Did you know leaving a charger plugged in your RV has certain risks that you may not even be aware of? Even when your phone or other electronic device is finished charging, the charger and cable may put you, your family and your RV in unsurmountable danger!
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Why Leaving a Charger Plugged in your RV is BIG NO NO!
While we all enjoy our smartphones, tablets and laptop computers, they all have one thing in common. They all need a charger to fill their batteries to capacity to operate.
Unfortunately though, there are some unknown risks associated to wall chargers whether they are plugged into your RV’s electric outlets (even USB), in your vehicle or even at home.
Does leaving a charger plugged in use electricity?
Yes, leaving your digital device’s charger plugged in uses electricity even when its’ finished charging or its’ accompanying charging cord dangles from the electric outlet.
Most phone chargers are a 2.1 amp draw. Even when your electronic devices are fully-charged yet still plugged in, they consume energy through continuous electric draw.
While that may not seem significant, even when not charging anything, it’s still a parasitic draw that can slowly affect your RV’s battery storage.
As the saying goes, “every little bit counts” certainly applies to chargers; especially when boondocking in your RV or camper van. If you’re dependent upon your energy management system to live or camp, that minuscule amperage loss could make a huge difference over time.
Risks of leaving a charger plugged in your RV
We all know fire and RVs makes one hell of a bad cocktail. Leaving your charger plugged into an electrical outlet and even your car cigarette lighter unattended has great potential of a burning hangover headache you’ll never forget or even live to tell about it!
Chargers, regardless if they’re for your cellphone, notebook, laptop and even your camera or batteries, pose a serious threat of starting a fire in your RV or camper van.
Damaged Chargers and Charging Cables
Digital device chargers and cables are subject to excessive wear and abuse. From being stepped on, pinched in drawers, coiled and bent, plugged and unplugged countless times, cables will deteriorate faster than you think. Even if they’re left plugged in yet not actually charging a device.
Even so, if a damaged charge cord is plugged into a charger assembly, you run the risk of shortening their lifespan by burning its’ internal capacitors.
You also risk a fire if your RV’s electrical system experiences sudden voltage spikes.
Where You Charge Your Devices
Chargers also have potential of overheating and causing a fire in your RV if left charging overnight on soft surfaces such as a sofa arm, bed, pillow or even a cloth placemat.
Also true if you leave your phone charging in your pocketbook, backpack or tote bag.
Overcharging Your Devices
Overcharging your smartphone is one of the most common reasons why it overheats. But, you can prevent this by making certain that you charge your phone only as long as it’s necessary. Once its’ battery is fully charged, unplug it to help ensure that no damage to the battery occurs and mitigate damage to the charger itself.
If your charger feels hot, you see smoke or smell an odor coming from your charger, unplug it immediately! It may very well already be damaged and deemed a fire hazard.
In fact, I’ve had to do this with my MacBook Pro charger when it felt hot to touch. I ended up taking it to the Apple store to replace it with a new one.
This is precisely why it’s important to never leave your chargers plugged in while you’re away from your RV or while you’re sleeping. Who knows what would have happened if I left my laptop charger plugged in!
Knockoff or Cheap Chargers and Cables
Another potential fire hazard in your RV is using knockoff or counterfeit chargers that generate heat.
These type of chargers typically don’t have the standards in place to charge your phone constantly with the correct voltage. Cheaply-made chargers may overcharge causing your device to overheat and damage its’ battery even to the extent of causing it to explode.
This is why you should only use only manufacturer-approved electronic device chargers and charging cables.
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Charger Health Risks and Dangers to Children and/or Pets
As we all know, children and pets are enamored with fancy trinkets, bold colors and bright lights. But those attractive looking plug-in chargers and cables and even those chargers with those fancy lights can pose serious injury or even death to our littles.
Since toddlers put things in their mouth and puppies love to chew, there’s serious potential of electric shock should they put a charging cord that’s plugged into a live charger.
According to the Mayo Clinic, “An electrical shock may cause burns, or it may leave no visible mark on the skin. In either case, an electrical current passing through the body can cause damage inside the body, cardiac arrest or other injury. Under certain circumstances, even a small amount of electricity can be fatal.”
Equally concerning, if they chew them, there’s probable chance of pieces breaking off, becoming dislodged in a child’s or pet’s throat and/or ending up in their tummies.
But also, irresponsibly-manufactured chargers can cause shock and electrocution.
This should be reason enough to unplug your charger and stow them immediately after charging your smartphone, notebook, laptop and even your earbuds.
And let’s not forget, especially long charging cords can become a strangulation or tripping hazard.
How to prevent a charger from becoming a potential risk in your RV
The best way to minimize or even eliminate risks of your plug-in smartphone chargers and charging cords is to only use them in your presence while you’re awake. I know we all are in the habit of charging our phones and tablets while we sleep but that’s really, not recommended.
Get in the habit of unplugging and stowing electronic device chargers and cables when not in use; especially to keep them out of reach of children and pets.
When stowing your charging cables, carefully coil or wind them. Do not bend your cords.
It’s a good idea to also label your chargers and charging cables accordingly to their associated electronic devices as recommended by manufacturers.
To keep our charger cords from getting tangled, I use a storage case made specifically for keeping my electronic device accessories all together. That way, I’m not on a constant hunt for my cables and chargers.
If you don’t have the worry of children or pets, you may want to mount cable holder clips to your table or walls in your RV. Then you can still have them easily accessible to plug in again. Again though, still unplug the charger until you actually need it.
Also, pay strict attention to the condition of your chargers and charging cords. Should they show signs of unsafe wear such as exposed wires, forced bends, crimps, feeling hot to touch or a burning smell, it’s time to retire your charger and damaged cables to the trash.
Once thing I do before throwing them in the trash bin is I cut up damaged charging cables with a pari of scissors. And, I’ll write ‘damaged fire hazard’ on my chargers with a Sharpie before tossing them.
This way, others won’t fish them out of the trash and use them not knowing the reason I threw them in the trash to begin with (hopefully).
Though your electronic device chargers and charging cords may look innocent, they actually pose risks you and other electronic device users may not aware of.
But, by being attentive when using your chargers and charging components and taking sensible preventative safety measures, your family and RV will be safer without worry of injury, fire or worse.
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