You know all those news stories about people getting hurt by a vape pen or mod "blowing up" in their pocket?
Many of them were caused by faulty or mishandled batteries. The batteries found in vape mods are not the same as the triple-A's in your TV remote control. If you mishandle them, you could get seriously injured.
The key word here is "mishandle'" Yes, faulty batteries exist, but the vast majority of accidents from all those scary news stories were caused by user error. In other words, the person had improperly configured their mod, used the incorrect batteries, never replaced their batteries, or carried their batteries "loose" in their pockets. This, of course, leads to opportunistic politicians becoming practically giddy and pushing more of their disturbingly misinformed anti-vaping agenda.
Rant over. Back to the subject at hand.
If you're a new or "intermediate" stage vaper, this post is for you. Heck, if you're even thinking about vaping, this post is for you.
In it, we're going to cover some must-know battery info like…
If you're an old hat in the vaping game, this post probably won't have too much new information for you (though a refresher on best practices and safety never hurts). Instead of just moving on, please forward this post to the vaping novice in your life. As we'll discuss below, it could save them from a world of hurt...
Think of this like the vape edition of Scared Straight. Rather than linking you to some of the news stories we mentioned earlier—you can find them easily enough on your own—let's take a look at something that hits a little closer to home.
In a Reddit post on the /r/electronic_cigarette forum, one user posted a frightening (and just a little bit gross) PSA for other users in which he begs them to always carry their batteries in a case.
Here's what happened to him. (Note: not for the squeamish. He badly burned his leg.)
At the time of this writing, that was just under two weeks ago. He's likely still in the process of healing.
How did it happen? The Redditor was carrying two spare vape batteries in his pocket alongside his house keys while walking to the grocery store. His pocket suddenly exploded and, as he put it, "started shooting out 4-inch flames." It resulted in second and third-degree burns on his left thigh. He was wearing nylon pants (probably gym shorts) which were burned into his skin.
Here's how to avoid it...
Many popular vape mods have removable, rechargeable batteries. More often than not, these are lithium ion 18650's, though other types exist. Regardless of what style of external battery you're using, the same safety tips will apply.
If you have one key takeaway from this post, this should probably be it. Your batteries should at all times be in only one of three places:
That's it. There's no reason to leave batteries rolling around on your desk, in a drawer, in your car, or, as we learned above, in your pocket. Make this a habit like now.
Batteries very much exist in the realm of "you get what you pay for." Don't buy knock-offs from sketchy online sellers. Make sure you're getting the real deal. We love online ordering, but oftentimes buying batteries in-person is the best call.
Never store your batteries in a temperature that's too warm, even if they're in their plastic carrying case. Most batteries are rated for use in temperatures of up to 115 degrees Fahrenheit, which shouldn't be an issue unless you live in the Mojave. However, note that during the summer the inside of your car can reach up to 172 degrees. Yikes. Don't leave your batteries in the car.
Occasionally look over the condition of your batteries. At any sign of damage, including small rips or holes in the plastic sheath, you need to replace the battery. Yes, it might suck to have to buy new ones, but it's better than the alternative.
Take care when you're inserting your batteries into your vaping device or your charger. It seems obvious, but if you're in a hurry ("I'll just toss these on the charger before I go") it's not as hard as it sounds to make mistakes—so slow down and take a moment to make sure you have the orientation of your batteries correct before inserting them.
Overall, be careful, use common sense, and ask an experienced vaper you trust if you ever have any questions or concerns about batteries.
This is a quick one. In a nutshell, if you plan on altering or modding your vaping device, you need to really know what you're doing to avoid damaging your battery and/or potentially getting injured.
To get a better handle on things, make sure you read our post Ohm's Law 101 And E-Cig Tech: Understanding Vape Electrical Lingo. Heck, read it twice. It has an additional list of battery safety tips you should always follow as well.
So, you know that your mod itself matters.
Plenty of vape accidents have happened because of a faulty charger or improper charger operation. Bad chargers can overcharge your batteries and lead to an explosion, venting, or battery acid leaks. Don't "cheap out" on your charger!
It's worth shelling out a few extra bucks to pay for a high-quality charger with a few safety features like voltage controls to avoid overcharging your batteries, digital readouts so you know when your batteries are fully charged, plenty of LED lights so you know what's receiving power and when, and so on.
Also, remember that not all power cables are made the same. Don't switch up the power cable that came with your charger.
We're sorry if this post was a bit of a downer, but battery safety is such a very, very important topic that it was necessary. Spread the word. Accidents are preventable.
(Seriously. If you haven't tried it, you should. It's crazy good.)
Until next time, safe vaping!