Can dirty air conditioning units cause fires?

Dirty and Contaminated air conditioners can cause air conditioning units to catch alight. Fire is highly dangerous as it puts lives at risk and creates serious damage.

According to 7 news, recently “a man had burns to his feet after rescuing his children from the second storey of a flaming Melbourne house. The father-of-three ran upstairs to fetch two of his children from the fire that started when a rooftop air-conditioner caught alight. The blaze started at about 3.30am on Thursday, 16 March and was contained to the upper level of the home. The damage caused by the faulty aircon unit is estimated at $100,000.”


Monitor the use and condition of units

In colder cities after winter has passed, water pumps can corrode and seize up when you use them causing a rapid fire. In restaurants, bakeries, large office blocks, malls and other ducted air conditioning spaces, if a fire breaks out, the fan is pushing that fire down through the ducts into every room, causing it to spread very quickly.

Another way that aircon’s can cause blazing fires is from leaking air handlers. These cause nearby electrical equipment to short circuit. If electrical equipment is located underneath aircon’s, condensation can drip on it. This causes it to short circuit and creates sparks that can easily ignite nearby materials. Unmaintained drain lines can also be a hazard when they become clogged and drainage pans overflow damaging property.


How to reduce fire hazard

  • Clean/change your filters: reduce the risk of dust builds up, smelling units, fire etc. Clean/change air con filters regularly.
  • Examine electric-powered equipment: Regularly inspect air conditioning cords for cracks, loose connections, or broken plugs, and replace any damaged equipment.
  • Reduce dust: Cleaning air ducts is the easiest, most effective way to remove dust build up. It also prevents potential hazards from forming. Be aware, that improperly cleaned air ducts may actually cause more loose dust to circulate, creating more of a hazard.
  • Maintain your AC units: All mechanical and electrical equipment needs regular proper maintenance. Have your AC system maintained by a professional at least once a year or sooner. This depends on the level of contamination from dust, mould, bacteria, insects and rodents.
  • Monitor exterior unit: Make sure that leaves, dirt, debris and insects haven’t clogged your exterior unit.


Reduce the risk of fire caused by hazardous air con units. Free Call us on 1800 130 168 and chat to your local Sanitair technician who will ensure your air con is left smelling good and functioning well.

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World Health Day- 7 April 2017

How so many of us miss the basics of simple hygiene! ~ Dr John D’Arcy

“There is nothing as constant as change”. I think we all agree.  Close your eyes for just a minute and change happens. It might be as simple as realising that the size of the containers which contain your peanut butter are now smaller so you get less for your money, or becoming aware that a world famous cell phone company no longer exists; their business swallowed up by another.

Our climate is changing. Summers are hotter and at other times the rain pours down. On the Eastern Coast Australia we have had the hottest February and the wettest March for generations. Amidst the constant change and perhaps because of it, we tend to forget those things which stay the same.


Let’s look at Simple hygiene

If we wash our hands before we eat and if our doctors washed their hands between patients’ the simple act of that wash would reduce the spread of food-borne illness and the alarming amount of cross infection in our hospitals.

It’s simple; basic hygiene has saved millions of lives. So has clean water but somehow we take it all for granted. Relying on the magic medical bullets that the medical profession possess.

The air we breathe in the cities is not as pure as we would like it to be, tarnished with the out flow of exhaust smoke from the millions of cars and trucks on the road, and from the factories desperately trying to bring us the goods we demand and use on a daily basis.


Let’s look at the way we live and the houses and office buildings that we build?

Even in this wide brown land, our cities are crowded and expanding at a great rate. Sydney has reached five million people in half the time it took to reach four million. Such are the demands on us to be productive, we tend to lock ourselves in.

We turn on the gas in winter to beat the cold and use air conditioning in the summer to beat the heat. Big building have windows which don’t open and rely on air conditioning to create the ideal temperature to work.

But, how carefully are these huge air conditioning units appropriately managed to prevent people from being exposed to disease causing moulds and bacteria?

Asthma, an allergic and inflammatory condition of the lung affects one in nine in Australia; that’s about 2.5 million people and allergy affects almost 20%. 78% of people with allergies are in the working age population; that’s 7.2 million people.

Although those magic medical bullets have reduced the death rate and helped people cope with asthma and there are ways to reduce the feeling of un-wellness of allergy, prevention is always better than cure. Just as asthmatics rely on their reliever medications to help them when the symptoms over power them, it’s their preventer medication which stops the cause: the inflammation in the lung.


Presenteeism costs the country

Properly servicing air conditioning units, not just in the work place but in leisure centres and in the home and visiting a general practitioner when you are sick, goes a long way to underline the huge benefits of prevention in a country where allergic disease is one of the main reasons to beat Presenteeism, people coming to work but are unwell. Presenteeism costs the country $34 Billion in lost productivity .

On this World Health Day, where the message of prevention is being advanced, spend a little time to work out what you can do to assist yourself and your family to make necessary changes and develop a happier and healthier life.


Dr John D’Arcy O’Donnell AM



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