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Electricity safety authority warning after spate of fires in air conditioners

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23 Jan 2012
Victoria’s electricity safety authority, Energy Safe Victoria (ESV), is urging the community to ensure that air conditioners and evaporative coolers are serviced and properly maintained.

The timely reminder comes after a reported spate of fires by the Country Fire Authority (CFA) in air conditioning units – with as many as five in the last week.

The fires occurred in units which have been the subject of regular product recalls by the manufacturer, Brivis Climate Systems Pty Ltd, for nearly two years.

The units in question – Brivis Contour Evaporative Cooler and Brivis Profiler Evaporative Cooler – were installed between August 2001 and October 2003.

In the recall notices, Brivis warns that the starting device in the units may fail and in rare cases result in property damage and/or personal injury. The notice urges home occupiers to stop using the units until the rework can be completed.

Brivis has a dedicated recall website

Victoria’s Director of Energy Safety, Paul Fearon, said the recent fires demonstrated that some home occupiers had units subject to the recall and they had not been aware of it.

“The only consolation is that these fires have not caused injuries.

“It is most important that people check whether they have one of the units in question and contact Brivis to get it fixed.

“Many Victorian homes have air conditioners or evaporative coolers but not many people take the time to get them serviced each year.

“It is imperative that all units are serviced and properly maintained, particularly as we are likely to experience several more warm days over the next few weeks.

 “Regular maintenance not only allows manufacturer’s upgrades and adjustments to be made, it ensures air conditioners or evaporative coolers work safely and efficiently when they are needed most. It can also help to identify problems that could cause an electrical fault or fire.

“Victoria’s fire brigades have responded to a number of fires caused by cooling appliances in recent years and we don’t want to see any more this summer.

“Householders can also help to keep their units working properly by ensuring the dust filters are cleaned regularly.”

Mr Fearon said it was also important to get portable coolers serviced.

Lists of people who service air conditioners can be found in the Yellow Pages or trades section of local newspapers.




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