Keep your home safe, air conditioning tips
El Paso, TX (KTSM) — The heat of summer can be more than just uncomfortable.
For some people, it can be quite dangerous.
Staying out of the sun, wearing loose, light colored clothing and drinking plenty of water helps.
But according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), air conditioning is the No. 1 protection against heat-related illness and death.
However, as with all things electrical, care must be taken to ensure that no safety hazards are present.
According to the Electrical Safety Foundation, (ESFI), contact with electrical current from air conditioners accounts for a significant number of electrocutions and electrical injuries each year.
The U.S. Fire Administration says that, while some electrical fires are caused by electrical system failures and appliance defects, many more are caused by misuse and poor maintenance of electrical appliances, incorrectly installed wiring and overloaded circuits and extension cords.
To avoid dangerous situations while your unit is running, please follow these guidelines:
*Be sure that both the electrical circuit and the electrical outlet can handle the load. When in doubt, have a licensed electrician inspect your home’s wiring and advise you as to whether it will safely handle air conditioning units.
*Always plug an air conditioner into a grounded (3-prong) outlet. If an appliance cord does not fit an outlet, have a licensed electrician replace the outlet.
*If you must use an extension cord to reach a grounded outlet, make certain that you use a cord designed for air conditioners and that it is UL listed, meets OSHA specifications and can handle the power needed by your air conditioner.
As with all extension cord use, always inspect before using! Ensure the plug blades and grounding pins are present and do not use extension cords that are cut or damaged.
And never run an extension cord under a carpet! (It will trap heat, which may cause a fire)
To further reduce your energy expenses during the summer, here are some tips from Underwriters Laboratories (UL):
- Have your air conditioner cleaned and inspected before summer
- Conduct routine maintenance checks during the summer such as regularly changing or cleaning filters and pads.
- Don’t let heat buildup and then attempt to cool areas immediately by turning the controls to the maximum settings. Start units early and cool areas throughout the day.
- Close blinds and curtains on the west and south sides from morning until late afternoon to block extra direct heat from sunlight.
- Turn off all unnecessary lights.
- Wait until late evening to use heat-producing appliances like ovens, dishwashers and clothes dryers.
- Close off unused rooms.
For further safety tips, please visit our website at http://home.elpasotexas.gov/fire-department/