Safety Hazards of Air Conditioners: What You Need to Know

Learn about safety hazards associated with air conditioners such as electric hazards, refrigerant leaks, carbon monoxide poisoning & more.

Safety Hazards of Air Conditioners: What You Need to Know

The most common health risks HVAC technicians are exposed to are related to the respiratory tract. Many homes have air conditioning systems with dirty air filters that act like Petri dishes for mold, bacteria, and fungi. A faulty pilot light and leaking heat exchangers in the oven can cause carbon monoxide poisoning. Any mechanical or electrical appliance carries the risk of certain hazards related to its use or maintenance, and your air conditioning system is no exception.

So what HVAC safety risks should you be aware of when using or maintaining your air conditioning and heating system? Electric hazards are one of the most common risks associated with air conditioners. Most electrical hazards related to your HVAC system have to do with wiring. While you're unlikely to access the electrical wires in your air conditioning system, you can take a look at the thermostat wires to see if they're worn out or loose. Throw the circuit breaker at the thermostat to cut off the power if you plan to tighten the wires or replace them.

Another potential hazard is refrigerant leaks. Chances are you're not charging the refrigerant in your own air conditioner. That's good, because only licensed professionals are allowed to handle refrigerants. However, if you have an R-22 leak in your old system and you have something handy, you might be tempted to charge it yourself.

Spilling this substance on you will not cause a chemical burn, but rather a painful frostbite. Always call a licensed HVAC professional to fill the refrigerant; if there is a leak, the technician must find and repair it. The furnace heat exchanger can crack and lose carbon monoxide (CO), a deadly gas. That's why it's important to have your HVAC technician check the furnace every year. The fumes can also come out of the flue pipes or the chimney.

CO buildup can also occur due to a dirty air filter, which can cause airflow to return to the oven. Install a CO detector and test it regularly. Rising temperatures can damage air conditioning units that are not properly maintained, not only preventing them from operating, but also making them a fire hazard. HVAC work involves frequent interaction with electrical equipment and wiring. One wrong step can mean that you face harmful electrocution.

Not only is electrocution harmful to the technician, but if fatigue is also a factor, a live, exposed cable left unattended could also harm the person it serves. An electrical shock can occur in an instant and it can be difficult to tell if a cable is turned on or not. Therefore, electrocution safety should be one of the primary concerns of HVAC technicians at all times. Always carry the appropriate equipment needed to test the charge of cables before interacting with them, and always make sure to wear protective gloves when working with electricity. If necessary, you can also consider cutting off the power in the area you are working in before starting service as an additional precautionary measure. Heating and air conditioning safety hazards in Fort Worth can include circuit breakdowns, fires, electrocutions, or electrical fuses.

In addition, extreme hot or cold temperatures can cause tension in the unit and cause internal or external damage. An incorrect cable can cause a devastating situation that you don't want to experience. During hot summer days here in Houston, life can be tough for air conditioning technicians. The lower flammability limit (LFL) and upper flammability limit (UFL) for all flammable gases and vapors define the range of flammable concentrations in the air. Especially when working on commercial heating and cooling systems, HVAC technicians often find themselves in fairly high environments, whether they are on top of a roof or on a ladder, accessing ducts or vents on the roof or in the attic. Whether it's a toaster in the kitchen or a heating and air conditioning unit in the bedroom, these devices can be catastrophic if left untested.

The most common reasons for moisture buildup include a dirty air filter, a clogged condensate drain, leaking ducts, and dirty evaporator coils.

Not only can they cause fires but there are thousands of electrocution injuries, back injuries, lacerations, abrasions, and sprains caused by people who work on their own air conditioners.

The flash point of a substance is the lowest temperature at which it can be vaporized to form a flammable mixture in air while vapor pressure indicates its rate of evaporation. Between open flames used in some heating equipment, natural heat that air conditioners and furnaces produce, equipment exposed to direct sunlight and welding (which is sometimes used during HVAC installations and repairs), HVAC technicians have no small chance of getting slightly or severely burned. AccuMax Inc is a full-service HVAC heating and cooling company that provides repair, installation and maintenance of air conditioners, central air systems, furnaces and more for residential customers as well as commercial facilities. Residential services include HVAC+Air Assurance Advantage+Planned Maintenance+Your Heating and Air+HVAC Selection Guide+ Residential Installations+Ironclad Warranties+ Home Performance while commercial services include HVAC+ Air Assurance Advantage+ Extended Service Plan+Commercial Leasing+Air Quality Compliance +Areas of Concern+ Commercial Facility. Therefore these limits define the range of concentrations at which substances are flammable in air and establish guidelines for safe handling specifically when evaluating ventilation requirements for handling gases and vapors.

Lorraine Brazzel
Lorraine Brazzel

Evil tv geek. Total webaholic. General music junkie. Devoted pop culture maven. Wannabe reader.