What Causes Batteries to Start a Fire? (Answered)

Published on: October 31, 2022
Written by Jonas Frank / Fact-checked by Nova Scarlett

Batteries are a common source of house fires. In fact, they’re the leading cause of equipment fires in the U.S., according to the National Fire Protection Association. But what causes batteries to start a fire?

There are three main ways that batteries can catch fire: overcharging, short-circuiting, and physical damage.

what causes batteries to start a fire

Batteries are a common cause of house fires. In fact, they’re the leading cause of home fire fatalities, according to the U.S. Fire Administration. That’s because when batteries overheat, they can release deadly chemicals and start a fire.

There are several things that can cause batteries to overheat and catch fire.

FirstOne is simply leaving them plugged in for too long. When a battery is charging, it produces heat, and if it’s not properly ventilated, that heat can build up and cause the battery to catch fire.
SecondAnother common cause of battery fires is short-circuiting. This happens when the positive and negative terminals of a battery come into contact with each other, creating a spark that can ignite any flammable material nearby. This can happen if you drop your phone or tablet and the battery terminals touch each other, or if you put metal objects like keys or coins on top of a battery (like in your pocket).
FinallyFinally, damaged batteries are also prone to catching fire. If a battery is punctured or otherwise damaged, its internal chemical reaction can become unstable, leading to an explosion or fire. So be careful with those lithium-ion batteries!

Fires Caused by Batteries

Fires caused by batteries are a serious problem. Each year, thousands of fires are started by batteries. These fires can cause serious injuries and even death.

Lithium-Ion Batteries

The most common type of battery fire is caused by Lithium-ion batteries. These types of batteries are used in many electronic devices, including cell phones, laptops, and power tools. Lithium-ion batteries can overheat and catch fire if they are damaged or defective.

Lead-acid Battery

Another type of battery that can cause fires is a lead-acid battery. Lead-acid batteries are often used in cars and trucks. If these batteries leak, the acid can eat through wires and start a fire.

To prevent battery fires, it’s important to properly store and maintain your batteries. Never leave loose batteries lying around where they could come into contact with metal objects (such as keys or coins). Also, be sure to regularly check your devices for any signs of damage or wear and tear.

If you notice anything unusual, stop using the device immediately and contact the manufacturer.

Why Would a Battery Catch on Fire?

Batteries are made up of a number of different materials, including metals and chemicals. When these materials are combined, they create a chemical reaction that produces electricity. This reaction is what powers our electronic devices.

However, this same chemical reaction can also cause problems. If a battery is damaged or defective, the chemicals can leak out and come into contact with other materials. This can create sparks or heat, which can ignite the flammable chemicals in the battery and cause a fire.

There are a few reasons why batteries might catch fire:

Manufacturing Defects

Sometimes batteries are not made correctly and have flaws that make them more likely to catch fire.

External Damage

If a battery is dropped or hit hard, it can be damaged on the inside.

This damage can cause the chemicals to leak and start a fire.


When batteries are charged with too much power, it can cause them to overheat and catch fire.

Can AA Batteries Catch Fire?

can aa batteries catch fire

Batteries are an essential part of our lives – they power our phones, laptops, and many other devices. However, batteries can be dangerous if not used properly. One hazard is that batteries can catch fire.

There have been several reports of AA batteries catching fire. In most cases, the fires were caused by faulty battery chargers or damaged batteries. Sometimes, the fires were started by children who were playing with the batteries.

If you use AA batteries, it’s important to be aware of the risks and take precautions to avoid a fire. Always use a reputable charger and never leave charging batteries unattended. If you’re not using the battery, store it in a safe place where it can’t be damaged or come into contact with metal objects that could cause a short circuit.

And if you see any damage on a battery (e.g., swelling, leaks), dispose of it safely and replace it with a new one.

How Do You Put Out a Lithium-Ion Battery Fire?

When a lithium-ion battery catches fire, it can be extremely difficult to put out. The best way to extinguish a lithium-ion battery fire is with a Class D dry chemical fire extinguisher. This type of extinguisher is specifically designed for fires involving combustible metals.

If you don’t have a Class D fire extinguisher, you can try using a CO2 extinguisher, but this may not be effective. Water should never be used to put out a lithium-ion battery fire, as this can cause the fire to spread and make the situation even more dangerous.

What Temperature Does Lithium-Ion Batteries Explode?

Lithium-ion batteries are used in a wide variety of devices, from smartphones to laptops to electric vehicles. They are also increasingly being used in homes and businesses as backup power supplies. While lithium-ion batteries have many advantages over other types of batteries, they also come with some risks.

One of the most serious risks is that they can explode if they get too hot. There have been a number of high-profile incidents in which lithium-ion batteries have exploded, causing fires and injuries. In most cases, these explosions have been caused by faulty manufacturing or design flaws.

However, even when batteries are made correctly and used properly, they can still overheat and explode if they get too hot. The temperature at which lithium-ion batteries explode depends on a number of factors, including the type of battery and the amount of charge it is carrying. Generally speaking, the higher the charge level, the higher the risk of explosion.

