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Today, I read this absurd (to me) claim on what to do if your TV catches fire:

Collect water and fill the unplugged TV. You can fill in only from the side. This is a necessary security measure. The equipment can explode and fragments from the screen will fly forward, less to the side.

Source: https://www.thehomehacksdiy.com/what-to-do-if-tv-catches-fire/

Is this article some sort of cruel joke? Isn't the #1 thing to never, ever mix (non-distilled) water with electricity? The CRT TV is full of electricity long after you unplug it.

How can this be safe? Won't it just kill you instantly, with the electricity zapping back through the (non-pure) tap water to your heart? Why are they giving this mad "advice"? Is it implied that you drop the water in such a manner that it's one big blob falling down at once, rather than "poured", so there is no "water path" directly from the TV's stored electricity to your body?

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  • $\begingroup$ your unplugged tv isn't going to kill you. $\endgroup$
    – Tiger Guy
    Commented Sep 24, 2022 at 20:59
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    $\begingroup$ @TigerGuy That goes completely against everything I have heard, so forgive me for not trusting that for one second. $\endgroup$
    – Jorrel
    Commented Sep 24, 2022 at 21:02
  • $\begingroup$ As long as you don't breathe the fumes. Those fumes are dangerous. $\endgroup$
    – Phil Sweet
    Commented Sep 25, 2022 at 2:21
  • $\begingroup$ if the TV is unplugged, there's no power. A capacitor isn't going to hurt you through a stream of water, and that's only for old CRT TV's. The fire department will just put water on it, and what's the alternative? Burn your house down? $\endgroup$
    – Tiger Guy
    Commented Sep 25, 2022 at 3:45
  • $\begingroup$ At the start of the video, he puts a smoke bomb in the tv. After that, all rules are off. Youtube stunt. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 26, 2022 at 1:31

1 Answer 1

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The risk of electric shock is that charge is stored in the high-voltage capacitors. The risk of shock occurs if you provide a path from one terminal to the other - only then can current flow. This is a danger for repair technicians when debugging powered equipment as accidental contact with the high-voltage when another part of the body touches the chassis or another part of the circuit or some earthed material.

If the TV is unplugged then the loop is broken and, in theory, there is little danger of shock. Water poured into the TV will short out the capacitors and quickly discharge them.

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  • $\begingroup$ It's marginally possible that the water, after shorting the cap, might boil from the heat released, so stand to the side when dumping water. Of course, whether using water or a fire extinguisher on any fire, standing as far to the side as possible is always recommended. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 26, 2022 at 13:33

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