Can Vacuum Cleaners Catch Fire and Explode? (Shocking)

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While vacuum cleaners are generally considered safe appliances, it is important to be aware of the potential dangers they can pose, especially if not used or maintained properly.

It is extremely rare for a vacuum cleaner to catch fire and explode. However, its components like the motor and the bag can get very hot while in use, and if they are not cooled down properly, they could ignite something else in the vacuum cleaner, like the dustbin, and cause a fire.

We explore the possibilities of vacuum cleaners catching fire and exploding in this article.

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1. Can Vacuum Cleaners Catch Fire?

Any electric appliance has the potential to catch fire, and vacuum cleaners are no exception. However, most vacuum cleaners are very safe and will not cause any problems.

A vacuum cleaner will not catch fire if used within the manufacturer’s recommendations. However, circumstances like overheating, clogging, or using an incorrect filter can create a fire hazard. Circuit breakers and thermal fuses are designed to prevent fires, and they will usually trip if there is a problem.

There are many things that can cause a vacuum cleaner to become a fire hazard. Here are a few reasons:

  • Vacuum cleaners can overheat if used for too long or there is something blocking the airflow.
  • If the vacuum cleaner is not cleaned regularly, it can build up dust and dirt that can cause a fire.
  • The vacuum cleaner can also catch fire if it comes into contact with a flame or spark.
  • If something gets stuck in the fan or the hose, it can lead to overheating and drawing excessive current. But, most vacuum cleaners are equipped with circuit breakers to prevent this from happening.

Australian vacuum cleaners recalled because they can catch fire

In  2020, a number of Aldi vacuum cleaners (Easy Home – Multicyclonic Vacuum Cleaner) were recalled because they posed a fire risk. The risk was identified as motor overheating due to a blocked dust filter.

In another incident, in the same year, Aldi's 'Easy Home Cordless Cyclonic Stick' vacuum cleaners were also recalled following a fire hazard due to its batteries overheating

Such incidents are not limited to a single brand, or even a single country, and point towards a possibility that all vacuum cleaners might have a latent fire hazard.

However, these are isolated cases and do not generalize the safety of vacuum cleaners as a whole.

Two reports of an American vacuum cleaner brand catching fire

Some Rainbow SRX brand water-based filtration vacuum cleaners sold in 2019 and 2020 had circuit boards that would spark and catch fire.

The manufacturers also reported a couple of cases where the vacuum cleaners caught fire while in use.

However, both these incidents were minor, and no injuries were reported. The company has since issued a free repair for the affected models.

2. Can Vacuum Cleaners Explode?

Today, most major appliances come with a fail safe system that prevents them from exploding.

The probability of a household vacuum cleaner exploding into a fire is extremely rare.  In fact, there are only a few documented cases of vacuum cleaners exploding. Most of these cases involved an older model vacuum cleaner that was not properly maintained.

If you take care of your vacuum cleaner and follow the instructions, it is unlikely that it will explode.

Despite their rarity, however, vacuum cleaner explosions can be serious. They can cause fires, burns, and other injuries. If you experience an explosion, leave the house immediately and call the fire department.

Do not try to put out the fire yourself.

Almost all vacuum cleaners are required to pass a safety test in order to be certified for sale, and any models that pose a risk of explosion are not allowed on the market.

Furthermore, overheating of motors or batteries triggers excessive current draw which will prompt the circuit breakers to trip and stop the vacuum cleaner from running.

A well grounded and insulated vacuum cleaner will also help to prevent any electrical hazards.

One reported incident of an exploding vacuum cleaner

In another unusual occurrence reported by an Aldi vacuum cleaner customer, their machine suddenly burst into flames and the batteries shot out, landing on the carpet and igniting a tiny fire.

The batteries flew out like firecrackers, posing a risk of landing on someone and causing an injury. The incident destroyed the customer's couch and rug.

The incident was reported to the manufacturer, who conducted an investigation. It was however not found to be a design or manufacturing fault with the vacuum cleaner.

Dyson vacuum cleaner explosion because of aftermarket battery

In 2020, firefighters in Lincoln, United Kingdom were called to a blaze caused by a Dyson that exploded. Crew members at the Lincoln South Fire Station attended the fire which happened after a Dyson V6 vacuum cleaner exploded, causing major damage to the appliance and littering the floor with pieces of the battery.

The fire team said that the vacuum cleaner exploded because an aftermarket battery had been fitted into the Dyson the day before the explosion.

The Dyson V6 vacuum cleaner exploded because it was fitted with counterfeit batteries one day before the explosion.

This is why you should not use non-genuine batteries on an electrical product. Counterfeit batteries and have consistently been shown to be dangerous and often do not conform to minimum safety standards.

In simple terms, these non official, imitation batteries don't go through the same testing process as official products, resulting in potentially dangerous fires.

3. Vacuum Cleaner Safety Tips To Prevent Fire and Explosion

Here are some safety tips to prevent vacuum cleaner fires and explosions:

  1. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for use and maintenance. Most vacuum cleaner explosions are caused by misuse or neglect.
  2. Never vacuum flammable materials, such as gasoline or hair spray. Flammable materials can explode and cause a fire.
  3. Do not vacuum up liquids unless your vacuum cleaner is specifically designed for wet cleaning. This can cause the vacuum cleaner to overheat and explode.
  4. Keep the vacuum cleaner cord away from heat sources. The cord can overheat and start a fire.
  5. Do not overload the vacuum cleaner. This means not using the vacuum cleaner for things that it is not designed to do, like sucking up larger pieces of debris.
  6. Keep the vacuum cleaner clean and free of debris. It's a good idea to clean the filters every month.
  7. Inspect the vacuum cleaner for damage before using it. Look for frayed cords, broken housing, and other signs of damage.
  8. Unplug the vacuum cleaner when not in use. This will help prevent it from overheating.
  9. Store the vacuum cleaner in a safe place, away from children and pets. Pet hair can clog the vacuum cleaner and cause it to overheat. They could also tamper with the machine and get hurt.
  10. Have a working fire extinguisher available in case of a fire. Using a fire extinguisher can help to put out a small fire before it becomes a bigger one.
  11. Use authentic spare parts and batteries. Imitation batteries don't go through the same testing process as official products, resulting in potentially dangerous fires.

Remember, the best way to prevent a vacuum cleaner fire or explosion is to use it properly and maintain it according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Vacuum cleaners are a common household appliance and are usually safe when used as intended. However, like any other appliance, they can pose a risk if not used or maintained properly.

The Bottom Line

Despite their rarity, vacuum cleaner explosions can be serious. They can cause fires, burns, and other injuries. If you experience an explosion, leave the house immediately and call the fire department.

Almost all vacuum cleaners are required to pass a safety test in order to be certified for sale, and any models that pose a risk of explosion are not allowed on the market.

Furthermore, overheating of motors or batteries triggers excessive current draw which will prompt the circuit breakers to trip and stop the vacuum cleaner from running.

A well grounded and insulated vacuum cleaner will also help to prevent any electrical hazards.

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