Rechargeable batteries are in everything. Look around now, and there are probably six devices with a rechargeable battery at your fingertips.
Given the number of devices with a rechargeable battery living in your home, it’s a good thing that they’re surprisingly safe and rarely catch fire.
But it rarely ever happens.
Yes, that’s right, a battery can catch fire – and sometimes even explode.
The good news is that batteries generally give you a warning before they explode in a fireball. And if you know the warning signs, you can deal with them before you get a nasty surprise.
Here are the warning signs to look out for that could be ready to explode in your smartphone or laptop battery.
#1: The machine gets really hot
This is a big warning sign that something bad could happen imminently.
Also: Are long USB-C charging cables a fire hazard?
#2: The device is swollen, or the seams are opening up
Rechargeable batteries can swell dramatically when faulty, and this can cause screens to slip out of smartphones and even bend the case of laptops and other gadgets.
#3: An unpleasant chemical smell emanates from the device
This is another warning sign. It might not be the faulty battery here, but any pungent odors coming from the device is a sign that it needs to be checked.
No. 4: smoke
Kind of goes without saying that this is a problem you shouldn’t ignore.
#5: Device Not Charging Properly
This might not be an imminent sign that your smartphone, laptop, or other gadget is going to catch fire, but it’s a sign that something is wrong, and to be on the safe side, it’s worth checking the device.
Also: MacBook not charging? Here’s what to check
#6: Liquids leaking from the device
This might not be the battery, but it’s still a warning sign that you shouldn’t ignore. If it’s not coming from the battery, it’s coming from something.
#7: The device has been seriously damaged
There may be a significant reduction if the case is dented, crushed, or bent. If there is any chance of the battery being damaged or punctured, this is a problem that you should not ignore.
What to do in case of fire
If you come across any of these signs, stop using the device and seek expert help, in the meantime, put the device somewhere if it catches fire, it won’t cause much of a problem (on a metal tray, in concrete, something that won’t catch and spread fire).
If your appliance catches fire, do not spray water on it, as this may make it worse! This is when having a proper fire extinguisher can save the day. Don’t have one? Buy one now. seriously.
If the fire is small and you can’t reach the extinguisher, covering the appliance with something fire-resistant — a metal bowl or a glass bowl — can help prevent spread. However, do not take risks with regard to fires. Evacuating the area and calling emergency services is the safest thing you can do.