bell said the age of an air conditioner could also contribute to the increased risk of fire.
“Like every appliance the older the air conditioner the greater likelihood of it causing a fire through simple wear and tear and susceptibility to overheating,” he said.
The two main types of modern air conditioners installed by home owners are evaporative roof top units and smaller split system air conditioners where the motor is housed on an outside wall.
“When it comes to evaporative air conditioners you should check that vents known as ‘up ducts’ are installed in the ceiling inside the house to prevent a build up of air pressure when all the doors and windows are closed,” Mr Bell said.
“With split system air conditioners you should clear away debris, leaves, spider webs and other material from around the outdoor motor unit.”
Mr Bell said any servicing of air conditioners should be carried out by qualified air conditioning tradespeople who could inspect all electrical components, ducting, filters and moving parts during the service.