If you use a vape device to quit traditional cigarettes, you might be wary of all the news stories that have come out in recent years about vape explosions. However, it shouldn’t come as a surprise since vapes are, in essence, what the FDA and US Fire Administration have now called “flaming rockets.” With this statement, you might be wondering, what causes these vape explosions?
Vapes indeed tend to erupt, especially if the vape batteries begin to overheat. For people that consistently use vape pens, it’s essential to understand the dangers that come with a vaping device, how you can prevent accidents from happening, and what are some of the best features that can prevent vape battery explosions.
What Causes Vape Battery Explosions?
The lithium-ion batteries inside of e-cigs work by releasing electrical energy using chemical reactions.
Inside a lithium battery, electrolyte liquid holds electrodes. The electrolytes and electrodes inside these batteries contain various elements, including oxygen and salts, that allow them to react and produce energy chemically.
Due to these specific chemical elements, lithium-ions are subject to releasing energy (in the form of fires) when they overheat, are under repeated stress, or if they suddenly experience a short.
Not only can fires occur from a lithium battery, but also explosions due to the release of combustible gases. This release of pressure results from a perfect storm that, unfortunately, vapes are ideal for producing and can ultimately lead to a vape battery explosion.
Why Do Vape Battery Explosions Happen?
It isn’t necessarily vapes themselves, but the way people handle them and certain defects that can lead to an exploding vape pen.
When a vape pen explodes, it’s usually because the battery within it has overheated due to various causes, including:
- Short circuits
- Improper insulation
- Mishandling the battery
- Placing the batteries in direct heat
- Charging for longer than necessary
- Modifying vape device batteries
- Removing safeguards
These reasons are some of the most common ways that batteries explode. However, there are steps you can take to prevent explosions.
Does the Type of Battery I Use Lead to Explosions?
Unfortunately, because vapes use a variety of batteries, there’s lots of competition amongst vape companies to produce the strongest and smallest battery. The solution they found was using lithium ions, which are now at the center of most vape pen explosions.
What are Lithium-Ion Batteries?
A lithium battery is a type of rechargeable battery that is powerful and small at the same time. Lithium ions are the same types of batteries found in laptops, cell phones, and even automobiles.
These batteries have a variety of advantages, including excellent power output, small size, longer lifespans, and the ability to maintain their power.
Manufacturers make lithium ions out of a combination of lithium metal oxides, vanadium oxides, and olivines. They can also include materials such as cobalt and nickel. These powerful batteries are slightly more expensive for vape users but worth it due to their power as long as the user practices battery safety.
Sadly, a lithium battery can overheat so quickly that they pose a threat to vape smokers. These batteries are so dangerous that from 2015 to 2017, more than 2,000 visits to the emergency room were due to electronic cigarette fires.
How To Prevent Batteries From Exploding?
There are a variety of safety measures you can use to keep batteries safe and prevent thermal runaway, which can cause third-degree burns. Because even though vape batteries conform to high standards of safety, a vape battery can still pose a danger when user error from inexperienced users leads to malfunctions.
Properly Store Batteries
The first tip that you can easily use to prevent battery overheating is to store batteries in a cool, dry place. Placing your batteries in direct sunlight or heat is the worst thing you can do and can cause battery issues and severe injuries. So, you have to be careful to leave batteries away from windows, closed cars, stovetops or microwaves, or anywhere else where e-cigarettes can overheat.
You should also keep Li-ion batteries away from extreme cold to preserve their strength.
Don’t Overcharge Batteries
It’s also a good idea to not overcharge batteries by leaving them plugged in overnight to prevent a vape pen explosion. In addition, you should leave batteries charged at around 50% instead of fully charged if you’re going to store them for a long time.
Similarly, it’s best to leave your lithium battery at home when traveling, with some airplanes even banning them altogether in checked baggage to prevent battery overheats.
Finally, charge your vaping products on a flat surface and away from any metal object to minimize the risk of explosion.
