5 Unexpected Items That Cause Fire Damage: How E-Cigarettes, Hoverboards, Chargers, and More Cause Smoke Damage and Fires
When you think of most home fires, you probably thinking of a kitchen fire or an out of control candle. But almost any device that uses electricity can start a fire and result in significant smoke damage or soot damage. In fact, many modern conveniences can cause fire damage to your home. From e-cigarettes to hoverboards, we look at some unexpected household items that can cause fires. Plus, we outline the basics of fire damage restoration.
5 Unexpected Items That May Cause Fires
All of these items are safe under normal operating conditions, but improper use, overuse, or damage can turn them into fire hazards.
- Electric Blankets – Electric blankets are an inexpensive convenience to keep us warm on cold nights. Most electric blanket fires are a result of improper use, but damage and age are also factors.
- Hoverboards – So-called hoverboards remain a hot trend. Their chargers are usually safe, but overcharging and improper use can result in fires.
- Electronic Cigarettes – Electronic cigarettes have become extremely commonplace today. E-cigarette fires are typically caused by battery issues or as a result of modifications.
- Lava Lamps – Whether they are trendy or kitschy, lava lamps are still popular with many high school and college students. The majority of lava lamp fires are a result of overuse or accidents.
- Charging Devices – We all have plenty of devices today and each one comes with a plug or charging device. Charger fires are often a result of overloading or damaged cables.
How Electric Blankets Cause Fires
Electric blankets are a common convenience for staying warming on cold winter nights. While most units are safe, any electric blanket can cause a fire under the right conditions. Most electric blanket fires are a result of an overheating electrical element, a broken electrical conductor, or overheating of an electrical component.
The best way to prevent electric blanket fires is to read the manufacturers’ instructions, use the unit properly, and replace it every 5 to 8 years. This prevents elements, conductors, and electrical parts from wearing out to the point of failure.
Fired Damage from Hoverboards
Hoverboards first appeared a few years ago and have become a huge trend. Due to their extreme popularity, many companies have rushed units into production. Some of these items are designed to minimize costs and maximize profits. Since these products are so new, there very few industry standards and self-regulation.
As a result, some models are prone to fires or exploding batteries as a result of overcharging or improper charging. To prevent hoverboard fires, always use the provided charging device even if you have a similar charger. Read the manufacturers’ instructions and avoid overcharging the device. Never leave it on the charger overnight or while you are sleeping.
Fires and Explosions from Electronic Cigarettes
Electronic cigarettes are extremely popular, as they allow individuals to smoke in many non-smoking establishments. As with hoverboards, there are few standards and self-regulation within the industry. While most store-bought e-cigarette devices are safe, there is an extensive aftermarket for accessories. Some of these items are low-quality or require modifying the e-cig device to use.
To avoid fires with your electronic cigarette, always follow the original manufacturers’ instructions. Avoid using accessories produced by other manufacturers, as they might not be compatible with your device even if they claim to be universal. Only use batteries designed for your specific model. Use the original charger and remove the device once it’s fully charged.
Causes of Lava Lamp Fires
Of the items on this unexpected causes of fires, lava lamps are the most low-tech. There have been very few enhancements in lava lamps over the last 50+ years since it was invented. Most lava lamps rely on a light bulb to heat a wax solution that creates the lava effect.
Most lava lamp fires are a result of either accidents or negligence. This includes using a light bulb with the incorrect wattage, leaving the lamp on for too long, or unknowingly knocking the lamp over. If a flammable material, such as paper or fabric, comes in contact with the lamp it can easily ignite.
Preventing Fires from Electrical Outlets and Charging Devices
Prevent fires from charging devices and electrical plugs by using them correctly.
- Avoid overloading electrical outlets, circuits, and extension cords.
- Never use a frayed or damaged electrical cord.
- Never use a damaged electrical outlet.
- Avoid plugging multiple chargers into the same outlet to prevent overloads.
- Always use the correct charging device for an electrical item.
- Never plug a power strip into another power strip or extension cord.
- Follow manufacturers instructions when charging electrical devices.
- Always use the original manufacturers charging device.
- Remove items from the charger as soon as charging is complete.
- Unplug chargers when not in use.
- Never attempt to modify or repair the charger.
- Avoid charging at night or when you are not home.
Cleaning Up Smoke and Fire Damage
Depending on the extent of the smoke damage after a fire, you can clean it up yourself. Wear rubber gloves when cleaning smoke and soot damage to prevent getting stained.
Begin by vacuuming the affected area to remove as much debris as possible. Avoid rubbing the nozzle of the vacuum against the damaged surface to prevent rubbing in the stain.
Use dry cleaning erasers, also known as chemical erasers or magic sponges, to remove smoke and soot stains. Rub them gently on stained surfaces, working in small sections to avoid spreading or smearing soot.
For stubborn smoke and soot stains, use a soft rag soaked in 70% isopropyl rubbing alcohol. Always work in a well-ventilated area when using rubbing alcohol. Gently scrub soot stains, working in small sections to prevent smudging.
If stains still remain, combine a tablespoon of grease-fighting dish soap with a quart of water. Using a soft sponge to gently rub out the soot stains.
Fire Damage Restoration from Restoration Local
Restoration Local is the #1 network of restoration professionals. If you have smoke or fire damage, find a local fire damage restoration company now. Our network includes all of the major restoration franchises including DKI Restoration, Paul Davis Restoration, and ServiceMaster Restore as well as independent restoration companies. For immediate fire damage restoration services, call 1-888-443-3110 to speak with our on-call fire damage company. Our local, on-call fire damage restoration experts are trained in removing smoke and soot damage and cleaning up after a fire. They even work with your insurance company.