Tips: Can Laptop Overheating cause Fire?


Some days back, I was just doing my routine online updates and I stumbled on a rumor that has been circulating for a couple of years now about a young man who died in a house fire caused by an overheated laptop computer. Instantly, I asked myself two questions: Did that incident actually happen?, and is it possible for laptops to overheat and cause fire?

Its actually a valid question to ask if Laptops can actually cause fire or not, especially if you have worked with your laptop on bed and great heat was generated. Meanwhile, lets take a look at the rumor:

A couple lost their 25 year old son in a fire at home on June 4th. The son who had graduated with MBA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison two weeks earlier had come home for a while. He had lunch with his dad at home and decided to go back to clean up his hostel room. His father told him to wait, to meet his mother, before he went back for a few days. He decided to take a nap while waiting for his mom to come back home from work. Some time later their neighbors called 911 when they saw black smoke coming out of the house.

Unfortunately, the 25 years old died in the three year old house. It took several days of investigation to find out the cause of the fire. It was determined that the fire was caused by the laptop resting on the bed. When the laptop was on the bed cooling fan did not get the air to cool the computer and that is what caused the fire. He did not even wake up to get out of the bed because he died of breathing in carbon monoxide.

The reason I am writing this to all of you is that I have seen many of us using the laptop while in bed. Let us all decide and make it a practice not to do that. The risk is real. Let us make it a rule not to use the laptop on bed with blankets and pillows around. Please educate as many people as you can.

“Please pass to everyone you know, you might save one’s life”

Bottom Line:

Well, either you believe this story or not, the truth is, its a bad idea for you to block the vent area of your laptop because this could lead to excessive heat being generated, apart from the rumor of casuing fire, one thing am sure of is that it could damage the motherboard.

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My Advise:

  • Don’t block the vent area of your laptop.
  • Make sure you use your laptop in a well ventilated area, apart from care for laptop, your heath too is more important.
  • Do not put your laptop in the bag without shutting down.
  • Never use your laptop on the bed without a raise, maybe using a text book to raise one side and expose the vent to air.
  • Check occasionally to confirm if fan is still working
  • You can also purchase a USB cooling fan, which stays under the laptop.
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