Hot weather brings increased use of air conditioners. Contact with electric current from air conditioners accounts for a significant number of electrocutions and electrical injuries each year.
ESFI recommends that you always contact a qualified, licensed electrician to perform any electrical work in your home, including the installation and services of air conditioning and other cooling equipment.
Facts and Statistics
According to the CPSC, 15% of consumer-product related electrocutions are attributed to large appliances. These electrocutions occur most commonly while someone is attempting to service or repair the appliance.
In 2011, an estimated 40,890 injuries were reported to hospital emergency rooms as involving air conditioners, fans, humidifiers, dehumidifiers, air purifiers, and heat pumps. The leading types of injuries were laceration (14,620), contusion or abrasion (6,740), and strain or sprain (6,050).
In 2010, air conditioning, fans, or related equipment were involved in an estimated 7,400 reported U.S. home structure fires, with associated losses of 29 civilian deaths, 249 civilian injuries and $207 million indirect property damage (according to the National Fire Protection Association).
In 2006-2010, the 7,200 reported home structure fires per year involving air conditioning and related equipment included 2,500 per year involving central and room air conditioners specifically and 3,900 per year involving fans.
In 1995-2003 (excluding 1999, which was not reported), there were 11.5 electrocution deaths per year involving air conditioners and 4.3 electrocution deaths per year involving fans.
Cooling Equipment Safety Tips
Keep safety in mind when selecting cooling equipment for your home.
Have a qualified, licensed electrician install and service any electrical equipment in your home.
Have electric-powered equipment inspected and maintained regularly for safety.
Make sure your equipment has the label showing that it is listed by a recognized testing laboratory.