I heard that some laptops are a fire risk when they overheat. Are laptops a fire hazard?
They certainly can be. There have been incidents in the past few years of laptops shooting out sparks or bursting into flames. The first confirmed laptop fatality occurred last summer when a Vancouver man died in a fire started by his laptop.
There have been several laptop recalls in the past few years, most owing to faulty batteries or AC adapters that pose fire risks. To be safe, take the time to investigate if your laptop has been recalled. To find out, check the website of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission for a list of models that have been recalled because they pose a fire hazard. If your laptop model is listed for recall, stop using it immediately and follow the recall instructions. Continuing to use it could put you in harm's way.
Laptops that aren't on the recall list can still pose a fire hazard if they overheat. Today's laptops have impressive processing speeds and the faster they work, the hotter they can become, so use your laptop wisely. Avoid overheating your laptop by following these tips:
Make sure to use your laptop on a hard surface that is well ventilated, such as a table -- instead of a couch, bed, or carpet.
If your laptop fan is running but the computer is still hot, take a break and allow it to cool down.
Work on a laptop cooling pad which provides extra ventilation.
Keep dust and dirt away from your laptop's vents, and occasionally clean them out with compressed air.
Don't ever leave a laptop powered on, even in standby or sleep mode, when it's stored in a bag or case.
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