E-cigarette use is enjoying a bit of a boom currently, with record numbers of people using it as a way of quitting smoking. However when it comes to charging them, it is presenting users with a different kind of problem altogether.
The chargers supplied with the e-cigarette are the genuine product, however users are commonly buying additional chargers which are a cheaper 'universal' version of the charger supplied. E-cigarettes have varying charging voltages leading to many cases of electrical damage, fire and in the worst cases explosion. Obviously the outcome could be very serious and e-cigarettes alone caused over 100 house fires across the UK between 2011 and 2013.
How e-cigarettes can damage your electrics
As an electrician in Birmingham, I have noticed that call outs to repair electrical damage caused by e-cigarette chargers has been on the rise. Thankfully no one has been killed and injured as the universal charger was discovered in time. However it is never nice to have to pay to repair the damage caused to your home electrics by a cheap version of a genuine charger.
Most people leave their e-cigarette on charge overnight or whilst they go to work so invariably they are left unattended. It does not take long for problems to begin with these chargers. They will begin to overheat and eventually will cause damage to your socket and the wiring inside your wall. If the charger has still not been discovered, then a fire could break out inside your wall. Chances are you wouldn't be aware of this until it was a serious matter. Finally the charger will explode which will cause catastrophic effects which could include death, electric shock or injury or severe house fire.
Repairing damage caused by an e-cigarette will vary according to the extent of the problem. The best thing you can do is to contact a qualified and registered electrician as soon as possible. Never leave a problem as it could be making it worse.
E-cigarette charging problems are a UK wide problem, so much so that the issue has prompted the electrical safety charity Electrical Safety First to produce a video – it's title is Clueless Colin, but don't worry, I'm not suggesting you are clueless if your name is Colin! ;)
How to stay electrically safe when using e-cigarettes
Remember the problem is not with the e-cigarette itself, it's with the type of charger being used to charge it. I highly recommend that you use only genuine charging products with your e-cigarette. They might cost more than their universal counterparts but it will save you at the very least a costly bill to repair your electrics later on down the line.
If you have been using a universal charger it would be a good idea to ensure it has caused no damage to your home electrics. Here at Electrical Experts I suggest having an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) carried out to check for any problems with your home wiring.
Remember, when it comes to electrical safety, it is better to be safe than sorry.