Beware: Leaky air conditioners can spark fires

They were expecting their air conditioners to cool them off. Instead, they started a fire. Although fire departments do not specifically track such incidents, Palm Beach County firefighters have already extinguished at least three such blazes in the last six months, said Cpt. Doug McGlynn of Palm Beach County Fire Rescue.

The culprit in each case was a leaking air handler in a condo storage closet, which short-circuited electrical equipment underneath. With South Florida now at its hottest, the risk of such fires is at its peak, experts say. Since January 2011, 215 fires in Florida were related to air conditioners, the state Fire Marshal reported. But it’s a problem easily avoided by keeping drain lines unclogged and having units maintained.

“I would say most people do not properly maintain their AC drain line,” McGlynn said. “It’s 100 percent the homeowner’s responsibility.”

Morale to this said story is to have your air conditioning system checked by a qualified and licensed havoc contractor.

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