Your old appliances are at risk of fire. How to manage them

Your old gadgets, forgotten in a drawer, pose a risk of fire. See what you need to do to avoid unpleasant situations.

iphone smartphone battery fail

Who among you does not have in a drawer or in a corner of a shelf a stack of old gadgets or old phones? These forgotten machines not only take up space but also pose a potential fire hazard. See how to manage properly.

Because old gadgets are a fire hazard

You all have more or less kept an old Android phone or your old tablet or laptop. It is very easy to gather a lot of outdated machinery and equipment, since the memories and uncertainty of the new do not let you make the decision to leave them.

Unfortunately, unlike old-fashioned gadgets, such as a flashlight or calculator, modern equipment poses a unique risk: is a possible cause of fire.

Why; Most modern portable electronics use lithium-ion batteries. And these batteries are very good by most opinions. They are small, light and store a good amount of energy depending on their size. Without them, we would not have ultra-thin smartphones that could run all day on a single charge.

gadget, battery, battery

But storing large amounts of energy in a small space is always a potential hazard and lithium ion batteries are no exception. As they age and degrade, their chances of damage increase.

Unlike a classic battery failure, say, with some AA batteries forgotten in the back of an old toy, the risk of a lithium-ion battery being damaged is not just some leakage and corrosion in the battery compartment, but a potential fire. As the battery inflates and releases gases (in combination with the stored energy) they turn the battery into a potential fireball.

Many websites have entire chapters devoted to the dangers of inflated batteries. As the / r / TechSupportGore or the subreddit / r / SpicyPillows where you will see what is happening worldwide on this "burning" issue.

We do not want to scare you and start imagining that the forgotten iPhone 5 or the old MP3 player you have in your drawer will catch fire and burn down your house while you read this article in the cafeteria.

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Bursting phones are quite rare and you should be aware that keeping a pile of old gadgets in your home is not a fatal mistake. However, the good management and storage practices of these gadgets can help you reduce the risk to almost zero and make your home safe.

How to reduce the risk

The following tips are essentially aimed at reducing the consequences of a possible failure of your old machines, by managing the risk and minimizing the possibility of battery damage.

Get rid of old gadgets

gadget, battery, battery
This may sound heretical to people who like to keep every gadget, cable, and maybe even the packaging box forever, but it's definitely a practice to consider: Instead of keeping old gadgets indefinitely, get rid of them when be completely replaced by a new gadget.

Did you buy a new phone? You may keep your old one for a few weeks as a backup in case your new one comes out defective, but then discard it safely. Sell ​​it, recycle it, give it to a friend or relative to use it, but do not park it in a drawer for years, so that when you find it again you will think that it can be exhibited in a museum !.

The best time to sell an iPhone at maximum profitability is when you replace it, to take advantage of the high resale value, while still "running out of paint".

The same goes for all your other gadgets. Get in the habit of selling, recycling or donating your old laptop, tablet, and even the Bluetooth speaker as soon as you replace it with something new. If your machine has a lithium ion battery and you will not use it regularly anymore, it's time to find a new home.

And even if the device is never going to fail and explode in your office drawer, it's just good practice to keep the gadgets in constant use, giving them to people who will actually use them.

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Charge your gadgets properly

gadget, battery, battery
If you are not ready to get rid of the gadget yet, then it is best to charge it properly for storage. Proper charging keeps the cells and circuits of the battery in optimal health.

While the recommendations vary depending on the manufacturer and application, the general consensus is that lithium ion batteries should be charged to about 40%. (Some manufacturers suggest 50% or 60%.)

The important part here is not the exact charge rate. What is important is to ensure that the battery is being charged at about half capacity and not stored fully discharged or fully charged.

Discharge rates on lithium-ion batteries on fully switched off devices are very slow, but you should remember to top up the charge every 12-18 months or so to keep it at about 50%.

Save them properly

Just like many other household items, from paints to canned goods, your gadgets will be happier if stored in a cool, dry place.

If you want to "finish" it, a metal storage container with a comfortable lid on a basement shelf, with an air drying package inside, will offer the best conditions.

Check your gadgets

battery tablet fail
One of the biggest issues with subreddit / r / SpicyPillows is that users come across a forgotten gadget and find it shockingly inflated and distorted, compared to how they left it last.

Therefore, if you are going to store your old gadgets, be sure to check them every now and then. Remember that your devices should have a small charge and require re-testing at least once a year.

Battery degradation and swelling rarely occur suddenly. Usually, the battery inflates slowly until it finally deforms the casing of the machine or even cracks the screen that touches it. Checking your stored devices ensures that you will prevent bloating in the initial stage.

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