With the advancements in technology in the past few decades, tons of devices now have lithium-ion batteries. While lithium-battery technology has been around for approximately 100 years, early lithium batteries couldn’t be sold to the public because they were just too volatile. Fortunately, today’s lithium-ion batteries are much more durable and stable. However, they can still be damaged and made dangerous by heat. Here’s what you need to know about lithium battery safety so you can keep your family safe.
Certified Vs Not
There are multiple certifications and tests that lithium-ion battery manufacturers have to pass and qualifications they have to maintain to ship and ultimately sell their product. Both the United States Department of Transportation and Underwriter’s Laboratory put rigorous testing requirements on any lithium-ion battery testing, manufacturing, and shipping. More importantly, any battery that has been refurbished or tested and found defective has to be shipped in a specially certified container.
The Effects of Heat Exposure
In very rare cases, heat build-up within or around your electronic device can cause battery cells to burst and catch fire. This condition is called thermal runaway and is extremely dangerous. Once ignited, these fires can exceed 1500 degrees Fahrenheit. Excessive heat from lithium-ion batteries has been the culprit in exploding cell phones. Storage conditions matter. If you notice your phone getting hot to the touch, turn it off and place it in a cool spot. Never store your phone in a hot car or leave it lay on a surface that will reflect heat, such as on a thermal blanket or foam cushion.
Regulations Yield Results
It’s important to note that lithium-ion battery fires and explosions are extremely rare. This technology is handled with a great deal of care and is highly regulated because the results can be so catastrophic and the devices are so widespread. While you may have heard anecdotal tales of phones exploding or catching fire, this doesn’t happen out of the blue. If your batteries are showing signs of wear due to heat exposure, they will likely fail before they ignite. In fact, lithium-ion battery construction now includes several layers of consumer protection to reduce the risk of injury from explosion or fire.
Not only are lithium-ion batteries safer to use than many other battery constructions, but these batteries are also safer to dispose of because they don’t leak acid as they decay. By treating your electronics well, keeping them out of very warm conditions and simply replacing them when the batteries show signs of age, you can protect yourself and your family from the risk of a lithium-ion battery fire.