Charging a Starter Battery: Safety Tips

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Lithium battery fires have been seizing news headlines lately, and sometimes the results are dramatic. We wrote this post to remind our readers that lead-acid batteries are power houses too. They can also cause fires when someone misuses them. This can happen when charging a starter battery as happened in Honolulu recently.

House Fire Erupts While Charging a Starter Battery

Our heart reaches out to a Honolulu man in hospital with second degree burns. The fire broke out on Friday, September 28th, 2018. The Honolulu Fire Departments reports the fire occurred at 8:55 a.m. in the garage of a private home. Nine fire teams responded to the ferocity of the blaze..

“Upon arrival, they found the garage fully involved. The entire structure was maybe 33 percent involved,” Battalion Chief Paul Kato of the Honolulu Fire Department told KHON News. According to fire investigators, the fire began while the man was charging a starter battery. Fire damage amounted to $370,000 to the structure, and $192,000 to its contents being a total $562,000.

How to Use a Portable Car Battery Charger

What May have Happened to Cause the Battery Fire

Khon News interviewed a technician from a local battery store. “If you have the polarity crossed,” Vincent Andrade explained, “that will do it, reversed polarity that can catch fire. You also need a good connection,” he continued.

“You want to get the best connection you can, some are difficult …because a bad connection can also cause heat. And definitely make sure the charger’s off before you connect it because when you’re messing with the cables it could spark.” We suspected the injured man may have been using old equipment, although a full inquiry will answer that.

Charging a starter battery should be safe in a well-ventilated area, provided the charger and the battery are in good working order. Please take care to apply the right amperage, and monitor the process regularly during charging. If in any doubt switch the charger off and seek advice. Lead acid batteries are power houses of packed energy, and we should respect them at all times.


Home Battery Safety Tips While Charging

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Preview Image: Mistakes are Easier in Unsafe Conditions

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I tripped over a shrinking bank balance and fell into the writing gig unintentionally. This was after I escaped the corporate world and searched in vain for ways to become rich on the internet by doing nothing. Despite the fact that writing is no recipe for wealth, I rather enjoy it. I will not deny I am obsessed with it when I have the time. My base is Umtentweni in South Africa on the Kwazulu-Natal South Coast. I work from home where I ponder on the future of the planet, and what lies beyond in the great hereafter. Sometimes I step out of my computer into the silent riverine forests, and empty golden beaches for which the area is renowned.

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