Fire Safety at home is easily overlooked. Then you read a story in the news and it shocks you for a day or two, and then you revert back to your normal self.
I has such an occasion today when I read that a family lost their house because their laptop overheated while they were out.
Thankfully no one was in the house.
I did some research and last year in the UK, 159 fires were caused by computer appliances.
The 3 main causes are:
Ignition of wire or cable insulation or appliance housing or casing:
Make sure your cables are undamaged and not covered in clutter.
Make sure you are using the correct power pack for your device
If you use extension leads, buy ones that have surge protection and “connected equipment warranty” – This means they are built to cut off in the event of an issue with the devices, and if their equipment fails, they will pay up to the warranty amount to replace what you have lost.
If you’re not using it, turn it off or put it into sleep mode. It’ll save your electricity bill as well as keep you safe.
Dust build-up in desktop computers:
PCs do fill up with dust over time and this affects the air flow and subsequent cooling inside your desktop.
To clean out your PC, take the side panel of your PC off and a can of compressed air will do the trick – DO NOT use your hoover, I have seen it happen before and it didn’t end well!
Laptops used on beds and surfaces whereby the vents are blocked will cause your laptop to overheat, not only does it pose a fire risk but it also damages the components inside you laptop.
If you want to use your laptop in bed, use a wooden cutting board that is slightly bigger than your laptop as a mini table.
If your laptop is showing signs of overheating (See below) but the vents are all clear, you may find the vents are blocked with dust, a good blast with compressed air can help with this.
If the weather is hot or you do a lot of gaming, consider buying a laptop cooling tray to help circulate more air – my last laptop in it’s last year of life had a cooling tray just to work on a normal day, it was 7 years old though!
Good indicators of an overheating laptop\PC are:
– The fan is always on
– The laptop\PC is hot to the touch
– The laptop\PC is really slow doing the most basic things
– The screen has lines across it (This is a sign your Graphics card is overheating)
– The laptop\PC cuts out an shuts down – This is a safety mechanism in the laptop, if this happens, let your laptop cool right down before starting it back up again.
We tend to assume “it’ll never happen to us” but for 159 families this was not the case.
Have a fab, safe, weekend!