New York City can be hot in the summertime, but not everyone has central air. If you’re on a budget or your home doesn’t support a central air conditioning system, then you will probably be investing in a window air conditioning unit before the dog days of summer start.

When you bring a window air conditioner home and install it, you want it to cool your space, not catch fire. However, a 2012 report by the National Fire Protection Association suggests that these compact cooling systems present a greater fire risk than central air. While households that use window-mounted air conditioners are in the minority, they account for 37.5% of all AC-related fires. The study concluded that room air conditioners are 1.8 times more likely to cause a fire than central home cooling systems.

The NFPA also found that in 2010 faulty cooling systems resulted in:

  • 29 deaths
  • 249 injuries
  • $207 million in property damage

The number of fires attributable to air conditioning systems spikes in June, July, and August, when they are used the most. The NFPA estimated that 20% of all July house fires between 2006 and 2010 were started by a defective air conditioner, but theoretically, tragedy can strike at any time.  Last December, a fire broke out in a Brooklyn apartment after a standalone air conditioner triggered a small electrical fire. The unit was running because the apartment in question was directly above the building furnace and uncomfortably warm. The flames quickly spread throughout the rooms, leaving four people critically injured, including an eight-year-old boy and four-year-old girl.

While some air conditioners pose a fire risk due to overwork or lack of regular maintenance, others are defective and can cause serious injuries and even death to consumers. In December 2016 LG Electronics recalled its portable 7000 and 8000 BTU air conditioners due to their tendency to overheat. These units were linked to at least four fires and, fortunately, no injuries, but the potential to cause serious harm was always present.

Manufacturers have a duty to produce products that are safe for customers to use. When defects result in injury, the affected parties can seek compensation for their losses, such as medical treatment, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

If a defective air conditioner causes serious injury to you or someone you love, contact a New York personal injury attorney who can help you determine who is at fault and hold that party accountable. Burn injuries can change your life, and anyone responsible for what happened to you can be compelled to cover your medical costs, loss of wages, and more. An experienced personal injury attorney can see to it that you receive both compensation and justice. Jayson Lutzky has helped clients recover damages for their injuries over the past 35+ years. He is a personal injury lawyer with an office in Bronx, New York. Call 718-514-6619 to set up a free in-person initial consultation. Home and hospital visits are available in the event of serious injury.