Lithium-ion batteries can explode at temperatures as low as 60°C (140°F). There are a number of ways to prevent your lithium-ion battery from overheating and exploding.

FirstMake sure you only buy batteries from reputable manufacturers who use quality components.
SecondNever leave your device charging unattended for long periods of time; heat builds up quickly when chargers are left on for hours at a time.
FinalAvoid using your device in extreme temperatures; both cold and heat can cause problems for lithium-ion batteries.

What Happens If You Put a Lithium Battery in a Fire?

If you put a lithium battery in a fire, it will release large amounts of energy. This can cause an explosion and release harmful chemicals into the air.

How Often Do Lithium Batteries Catch Fire?

Lithium batteries are incredibly powerful and have a higher energy density than any other type of battery on the market. However, this power comes with a price – lithium batteries are also more volatile and can catch fire if they’re damaged or improperly used. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, there were an estimated 3,700 fires and explosions involving lithium-ion batteries between 2010 and 2017.

These incidents resulted in nearly 500 injuries and over $1 billion in property damage. The vast majority of these fires were caused by damaged or defective batteries, but there are a few things that you can do to reduce the risk of your lithium-ion battery catching fire:

1. Only use reputable brands that offer high-quality products. Cheap knockoffs are more likely to be defective and may not have adequate safety features.

2. Store your lithium-ion batteries in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight or other sources of heat. Extreme temperatures can damage the battery cells and increase the risk of fire.

3. Don’t allow your Lithium-ion batteries to come into contact with metal objects like keys or coins as this can create a short circuit that could cause the battery to overheat and catch fire.

Can Lithium Batteries Catch Fire When Not in Use?

Lithium batteries are known for their high energy density and long life span. However, they can pose a fire hazard if not used correctly. Lithium batteries can catch fire if left in a hot environment, such as a car on a hot day.

They can also catch fire if damaged or exposed to water. If you have a lithium battery, be sure to keep it in a cool, dry place and never leave it in a car on a hot day.

can lithium batteries catch fire when not in use
Credit: www.thoughtco.com

What Would Cause a Battery to Catch Fire?

One of the most common reasons batteries catch fire is due to overheating. When a battery gets too hot, the chemicals inside can react and cause a fire. This can happen if the battery is left in a hot car or if it’s placed next to something else that’s on fire.

Sometimes, batteries can also catch fire if they’re faulty or have been damaged. If you think your battery may be at risk of catching fire, it’s important to take precautions and keep an eye on it.

Can Batteries Spontaneously Catch Fire?

Batteries are made up of a number of different chemicals and materials, all of which have the potential to catch fire if they become overheated. The most common type of battery fire occurs in lithium-ion batteries, which are often used in laptops, cell phones, and other portable electronic devices. When these batteries overheat, the heat can cause the chemical reactions inside the battery to accelerate, leading to a build-up of pressure and heat.

This can eventually cause the battery to rupture or catch fire. While it is possible for batteries to spontaneously catch fire, it is actually quite rare. In most cases, battery fires are caused by external factors such as overheating or short-circuiting.

However, there have been some reported cases of spontaneous battery fires, usually involving lithium-ion batteries. In one case, a laptop caught fire while it was turned off and unplugged; the cause was later determined to be a faulty lithium-ion battery. While such incidents are rare, they underscore the importance of taking proper care of your batteries and not exposing them to excessive heat or other potentially damaging conditions.

What Kind of Batteries Catch Fire?

All kinds of batteries can catch fire if they’re damaged, short-circuited, or overcharged. Lithium-ion batteries are particularly prone to catching fire because they contain a lot of energy in a small space. If the battery is damaged, that energy can be released suddenly and cause a fire.

Batteries can also catch fire if they’re stored in a hot environment. The heat can damage the battery and cause it to release its energy suddenly. That’s why it’s important to store batteries in a cool, dry place.

If you think your battery is damaged, don’t use it! Dispose of it properly so it doesn’t pose a danger to anyone.

How Common are Battery Fires?

Battery fires are actually quite common, especially in relation to the number of devices that use batteries. In fact, according to a report from the National Fire Protection Association, there were an estimated 24,100 home structure fires in the United States caused by some type of electrical failure or malfunction involving a device with batteries. This accounted for 4% of all home structure fires reported to U.S. fire departments in 2013.

When it comes to battery-operated devices, those that are most likely to cause a fire are those that use lithium-ion batteries. These types of batteries are often found in laptops, cell phones, and other electronic devices. The reason they are more prone to causing fires is that they can overheat and catch fire if they are damaged or improperly used.

If you have any type of battery-operated device in your home, it’s important to be aware of the potential fire risk and take steps to prevent it. For example, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for charging and using the device, and don’t leave it charging overnight or unattended. If you notice the device getting hot while in use, turn it off immediately and unplug it from its power source.


Batteries are essential for many of our devices, but they can also be dangerous. Batteries can start a fire if they’re not properly used or maintained. Improperly charging a battery, using a damaged battery, or storing a battery in an overly hot environment can all cause a battery to overheat and catch fire.

If you suspect that your battery is damaged, don’t use it! Be sure to properly dispose of batteries so that they don’t pose a risk to others.

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