Malfunctions can cause air conditioners to overheat and start fires. In 2010 alone, there were 7,400 reported home structure fires in association with air conditioning, fans or other related equipment. These were mostly due to mechanical or electrical failures.
What can prevent many of the air conditioning failures is proper AC maintenance. A particular problem that some people come across is the drain line clogging up. In some cases, the water heater is located below the AC unit. When water from the drain line drips, it can short the heater and spark a fire.
Homeowners should have a minimum of two inspections a year, as well as routine HVAC maintenance. By getting the system checked and cleaned, the chances of something malfunctioning will be reduced.