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How Often Does Fire Equipment Need to Be Checked

How Often Does Fire Equipment Need to Be Checked

Electrical equipment can easily cause a fire when it is faulty or overloaded. However, can obstructed vents on electrical equipment cause a fire? And if they can, how do you manage this issue? 

Unfortunately, fires of all types are a common occurrence, with most of them being accidental. Because of this, fire safety signs, first aid posters and boxes, and fire assembly signs are crucial in any workplace – big or small.

Up to 33% of all fires in the workplace start because of electrical issues. So, if you can do anything to bring this number down, it makes sense, right? 

What is the Function of Vents on Electrical Equipment?

Air vents on electrical equipment are there to circulate air through the equipment and keep it cool. Without the vents, electronics would quickly overheat and cause fires, and they would be unsafe to use. 

Because of this, keeping the vents clean is of paramount importance, no matter what kind of electronic device you are working with. 

Can Obstructed Vents on Electrical Equipment Cause a Fire?

Obstructed vents on electrical equipment can 100% cause a fire, and it happens more often than you might think. The vents on this equipment are there to keep the equipment, whether it’s a computer, heater, or something else, cool and functioning properly. 

When these vents get obstructed, they can no longer do their job, and heat will gradually build up. If this happens, the heat that gets built up will continue to grow until a fire breaks out. 

In most cases, these vents get blocked by dust, hair, and other dry debris, which only makes it more flammable. However, this isn’t the only way a vent can get obstructed. 

Sometimes, a vent will get obstructed simply by other equipment, furniture, or items by having them placed too close to the ventilation area. Like debris and dust, this will prevent air from circulating and stop the equipment from cooling. 

How to Keep Vents on Electrical Equipment Clear

The best way to keep vents on electrical equipment clear is by either brushing them, wiping them, or vacuuming them until clean. You can use a dry or damp cloth, depending on what equipment you are cleaning, but a gentle vacuum or compressed air is an excellent option, too. 

For electrical equipment like fans, where there are no delicate electronic components, a cloth or soft brush will do the trick. However, if you are worried about cleaning the vents on something like a computer, then compressed air is the ideal option, as it will not produce any static to impact the device and components. 

Ideally, you should look up the particular electrical equipment you need to clean, and find out what the best method is. If in doubt, compressed air or a vacuum with a soft tip will be the best option, as these are very unlikely to be damaging, no matter the type of equipment. 

How Often Should You Clean These Vents?

How often you clean your electrical air vents will depend on what environment the vents are in. If you live somewhere with a lot of dust or hair, then cleaning the vents every two to three months might be necessary to avoid hazards. However, if you live somewhere clean, with no threat of animal hair or other debris that could block vents, clean them every six months to a year. 

You do not typically need to clean electrical equipment vents very often, but if you would rather be safe than sorry, do it every few months to maintain healthy airflow and function. 

Other Risk Factors for Electrical Equipment Fires

Can Obstructed Vents on Electrical Equipment Cause a Fire

While issues like smoking, bad safety measures, and improper storage of materials all lead to fires, our electronics are hazards themselves. There are a number of risk factors and causes of electrical fires in the workplace, and most of them can easily be avoided with the proper planning and equipment.

Below, we will go through the following risks of electrical fires in the workplace: 

  • Overloaded circuits
  • Damaged cables
  • Loose/fault wiring
  • Static electricity 
  • Arcing

Overloaded Circuits

Overloaded circuits have excessive currents going through them, which will then make the wires inside it overheat. This will lead to the insulation melting and sparks flying – often causing a full-on electrical fire, which can be incredibly difficult to get under control. 

Damaged Cables

Damaged cables will expose the wires, which will easily cause a fire or a short circuit. Cables can get damaged simply by getting older, or by other means – such as pests chewing through it. 

Loose or Faulty Wiring

Faulty wiring can cause electrical arcing, which can quickly lead to sparks flying and a fire growing in a matter of seconds. There may be loose connections, frayed cords, old or damaged components, or simply bad wiring that is unsafe – which is why it is crucial to get your wiring and electrics done by a professional. 

Static Electricity Near Flammable Items

When there is friction between idle rollers and film, a charge can be created and slowly build up. If this charge is not eliminated timeously, this static electricity will be discharged on its own and cause fires. This discharge can burn anything it comes into contact with, including dust, and result in a fast-burning fire that can be fatal. 

Arcing

Arcing is when electricity jumps from one circuit to another one. This can melt conductors and destroy insulation, which can both result in a fire in no time. If the heat from arcing is high enough, it can immediately cause a fire. 

What is the Most Likely Cause of an Electrical Fire?

Above, we went through several causes of electrical fires that everyone should be aware of, but which is the most likely to happen in a workspace? Unfortunately, all of the above causes can happen at any workplace in the right circumstances. 

If a sub-par electrician was hired to do the electrics, then faulty wiring could be an issue, and if people don’t know how to load circuits, then that can be a huge cause for concern. If regular inspections are not carried out on the electricity in the workplace, then damaged cables, static electricity, and arcing can all happen. In the case where proper cleaning is not carried out, then obstructed vents on electrical equipment can be a common cause of fire. 

Ultimately, a workplace needs to hire professionals for their electrics, and get people who know what to look out for when carrying out safety and electric inspections. Employees need to be aware of fire safety and know not to obstruct vents, as well as clean vents when necessary. 

If all of these needs are met, then the chance of an electrical fire starting is reduced. 

Let Us Make a Lasting Impression

Can Obstructed Vents on Electrical Equipment Cause a Fire

Electrical fires are commonplace, but many of them can easily be avoided by following strict rules. From not overloading circuits to cleaning your vents, you can make your workplace that bit safer. 

At Lasting Impressions, we want to make a change, and we do that by supplying you with a variety of signage and information. From what signs you need in a commercial kitchen and what you need to know about fire extinguishers, to whether red indicates the presence of fire equipment and what the emergency assembly sign means.

We understand that fire safety isn’t always as simple as it should be, so we aim to break things down in a way that everyone understands. Now that you know the answer to ‘can obstructed vents on electrical equipment cause a fire’, you should know that vents need to be cleaned frequently and checks need to be carried out for the sake of everyone’s safety.