Summer is approaching fast and temperatures are already rising in certain parts of the country. Moreso in Phoenix, temperatures are already starting to hit the triple digit range.
When summer weather strikes, as it will soon, one question people always ask is how electronic gadgets handle the heat. Can you use your smartphone or tablets outside when it's 115+ degrees? Is the TV in your summer home going to be ruined? You definitely want to read this before heading outside, or leaving your house without the AC on.
Know the temperature range
To start, you need to get a handle on the temperatures your gadget is designed to withstand. Every gadget is going to have a slightly different low operating temperature, so where you're able to use it might vary.
Check your gadget's manual for the manufacturer's recommended temperature range. If you can't find the manual, look for a digital copy online here, or check the product page on the manufacturer's website.
The safe range manufacturers give for operating temperature is usually conservative, like 50 degrees to 100 degrees. We've used phones with no problem in both higher (it is Phoenix, after all) and lower temps, but it isn't recommended. And you definitely don't want to try it with a laptop.
The non-operating temperatures, or the temperatures your gadget can withstand when turned off, will be more forgiving than the operating temperature. So if you do find yourself in really high or low temperatures, it's a good idea to switch off your gadget unless you really need it.
Temperatures you should avoid
Heat is the worst nemesis of rechargeable batteries. As a rule, avoid prolonged exposure of your handheld gadget or laptop to temperatures above 113 degrees Fahrenheit. Never leave your phone in a hot car or under the sun because the heat speeds up the chemical reactions that make batteries lose their capacity.
Heat can also cause a process they call "thermal runaway." If the heat is sufficient enough to boil the liquids in the battery, the build up of internal pressure may cause it to explode. Also, if your phone is getting too hot while charging, immediately disconnect. Here are our tips on how to make lithium-ion batteries last longer.
But what if it gets left out by accident? If you do leave a gadget out in scorching weather, bring it inside and let it cool off to room temperature first before turning it on. This will reduce the chances of combustion and short circuiting.
What about TVs?
Things do get a bit trickier with TVs. Some people are adamant you can leave your TV in warmer temperatures and others say you can't. Both sides have anecdotes to support their position.
We say it depends on the TV. Check your TV's manual for the environmental specifications. For storage purposes, the non-operating temperature is where you want it.
The non-operating temperature limit varies by TV; but as with portable devices, avoid going over 113 degrees Fahrenheit. We recommend using the manufacturer's stated temperature as a guide for one good reason.
For safe operation, keep your TV in rooms where the temperature ranges from 50 degrees to 104 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you try to get a gadget repaired under warranty and it was stored or used outside of the manufacturer's recommended range, you might find your warranty is void. And make sure you pay attention to whether the temperature is in Fahrenheit versus Celsius since getting it wrong can make a big difference.