Can Salt Lamps Catch on Fire?
Can salt lamps catch fire?… Well, that’s a good question… I’m a huge fan of salt lamps so let me answer your question and give you some info you probably didn’t know.
If you are the owner of a salt lamp, you must have, at some point in time, wondered if it could catch fire. And this must have made you feel stressed. Before you panic and go to a million websites which ask you to get rid of your precious salt lamp, just stop, take a deep breath and let’s understand what exactly is happening with the rock lamp.
Salt lamps are used to purify the air around them. It is enjoyed by many as it fills the room with soothing lights and instantly brings up the room atmosphere. Before you jump to any conclusion you first need to understand the working of a Salt Lamp.
- The Science Behind Salt Lamps
The Rock Salt lamps work in two ways. The first mechanism is, the salt absorbs the air around it. It should be mentioned here that the salt crystals and rocks are naturally hygroscopic. That means they have the property of absorbing water molecules.
It traps the impurities and releases the pure air molecules. In the second way, the bulb lamp heats up the salt and it releases ions in the air and binds with the impurities, the allergens, dust particles and many other particles which can cause irritation.
- Why Are They Catching Fire and How to Fix It?
The built of the lamp and the materials used in it may cause you one or the other issue. Also, the hygroscopic properties of the rock salt can cause a few problems too. It is important to know what can be the
- The Wire
The wire is the main part of the lamp and the quality matters a lot from the safety point of view. The cheaper wires have bad quality insulation, which might wear out due to the heat of the lamp. The loose wires can also be a big problem and can cause more fire hazard.
If possible, you can disassemble the lamp and, get bulb and socket set up to replace the wires and the socket. One thing you should keep in mind is to seal the Rock Salt and the lamp base nicely to avoid any water leakage.
- Sweating of salt
As mentioned earlier, these rock salts are hygroscopic; that means they absorb moisture from the air and eventually this absorbed water evaporates either naturally or by means of the heat provided by the bulb inside.
Now, it might happen that the moisture in the air has been a lot, hence the already absorbed water molecules are not able to evaporate and the salt is still absorbing more and more water from the air. This causes a layer of water to form over the salt, which causes it to melt. A very simple phrase used here is ‘sweating of the salt’.
What happens next is the water and the salt make a solution which is rich in the electrolyte and these electrolytes help in conducting electricity and might also corrode the wires.
If your lamp is not sealed properly, the electrolyte-rich solution can seep into it and corrode the wires and the bulb socket. This seepage problem combining with loose wires can also cause short-circuit and hence cause the fire.
Pat dry the Rock Salt with a lint-free cloth. You can keep the lamp on for 24-hours if possible. But if keeping the lamp always on isn’t an option for you then keep it in less a humid area and away from moisture containing area like the kitchen, washroom or near wash basin.
- The Bulb
Another cause to the fire can be excess heat. The bulb inside the lamp generates heat, which helps in evaporation of the absorbed water.
But if the heat is a lot it can be dangerous too. It can cause the insulation on the wires to come off and cause short-circuit. If the lamp has a wooden base or has paper material around it, it can cause them to heat up and become a fire hazard.
You can crosscheck by looking at the base of the lamp, the packaging or the manufacturer’s site, which should mention the voltage of the bulb to be used. You should also take seriously any flickering if you see any. As the salt releases ions when it heats up, these ions can oxidize the metallic part of the bulb and can cause the bulb to fuse.
Turn the lamp off and firstly crosscheck the voltage of the bulb. If you find no user-error then take it to the manufacturer or contact the manufacturer’s customer service. If you bought it from any retail store, then do report them about the issue.
- Faulty dimmer
Dimmer is a small device which is used to control the intensity of light of the bulb. It is a very useful device, but if a proper dimmer is not present, it can cause fusing of the bulb or can also cause overheating of the lamp. This can again lead to short-circuiting and damage to the device.
You can cross-check about the quality of dimmer from the manufacturer’s website or helpline. If you can’t then if possible, change the dimmer or the cable wire.
- Shady Deal
You might find ‘unbelievably cheap’ priced salt lamps at various online sites or even some retail shops. You might feel tempted to get the lamps seeing such low pricing, but it might happen that the lamps are not well made. The company might have cut down cost by using cheap material, especially the dimmer and the insulated wires. Before buying the lamp make sure they have a replacement or return policy which should reassure you.
If you end up buying a faulty lamp which you can’t return or replace then you can reuse the rock salt by using it to make another salt lamp with materials you can choose all by yourself. You can get your own lamp base, bulb socket, and the cable wire and ask an electrician to help you out with it or do it yourself.
So can salt lamps catch fire? Yes, it is possible if not well maintained… So follow the tips above and comment below if you have any advise.