Is your cell charger safe?

Many of our lives revolve around the use of our cell phones and other mobile devices. They’re often attached to us and are sometimes right beside us when we sleep. This is where a possible problem and safety issue can arise. Every now and again a story surfaces on social media or in the news about how cell chargers and phones have caught fire while plugged in and on a bed. Obviously putting the person sleeping in the bed and the whole home at risk.

Our loss prevention team has gathered up some tips to help avoid fires and make sure you have a safe charger:

• Does your charger plug have a ‘UL’ or ‘ULC’ and/or ‘CSA’ stamp on it? This means the plug has been safety tested at Underwriters Laboratory Canada or the Canadian Standards Association. If so, it ensures it has passed certain safety standards. Visit the Underwriters Laboratory to see their logos and learn more about them:

• Beware of no-name or cheap chargers like the ones you can buy at some gas stations or dollar stores. Unless they have the ULC or CSA stamp, they may not have been tested or did not pass testing.

• Most USB ports/connectors that have a ULC stamp have a thin wall of insulation inside to protect them. The no-name or cheap ones don’t have the protective walls inside and can heat up and melt. This could cause a power serge through to the phone and cause it to blow up.

• Do not charge your phone on soft surfaces like beds or pillows. If the cord or phone overheat, they could easily catch fire.

• Only charge devices on hard, non-flammable surfaces.

• Charge devices until they are fully charged and then unplug the phone or tablet from the wall.

• Avoid charging overnight.

• Unplug chargers when they are not being used. The USB port can still cause damage to the cord while plugged in if it gets warm.

Like many safety messages we pass on, prevention is key. Ensuring you have a quality charger and charge your devices safely should help you to avoid potential fire issues. Please take a look at your charger. If it is doesn’t have a ULC stamp and/or appears to have seen better days, your best prevention is considering replacing it with a new quality one.

The government of Canada has a consumer website that shows recalls on products. The following link shows various USB chargers recalled due to fire and shock risk:


If the plastic coating over the wires gets stripped, it’s time to replace your cord. Also look at the part that plugs into the phone how black it is. That is an indication of heat.


The charger picture above was fine at night when the phone was plugged. The owner woke up to this, the plastic coating had melted. Thankfully it did not start on fire. It has since been thrown away.


Leave Comment