Cool It: Safety Tips for Window Air Conditioners

Window air conditioners are a convenient way to keep cool during hot summer months. Many businesses, homeowners, and renters rely on them when central air conditioning is not an option. Using an air conditioner has been shown to be good for your health by avoiding heat-related illnesses like overheating, dehydration, and heat stroke. On the other hand, air conditioners also have the potential to spread mold spores and allergens around your home when not properly maintained.

Here are a few steps to ensure a safe and healthy summer:

  1. Change filters according to the manufacturer’s instructions. When filters aren’t changed at the proper frequency, allergens can accumulate on the filter and blow around the house.
  2. Mold is another concern. Window units can develop mold, and, if not properly cleaned every year by a professional, spread mold spores throughout the home.
  3. Refrigerants like hydrochlorofluorocarbon and chlorofluorocarbon damage the ozone layer. Window AC units are more likely than other cooling sources to leak refrigerants that damage the environment.

Beyond environmental hazards to your health and the planet, window air conditioners are a serious fire concern when not properly maintained. According to a 2016 report by the National Fire Protection Association, air conditioners cause an average of 20 deaths, 140 injuries, and $82 million in property damage annually.

Taking proper maintenance steps, these fires can be avoided:

  1. Change the filter to avoid a buildup of particles and maintain proper airflow
  2. Ensure adequate power supply to the unit and keep in mind any other larger appliances on the same circuit
  3. Do not use extension cords or power strips and plug the unit directly into an outlet

CED’s expert engineers recommend making sure that space around the air conditioner is clear. Also make sure to follow simple, preventive steps like changing the filter and providing proper power sources. After all, being safe is very cool.