The 9volt Battery Fire - Nine Volt Batteries Can Cause House Fires - Rumor or Truth?
Updated: Feb 23
We are here to share the facts with you...It is true, one of the most common household items could be threatening the safety of your home right now.
Take a moment to think of your collection of batteries.
Where are they stored?
In a drawer?
In a case?
Scattered in the garage?
In a Tupperware container?
How are they stored?
Loose, roaming free in a drawer or other container?
Hanging out with other clutter such a loose change, paper clips, staples, metal clasps, etc...
In a plastic baggie?
In their original packaging?
You may be wondering why we have you seriously considering the whereabouts and the storage situation of your battery arsenal.
We are discussing battery safety to prevent you from experiencing a preventable but serious hazard in your own home - a 9volt battery fire.
Let’s start with some real-life examples for illustration...
9-volt Battery Fires in the News
Nashua, NH - this town has fallen prey to not one, but two “junk-drawer fires”.
In the summer of 2012, there was a kitchen fire that started in a junk drawer.
When the fire department was called, it was discovered that the origin of the fire was a plastic baggie in a junk drawer that was full of extra batteries, including a 9-volt battery along with various other items.
What started the fire? The 9-volt rubbed against another battery.
Following this event, the New Hampshire Department of Safety’s Fire Division issued a warning about safety concerns regarding 9-volt batteries.
Five years later in the same town, another house fire was caused by the same scenario.
Fort Collins, CO - a house fire occurred from a collection of 9-volt batteries kept in a paper bag meant for recycling.
The bag got bumped by another object, causing the battery terminals to touch.
This incident was cited by Grandview, MO’s KCTV5 in a video about the dangers of storing 9-volt batteries improperly.
The owner of the house in this instance got out safely, but the house was total loss.
We hope your eyes are open to the potential dangers of incorrectly stored 9-volt batteries.
Even the mere act of throwing old batteries in the trash poses a risk.
How to Protect Your Home from a Battery Fire
After the 2012 house fire in Nashua, NH, Fire Marshal William Degnan sent out a press release on how 9-volt batteries can pose a threat to homes.
On AA, AAA, D, and C batteries, the positive and negative posts are on either end of the unit. Nine-volt batteries house their positive and negative posts together at its head.
The double posts pose a double threat if they come in contact with a metal object, such as those found in a miscellaneous drawer or workshop storage:
Metal office supplies
Other metal items
To help ease your fears, a statistical study by the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) showed that fires caused by batteries did not make the Most Common Causes of House Fires list.
That being said. We believe that even one time is one time too many.
It is a good idea to know how to prevent these situations from occurring in your home.
The way 9-volt batteries are stored is an important part of fire prevention.
Remember, the reason that a 9 volt can create a fire hazard is that, unlike other batteries, the positive and negative posts are on the top of the battery.
If the battery comes into contact with a metal object, it can spark. If there is fuel present, a fire can start.
Talking about this also gives a good excuse to remind you to always have fully-charged fire extinguishers in your home!
NFPA published guidelines for storing 9-volt batteries:
Do not store 9-volts loose in a drawer or in a container with other batteries.
Keep batteries in their original packaging until ready for use. If they are out of their packages, keep the posts covered with electrical tape or another non-conductive tape.
Don’t keep batteries in your pocket where they can be in contact with keys and loose change.
Store batteries standing up and keep them in a safe place away from the possibility of being jostled around.
Safe Disposal of Batteries
Check with your local authorities.
There are some states that do not allow batteries to be thrown out with the trash.
In this case, they should be taken to a site for hazardous waste.
Again, when disposing of or storing the batteries, cover the positive and negative posts with electrical tape.
Never dispose of batteries in or near a fire.
Be cautious if the battery has had a short. A short-circuited battery can heat up quickly due to a high flow of current, making it more susceptible to cause a fire.
If you have reason to think that your battery was charged by a short circuit then dispose of immediately after wrapping the posts with electrical tape.
Read the Package Instructions
It's important to do what is possible to reduce fire risks within the home and when traveling.
Energizer recommends on its packaging that when traveling, you should cover the terminals with insulated tape.
Batteries can also be stored in plastic bags, one battery per bag.
Home safety is a priority to B&W Fire Security Systems - leave your comments and questions below.
We are happy to help your home and family stay safe!