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Evaporative coolers cause house fires
CFA has warned residents to check evaporative coolers, after crews attended four house fires caused by these systems over the weekend (7-8 January).
Incidents occurred in outer metro-Melbourne and firefighters were able to contain the fire to the cooling unit, with no further damage to homes. CFA Fire Investigators are conducting further investigations into the exact origin and cause of the fires in these units.
CFA State Fire Investigation Coordinator Nicole Harvey advised all air conditioners and evaporative cooling units should be serviced each year to ensure they are operating at maximum efficiency and to help prevent problems that could cause an electrical fault or fire.
“People should maintain their air conditioners and evaporative coolers by ensuring the dust filters and vent outlets inside the properties are cleaned regularly, along with having the units regularly serviced according to the manufacturer’s specifications,” Nicole said.
“Recent hot weather across Victoria means more people are cooling their homes with systems like evaporative coolers and these incidents may have been prevented had units been checked more regularly.
“People cooling their homes with these units should also make sure they check whether the latest Product Safety Recalls online to ensure their system is not among these items.
“If there is a recall notice for your unit, the website has instructions on what needs to be done to rework the system to make it safe.”
Victoria’s Director of Energy Safety, Paul Fearon, said while many Victorian homes had air conditioners or evaporative coolers not many people took the time to get them serviced each year.
“Regular maintenance not only allows manufacturer’s upgrades and adjustments to be made, it ensures your air conditioner or evaporative cooler will be working safely and efficiently when you need it most,” Mr Fearon said.
“Annual servicing of cooling appliances can also help to identify problems that could cause an electrical fault or fire. This year Victoria’s fire services have already responded to a number of fires caused by these appliances and we don’t want to see any more this summer.”
To check your evaporative cooling model, log on to https://www.productsafety.gov.au/recalls
Also read more about maintaining air conditioners when living in bushfire-prone areas here.