Computer catch fire if left on?

By garyofcourse
Nov 28, 2009
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  1. Hi guys, Im not sure where to post this question so sticking it here. I was wondering, do computers (desktops) ever catch fire if left on too long?

    I am travelling in December for 3 weeks, and was thinking of leaving my desktop at home on so I can connect to it remotely. I am wondering if it is safe to leave it on 3 weeks with no one at home. Can a computer catch fire if running too long? For the record it is a new computer, HP Paviliion e9180t with i7 processor and 6gb ram, bought in August, so im assuming it has the components that are standard these days.

    Also I have an external hard drive connected to it that seems to run constantly when connected to the computer. Any fire hazard from this?

    Thanks for any info.
    Gary
  2. Justice101

    Justice101 Newcomer, in training Posts: 21

    No, I don't think that is a worry. :) I have left my computer on for weeks at a time and all seems normal when i return.
  3. Masque

    Masque TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,212

    I'd Say.......

    ....that if your cabling is neat and clean, you've got no potential for shorts and you're plugged into a "good" power strip with a working breaker, you're in good shape.
  4. yangly18

    yangly18 Newcomer, in training Posts: 242

    as long as you have a power supply thats reliable and its keeping cool, no worries, I think mines been on for like half a year now...xD
  5. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 12,415   +281

    There will be no issue leaving it on, my desktops run continually and I've been doing that with them for many many years.
  6. GothGal

    GothGal Newcomer, in training

    My computer has been running continuously for 8 years...no problem
  7. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 10,394   +830

    There are things you can do to minimize any danger, (if it even exists)> All electrical equipment is capable in one way or another of catching fire.

    With that said, keep any flammable materials away from the desktop., Do not enclose or confine the desktop in any way, keep it away from any heat sources, even a too bright sunny window.

    Make sure the computer is cleaned inside, to make it run as cool as possible. Make sure the power strip is operating correctly and has an onboard circuit breaker.

    With all of that said, you don't have to leave the machine up and running constantly while you're away. The BIOS can be configured to wake from LAN or ring, and the time delay to standby (S-3 state), can be adjusted by you from within Windows.

    So, you call via the web, the computer wakes to your beckon call, you hang up and ignore it, it goes back to sleep. During S-3 standby, the power usage is very low, on the order of less than 5 watts. No real fire hazard there...:)
  8. learninmypc

    learninmypc TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 5,091   +223

    I see nothing funny to laugh at. Not everybody is made of money & can afford to go buy a new pc if something happens.
    Better safe than sorry, anyhow.
  9. learninmypc

    learninmypc TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 5,091   +223

    To the OP. I've been online for over 10 years. At first, I did turn it (Win ME) off but eventually learned its best to leave it on all the time. Same with my XP Pro & Home. Currently, the only time my W7 is off is when I get MS updates & it shuts down.
    I've also learned a pc should be turned off once in a while to clear RAM & such.
    Enjoy your 3 weeks off & have a nice day.(y)
  10. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TechSpot Paladin Posts: 5,765   +1,423

    The topic is over three years old, they may not remember the 3 weeks they had off. :)
  11. learninmypc

    learninmypc TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 5,091   +223

    Thank you. I never looked at the ORIGINAL date of posting. Guess I'm just too poor to pay attention. lol.:)
     
  12. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 10,394   +830

    To paraphrase some pompous a** of a poet, "breathes thee a man with soul so dead, who never to himself hat said, 'yeah, I necrobumped this thread, ****** *******, so what'"?

    Personally, I prefer a more "subtle approach". After all, I'm old, senile, dyslexic, and I seem to have misplaced my glasses"....;)

    Or, they might have met their unfortunate end on some desolate highway, traveling to their vacation "Nirvana", and this thread is all we have with which to honor their memory.

    (Note the clever interplay of "highway fatality", and that which a sizable chunk of the world's population considers heaven, "Nirvana").

    Now Clifford, don't you feel bad for desecrating their memory....:'(
  13. learninmypc

    learninmypc TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 5,091   +223

    captaincranky, I see nothing "cranky" about you. Have a nice day :)
  14. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 10,394   +830

    This is the point at which you might consider reconciling what you think you know, with what you actually know.(n)

    One of our members had a defective power supply catch fire, and destroy a new gaming computer....:eek: Thank God he was home at the time....

    (Granted, this is a rare instance, but it does happen).
  15. garyofcourse

    garyofcourse Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    Wow, this thread has come back to life! I posted this about 3 years ago... was surprised to receive an email informing me there were replies to a question I did not remember asking!

    For the curious among you, I ended up not leaving the computer on, I did not have a "good" power strip with an on board circuit breaker, or more accurately I did not know if my power strip was one of those or not. But as captaincranky posted yesterday, with any electronic device there is always the chance of a defective component catching fire.. I guess the chance is virtually 0, but knowing my luck.... So I chickened out :D

    These days I have a laptop so I take it with me and turn desktop off, and with cloud storage it is pretty easy to essentially sync both computers.. but for the record my desktop is turned on whenever I'm home, and stays on all night, and it has never caught fire. Knock on wood.. :p
  16. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 10,394   +830

    Glad to hear from you, and thank God you're all right. (I "accidentally on purpose" wrote you off to fate, in order to lay a joyously evil guilt trip on Clifford, since he was b****ing about the necrobump).

    And for our novice knowitalls in the peanut gallery:
    High value unattended electronics installations, perhaps such server farms, and radar instalations, have for decades, been protected by dry vapor fire suppression systems. Up until 1994, the dispersant of choice was "Halon". Due to the effect of halocarbons on the ozone layer, these were outlawed. The same types of fire extinguishing systems are in use today, but with a different set of "greener" dispersants.

    Anyhow, speaking of halocarbons, even after decades of its absence, I still miss CCL4. Best parts cleaner ever, and it would put out an electrical fire without further damage to components.(Trying to use water is just such a short circuit creating, damage extending, fool's errand).


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