Check your chargers - how to keep safe

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Check your phone chargers - how to keep safe

Phone and laptop chargers are no longer a ‘nice to have’ for many of us... they’re a necessity!

However like all electrical appliances, they can be dangerous if not used correctly. 

Join us as we look at the dangers, and how you can keep safe when charging your equipment up.

Why are chargers dangerous?

Chargers can be dangerous if they are faulty or counterfeit. They can either overheat or cause the product they are charging to overheat, increasing the risk of fire.

Take for example, this shocking story from Birmingham. A laptop being charged on a bed caught fire, leading to the whole bedroom being engulfed in flames.

If firefighters hadn’t got to the scene as quickly as they did, it could have led to the whole house being set ablaze.

How to stay safe when using your charger

There are a couple of steps to help you stay safe when using your charger.

Don’t leave items on charge overnight or when you are not in the house

Leaving things on charge overnight or unattended can increase the risk of them overheating, especially if using a counterfeit charger.

Another bonus of not leaving your phone or laptop charging overnight is that you can save your battery. 

Overcharging your battery leads to a higher ambient temperature. This can reduce its capacity over time.

Don’t leave items charging on soft surfaces

If you are charging your phone or laptop, leave it on a hard surface like a desk or coffee table.

Charging your equipment on a soft surface like a bed or sofa can cause it to overheat, potentially causing a fire risk.

We recently carried out a survey and found that 1 in 12 people (8%) charged their phone behind a pillow!

Chart showing how any people leave their phone under their pillow

Don’t use a charger if it is damaged

A damaged charger is more likely to overheat. Carry out a quick check before you use your charger. 

If the cable is damaged, the pins are wobbly or the casing is damaged, don’t use it.  

If you plug your charger in and you hear, smell or see anything unusual, turn it off and unplug it.

A frayed charger cable

Take care when buying a charger online

Counterfeit chargers may look like the real deal, but have been manufactured in countries where the health and safety regulations are much more lax. 

Always use the branded charger that came with your product. If you need to buy a replacement, buy it from a reputable retailer.

A CE mark or BSI Kitemark on the charger shows that it complies with UK/EU safety standards, but this mark can be forged.

Read our guide to buying electrical equipment online

Avoid generic chargers

Although buying a charger that you can use with all your devices may sound tempting, this can be dangerous. 

Different pieces of equipment need different levels of charge, meaning more chance of a device overheating.
 

If you're looking to keep your chargers, as well as the rest of your equipment in your office, retail outlet or commercial building safe, Hawkesworth can help.

We offer PAT testing (electrical equipment testing) across the UK, giving your business peace of mind.

Get in touch with our team today for your no-obligation quote.


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