After her father’s house caught on fire, Wendy Rhodes wants to share what caused it with as many people as she can. She learned her father’s home burned to the ground because of a cheap mobile phone charger.
“Just wanted everyone to know how the fire started at my Daddy’s house. The insurance fire investigator came out yesterday and determined it was from a phone charger he had plugged in the wall beside his stove. I’m sharing this because we leave ours plugged in all the time,” Wendy shares. “We will now always unplug our phone chargers. I hope this post helps save someone else all this heartache.”
“This picture is what’s left of the kitchen. The rest of the house looks the same. You are welcome to share this post. I just want everyone to know these are dangerous.”
Fire investigators are seeing more and more house fires caused by cheap battery chargers overheating from being plugged in for long periods of time. Whether it be mobile devices, iPads, mp3 players, laptops, tablets or e-readers, we have an increasing number of electronic devices that need charging. Just as there are an increasing number of electronic devices, there are also an increasing number of companies making cheap generic knockoffs of chargers that are low priced but pose a big risk.
Knockoff chargers tend to have a lack of proper insulation, primitive circuit boards and a lack of voltage filtering, all of which can lead to voltage bleeds, shorts, and excessive heat.
Many of these chargers are sold on online auction sites, dollar stores or street markets. Although they are cheaper than their branded counterparts, they are often not guaranteed to meet safety standards. In fact, the charity Electrical Safety First conducted a study and found that half of the chargers they tested had been wired “using “sub-standard components” and none met with the safety requirements of the UK’s Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations Act 1994. That’s pretty alarming!
Basically, generic chargers run the risk of putting too much energy into a device, which in turn causes the battery to overheat. This is because different devices require different levels of charge and that’s why branded chargers are less likely to overheat. They’re specifically designed for each particular device.
Here are a few general safety tips to follow to help make battery chargers safe around the home:
- Only buy approved chargers for products
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and contact them directly if in doubt
- Avoid leaving devices to charge unattended, especially overnight. Have a working smoke detector in the room where the batteries are being recharged, and make sure a fire extinguisher is nearby if needed.
- Don’t leave devices charging near flammable materials or objects.
- Be careful not to overload any power bars or outlets.
- Shut off battery-powered devices, such as laptops and tablet computers, when they are not in use.
- Do not leave laptops, tablets, cellphones or similar devices unattended on couches or beds, or in other areas where they may overheat and come into contact with potentially flammable materials. Ensure good air circulation around devices at all times.
I know I’m going to be more careful with my chargers around the house now that I’ve seen Wendy’s photo!
Please share these safety tips with your friends and loved ones!