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Will Money Burn In a Fireproof Safe?

By USA Safe & Vault October 23, 2023

Dark blue background with contrasting light blue text that reads will Money burn in a fireproof safe? The USA Safe and Vault logo and a photo of dollar bill on fire.

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Will Money Burn In a Fireproof Safe?


Introduction:

As a gun owner who's always thinking about safety and protection, I've often wondered about the best way to safeguard not just my firearms, but also my hard-earned cash. This brings us to a burning question – quite literally – "Will money burn in a fireproof safe?" It seems straightforward, but the answer is more nuanced than you might think. In this article, I'm going to dive into the fiery depths of fireproof safes and how they interact with something as delicate as paper money. Whether you're stashing away savings or important documents, understanding the capabilities of your safe is crucial. So, let's unravel this hot topic together. It's a fireproof safe, so does that mean your money is completely fireproof? The answer to this question may surprise you. Find out what happens when money meets fire!

 

Will money be damaged in a fireproof safe?

Yes. It depends on temperature – see the temperature chart to know if the safe used is able to withstand a fire. Some fireproof safes are made of steel, and some are encased in concrete. The fire resistance labels on the fireproof safes vary, with fire ratings ranging from 60 to 120 minutes - this is how long it takes for a fire to burn through the material and make contact with all that's inside. A quality fireproof safe will typically be fire-resistant.

To keep the money inside remains safe, the safe you use should be in UL Class 350 at a minimum, or you can increase the safety for the lower model.

 

What are UL Ratings?

Underwriters Laboratories (UL), a globally recognized safety certification company, provides UL ratings for fireproof safes to indicate their resilience when exposed to fire. These ratings serve as a reliable indicator for consumers, helping them understand how safe their valuables would be in a fire.

Each UL rating is assigned based on rigorous testing procedures and is available in several sub-rating times, typically ranging from 1-hour to 3-hours. This duration signifies how long the safe can withstand the intense heat of a fire while maintaining an internal temperature safe enough to protect the contents.

Fireproof safes are usually categorized as fire-resistant or fireproof, though it's crucial to understand that these terms are not interchangeable. A fire-resistant safe is designed to resist the heat of a fire for a specified period, but it may not protect the contents indefinitely if the fire continues beyond that time.

Fire-resistant labels on fireproof safes can vary significantly, with ratings ranging from 60 to 120 minutes or more. This variety allows consumers to choose a safe that suits their specific needs, whether they require short-term fire protection or more extended resistance.

The fire-resistance rating of a fireproof safe will also depend on the type of fire it can withstand and the materials used in its construction. For instance, some fireproof safes are made of steel, offering strong resistance to heat. However, steel can conduct heat, which may be a disadvantage in prolonged fires.

Alternatively, some fireproof safes are encased in concrete or other fire-retardant materials. These safes have excellent thermal resistance, providing higher protection against fire damage. However, they may be more massive and difficult to move.

In conclusion, when choosing a fireproof safe, it's crucial to consider the UL rating and understand what it means for the safe's fire resistance. This knowledge will ensure that you select a safe capable of protecting your valuables in the event of a fire.


UL Class 350:

A fireproof safe with a UL Class 350 rating is designed to withstand severe heat while maintaining an internal temperature of no more than 350°F. These safes come in 1-hour and 2-hour variants, which can effectively protect paper documents and money from fire damage. This is because paper generally ignites at around 450°F, well above the internal temperature limit of these safes. The key difference between the 1-hour and the 2-hour safes variants lies in their endurance—the 2-hour model can withstand fire for a longer duration, offering an additional layer of protection. These safes can be a valuable investment for homes and businesses that must safeguard critical paper records.

UL Class 125:

Fireproof safes with a UL Class 125 rating offer a different level of protection. Available in 1-hour, 2-hour, and 3-hour variants, these safes are designed to maintain an internal temperature of no more than 125°F and an internal humidity level not exceeding 80%. This makes them ideal for protecting heat-sensitive media such as magnetic tapes, photographic film, and optical and floppy disks, which can get damaged at temperatures above 125°F. While they might not provide as much protection in a fire as their UL Class 350 counterparts, they are usually more affordable, making them an excellent option for businesses and individuals on a budget. Despite their lower cost, they still offer significant protection against fire damage.

How does UL Class 350 keep money protected from a fire?

There are two variants of UL class 350 rating: 1-hour and 2-hours; both are designed to secure paper assets to an external typical house fire.

The 2-hour variant offers higher protection and expects to protect the valuables from external temperatures up to 17000F (2970C) as well as keep the internal temperature safe remains no more than 3500F within 2 hours.

The 1-hour variant can survive in the same condition but for a shorter period of time. 

 

The Temperature of a House Fire

The median temperature through an average house fire is about 11500F or 6000C in several hotter areas of the house, such as the ceiling and roof. However, the temperature is likely lower in lower areas such as the floor, which can be around 2200F or 1000C. Although the cases might vary, UL class 350 protects paper assets effectively in a fire. But, if the temperature increases and the heat overdoes, there is a possibility the money inside will burn.

 

Does a fireproof safe protect money?

When paper is burned in a high-temperature environment such as fire, it turns into ash and breaks down to its most basic form. Paper records can be decimated by heat up to 5000 degrees Fahrenheit which is the fireproof range. Paper records will also risk being destroyed when immersed in water or fire-resistant liquid, and they're unlikely to survive well if exposed only for a short period of time.

 

Can a safe burn in a fire?

Fireproof boxes are fire-resistant or fireproof containers that can protect money from being destroyed by fire. The fire resistance labels on the fireproof safe vary, with ratings ranging from 60 to 120 minutes. UL Class 350 has two-time variants, both designed for assets.

 

What can you store in a safe?

What can you store in a safe? The possibilities are extensive. While many people traditionally think of safes as a secure place to store cash, ammunition, paper documents, or sensitive digital data, their utility extends far beyond these items.

You can store a broad range of valuables that hold either financial or sentimental value. This could include jewelry, family heirlooms, antiques, collector's items, or even high-end electronics.

Safes can also store personal items you want to protect from environmental damage, such as photographs, old letters, or diaries. They're also a great place to keep legal documents like wills, deeds, or birth certificates, where they can be kept safe from damage or loss.

For business owners, safes can be used to store important financial records, contracts, proprietary information, or backup data drives.

Moreover, if you have items that you want to keep hidden away for a special occasion or a surprise gift, a safe is an excellent place to keep them out of sight.

Lastly, safes can also be used to store potentially dangerous items, like prescription medications or certain cleaning chemicals, away from children or pets.

Get creative with what you secure in your safe. Consider what you value, what you want to protect, and what you might want to have stashed away for later use. A safe can provide peace of mind, knowing that your valuable and important items are protected.

 

Conclusion

Knowing whether money burns in a fireproof safe or not depends on the safe used. It will not burn if you use at least a UL class 350 rating safe and with a note that the fire doesn’t surpass the specification value of a safe variant.

You can also use UL class 125 but need to increase its safety. Both classifications must meet specific minimum standards before any purchase should even happen. The best option would be a UL-rated 350 (or higher) model, which offers good fire protection defense against all types of fires. 

 

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