If you’re like most people, using these devices has become second nature, but there may be danger hiding in your favorite tech.
There have been hundreds of reports of cellphones, laptops, and other electronic devices exploding or catching fire in the past years. Recently, a young teen and his friend were playing videogames in the living room when his laptop, which was charging on the couch near the boys, suddenly burst into flames! The teen blew out the flames and carried the laptop to an outside table on his porch where it erupted three more times, before being doused with a fire extinguisher.
What is the Cause?
So what is the culprit in this frightening situation? It appears to be the Lithium-ion battery, which can be found in many mobile devices and was the same type of technology that caused the Samsung Galaxy to be recalled as well as “hoverboards” and a variety of laptop models. These batteries can overheat for a number of reasons and often it can be tied to abuse, such as drops or poor handling or manufacturing defects, but not in all cases.
What Can You Do?
While you may be worried about using your laptop or smartphones, there are a number of methods to help prevent this type of problem that many people often overlook.
1. Charge on a hard surface
These devices should only be charged on hard surfaces to allow the heat to dissipate. Unlike the story above, you should avoid charging any device with this type of battery on a soft surface, such as couches or beds, which store heat and provide easily ignitable fibers.
2. Don’t Overcharge
It is advised that you unplug a device shortly before it is completely charged. Do not leave you devices plugged in once it is charged, this can cause the battery to overheat, risking a fire.
3. Don’t Leave Your Device Plugged in Unattended
You should avoid leaving your devices plugged in overnight or while you are at work to prevent a fire from starting when you are not around. It is best to charge the device while you are in the room or close by incase any incident were to start.
4. Only Use the Battery for its Intended Purpose
Never use a Lithium-ion battery for any device other than the one it was made for. Furthermore, you should only use the appropriate charger that came with the battery for charging to prevent poor connections and conditions.
If you start to notice anything out of the ordinary with a device’s battery, such as odor, change in color, excessive heat while charging, swelling or a change in shape, leaking, or odd noises while charging, unplug the device immediately and stop using that battery. In addition, you should also ensure the battery is not stored in direct sunlight or a hot vehicle. Lithium-ion batteries should never be thrown in the trash and should always be disposed of properly to prevent damage.
Following these steps will help to protect your home from the risks associated with these technologies, but it is always best to have a plan for the worst case scenario. Feel free to speak with our insurance experts about your specific needs or concerns and get a free quote today by calling 724-929-2300.