9-Volt Battery Safety – Fire Hazards for Your Home
9 -volt batteries can be found in almost any home in America. We use them to power our smoke alarms, clocks, walkie talkies, and other household items and toys. So why are these 9-volt batteries so dangerous? If not stored properly or correctly disposed of these batteries can be a fire hazard.
When a metal object touches the positive and negative posts of a 9-volt battery, it can cause a short circuit strong enough to create enough heat to start a fire. Even weak batteries may have enough of a charge to cause a fire.
When you look how closely the positive and negative posts are to each other and the probability of storing these batteries in a junk drawer along with metal objects like paper clips, coins, pens, other batteries, steel wool, aluminum foil, and keys – then the risk of starting a fire becomes clear.
How to Safely Store 9-Volt Batteries
It’s very important to store and dispose of 9-volt batteries properly. Keep the batteries in their original packaging until you are ready to use them. Don’t dump them into a drawer or keep them loose. Prevent the posts from coming in contact with other metal objects and other 9 volt batteries. You can cover the posts with masking, duct, or electrical tape or keep them in separate zip-lock bags. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has published a safety sheet on 9-Volt Battery Fire Safety.
- Keep them someplace safe where they won’t be tossed around.
- Store batteries standing up.
- Do not store loose in a drawer.
- Do not store them in containers with other batteries.
How to Safely Dispose of 9-Volt Batteries
Advice for storing batteries safely is simple:
- Many states don’t permit you to throw batteries in the trash. Check with your city or town for the best way to get rid of batteries.
- Most towns have a collection site for household hazardous waste where you can dispose of them safely.
- If your town allows and you do put them in the trash, do not thrown them away with other metal items. You should cover the positive and negative posts with masking, duct, or electrical tape.
Most people don’t know batteries can start a fire, but it happens. An online video has received a lot of attention when a recent victim of a fire explains how 9-volt batteries caused a large house fire after he replaced his smoke detectors with new batteries and placed the old ones in a paper bag for later recycling. He said, “I put a laundry basket on the shelf next to it. It bumped the bag. The two batteries touched and shorted the terminals.”
Watch this online video of New Hampshire Fire Marshal demonstrating how easy a fire can start when a 9 volt battery is stored in your junk drawer.
Please, if you have 9-volt batteries in your home, please check how they are stored.