Fire officials warn about dangers of portable air conditioners
Published Friday, July 13, 2012 10:18AM CST
Last Updated Friday, July 13, 2012 6:10PM CST
Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service has issued a warning after a number of electrical fires in the city.
Fire officials are reminding Winnipeggers not to overload their electrical outlets during the hot weather.
Officials said a number of electrical fires have been caused by overloaded circuits from portable air conditioners.
“The problem is an air conditioner draws the total power of the line that’s been given to you. You add anything else to it, it’ll start to overheat,” said Marc Proulx of the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service.
Thursday morning an electrical fire on Polson Avenue sent one woman to hospital for smoke inhalation.
Anyone using a portable air conditioner should use dedicated circuits and not plug them in with an extension cord.
“If there’s any defect in the wire it will crack and start a fire. The insulation will not last and be able to keep the heat up,” said Proulx.
Manitoba Hydro said it costs about $80 to have an eletrical outlet installed near where your machine is placed, so you can avoid having to use an extension cord.
Proulx said the $80 can be the difference between life or death.
"Even a small fire will produce a huge amount of smoke within an apartment block and overcome the oxygen content of the apartment," Proulx said. "What's going to happen is you're going to suffocate."
Winnipeggers should also try to reduce electrical consumption in other areas of their home, fire officials said.