If you own a laptop or desktop computer, then read closely. Who would think that a laptop could catch fire.
The facts are surprising.
In 2007-2011, there were an estimated 730 reported U.S. home structure fires involving office equipment per year, resulting in:
- 11 civilian deaths per year
- 51 civilian injuries per year
- $28 million in direct property damage per year
48% of the time, a computer was the cause of the fire. So, what causes the fires?
There are three main causes of desktop & laptop fires:
- The ignition of wire or cable insulation or appliance housing or casing started one-third (36%) of the office equipment structure fires in homes
- Heat from dust build-up in desktop computers
- Overheated laptop batteries
What can you do to prevent computer and lap top fires?
1. The ignition of wire or cable insulation or appliance housing or casing
What can you do in this case? Upgrade your electrical wiring in your home. Also be sure to only use heavy extension cords. Finally, don’t overload your circuits with too much of an electrical load!
Did you know that over time, computers build up dust on heat generating components inside the computer?
As you can imagine, this makes them hotter and hotter. Then, when you combine the heat with a hot room because of the heat outside, you know have an environment conducive to a computer fire or a laptop fire.
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What can you do to prevent this from happening?
- Use an air conditioner in your room you store your computer.
- Don’t store items on top of your computer.
- Keep the outside computer case vent covers clear of dust bunnies.
- Have your computer cleaned annually. Unplug your computer and remove the exterior case and vacuum the interior. Use a can of compressed air to blow out in between the crevices and hard to reach places. Make sure you are grounded before beginning so static charge doesn’t harm your computer interior. Hire a computer tech to do this for you annually if you don’t feel comfortable.
3. Overheated laptop batteries
What causes laptop batteries to overheat and cause a laptop fire?
When laptops are plugged in, charging, and placed on a flat surface like a bed or a couch cushion, they can get very hot very quickly. When lithium-ion cells reach 302°F, the cell becomes thermally unstable, and flaming gases are released.
What can you do to prevent overheating the batteries?
- Always use your laptop on a hard, flat surface like a table or the floor. (Never on a bed or couch cushion.)
- Never block the air vents on the back or sides of the portable computer.
- Invest in a laptop chill pad/cooler.
- Every now and then, check out the laptop’s air vents to remove dust or debris blocking the ventilation.
- Invest in a can of compressed air. Use it to clean out any debris in the laptop air vents.
- Never use a laptop power cord or extension cord that is damaged as it can start a laptop fire.
- Install a smoke detector in the room you keep your computer. Be sure to replace the batteries annually.
- Invest in a fire extinguisher to prevent fires from spreading.
Protect your home from fires. Get a quick homeowners insurance quote today.
Computers are a part of everyday life for many of us. Please use safety measures with electronics so that you don’t have a laptop fire or computer fire in your home. The staff here at InsuranceHub is available to answer any questions you may have about the fire portion of your homeowner’s insurance policy.