Almost everyone today owns a laptop. But, did you know that these can pose a fire hazard? In this installment of Fire at Home, we take a look at the dangers of laptops and steps you can take to prevent the unthinkable from happening.
About a decade ago, Sony approximately 10 million of their batteries, which were used in many popular laptop brands, such as: Dell, Apple, Sony, Panasonic, Toshiba, etc. The recall of these laptop sparked controversy over the lithium-ion batteries used and the safety of them.
Lithium is used by manufacturers purely because of how cost effective and easy it is to have in batteries, and also because of its ability to contain a lot of energy in a small, lightweight form.
However, they also are known for overheating and going up in smoke. It is a highly reactive chemical, and reacts violently and will explode when in contact with air, which is why it is very important to never use a damaged battery.
They are more commonly damaged from being charged excessively. It’s important to remember once your battery is fully charged, unplug it and use it. This will ensure the battery functions like it normally should.
Naturally, laptops run warmer than desktops, especially if they are older laptops with limited ventilation. Keep your laptop well ventilated, with the fan open and not on furniture or your body, keep it elevated on a laptop tray or table.
Every week, there are reports of a lithium-ion battery catching fire and injuring the user.
The heat generated by operating laptops is most likely to cause a fire if the laptop is resting on something flammable such as a couch or bed for an extended period of time. You can reduce the risk of a fire by keeping your laptop on a safe surface.
Additional Laptop Fire Prevention Tips:
· A damaged or faulty battery has a high potential to start a fire. Periodically check your computer’s battery against the most current battery recall list.
· Do not leave your computer plugged in and sitting on a combustible surface, such as a couch, bed, carpet, or paper-cluttered desk. It is suggested that you unplug your laptop when not in use and place it on a desk clear of combustible materials.
· Make sure the computer power cord is not damaged; it can emit small electrical sparks that can start a fire. If damaged, unplug the power cord immediately and replace it as soon as possible!
· Do not block the laptop’s fan and air vents when using it. This can happen when a laptop is used on a bed or pillow, suffocating the laptop’s fans and air vents. Try using a chill pad/cooler specifically designed for laptops.
· Dust and lint can contribute to the laptop overheating. Periodically spray compressed air through the laptop air vents in the reverse direction to loosen the lint and dust sucked up through the fan. Avoid placing the laptop on surfaces where dirt, dust, or lint are present.
· One suggestion is to run your laptop on AC with the battery removed and only use the battery when you are on the go.
· In case of a battery or electrical fire: DO NOT USE WATER! It is best to call the fire department immediately.
· Use only Underwriter’s Laboratory (UL) approved surge protectors with computer equipment. Never piggyback power cords.
Laptops are everywhere, be sure to take care of yours. If you do experience a fire at home or at work from a laptop, contact the experts at Sage Restoration! #ServiceWithCompassion
In our final blog in the Fire at Home series, we will take a look at how dust can lead to more than just dust bunnies in your home. It can lead to a devastating home fire.