Carry Loose Batteries Separately
The FDA recommends traveling with vapes only in carry-on bags and storing lithium batteries separate from the vape pen.
When storing batteries separately, it’s essential to make sure they stay away from other materials that can physically damage them, including other metal objects, plastics, keys, or coins. Not only can these items physically damage your batteries, but they can also cause them to short-circuit. Instead, you can carry your batteries in a soft case to keep them protected.
Properly Dispose of Batteries
You should also make sure never to use damaged batteries and dispose of them properly at a recycling center once you notice they’re damaged or worn. Lithium batteries usually have a lifespan of about two to three years, depending on how long you use them and whether or not you maintain them properly. Therefore, a new battery can prevent explosions.
Maintenance of Batteries
Speaking of maintenance, it’s also a good idea to properly clean the terminals of your batteries now and then. You should also store them properly, following the suggestions of your vape manufacturer.
Charge Batteries Properly
The FDA states people should never charge their batteries with a phone or laptop charger, as this can cause serious shorts and circuitry issues. Instead, use the charger that comes with your battery and replace chargers through the manufacturer.
Buy A Proper Battery
You should never buy counterfeit batteries. Also, look up the reviews of the battery manufacturer you choose. Your local vape shop can help you find the batteries recommended for your vape.
Don’t Disable Safety Features
Fortunately, many Li-ion batteries in vapes come with safety features so that the risk of an overheated battery is rare.
However, some people might opt to buy a vape without safety attributes or even disable them. People who use mechanical mods, also called a mech mod, often disable or don’t use features like fire button locks, vent holes, and protection against overcharging.
Without safety attributes, your vape is not as protected from extreme temperatures and can easily catch fire and give you severe burns.
If you’d like to experiment with mods that don’t have safety mechanisms, you should talk with the staff at your local vape shops. Expert advice can help you prevent chemical burns and emergency room visits from e-cigarette explosions.
Protect from Water
Water can easily lead to battery fails in vaping devices. Water can get into your battery if you use your vape near a pool or even through condensation from extremely humid or cold environments. So, remember to keep your e-cigarette protected from the elements.
How Do Vape Pens Work?
Vapes are also known as e-cigarettes or electronic cigarettes. Currently, there are over 460 vapes out on the market, and most of them operate in much the same way.
All vapes will have an attached heating coil or other heating element known as an atomizer, a rechargeable or replaceable battery, and a mouthpiece that allows people who vape to inhale the smoke (or vapor) that forms from inside of the vaping unit.
The battery is the only source of power for vapes and allows vapes to work as well as they do. A bigger battery usually comes in vapes known as box mods, while a smaller one comes inside smaller vapes, like an e-cigarette.
Batteries come in different wattages and also come in either automatic or manual.
Manual batteries only work when a vape smoker holds down the vape button, which then activates a sensor that allows someone to inhale the vapor. Automatic batteries have a sensor that detects the rush of someone inhaling on the mouthpiece and releases vapor this way.
What Kind of Wattage Should A Battery Use?
Usually, the amount of wattage required for a battery coincides with the coils of the vape. Therefore, a standard e-cigarette and a mechanical mod will need different wattages.
The coils are what heat the different substances inside of the vape. Vape substances can include:
- Nicotine Juice
- Dry Herbs
These coils all have different resistances, which usually have to coincide with the wattage of the e-cigarette battery. Although there used to be charts that vape smokers could refer to so they could find the correct wattage, it’s better for people to stick to the manufacturer’s suggestions to prevent e-cigarette burns.
Staying Safe from Explosion Related Injuries
An e-cigarette explosion is not just dangerous and traumatizing but can also be deadly. Two fatalities had occurred when an e-cigarette exploded, and many more people have suffered second-degree burns, broken jaws, and missing teeth, among other injuries.
You don’t have to suffer from these injuries! You can stay safe from exploding batteries in vapes by following proper handling and storage techniques, like steering clear of extreme heat and mech mods.