Strange Explosions and How To Prevent Them

Hot Water Heater Explosion

These are not every-day occurrences, but they can – and do – happen. To help protect your house from these unexpected explosions, noted that you can take action to help prevent them from happening to you.

So what are these domestic surprises?

Beverages freeze

This is probably the most believable (because many have actually had this happen). Remember your elementary science project when you learned that water expands when it freezes? Soda, beer, and other liquids are, of course, mostly water. You want your drink cold, you’re in a hurry, and you put it in the freezer for a quick chill. Going about your business you forget about it until you hear the loud shattering of glass or pop from the aluminum can.

Prevention: To cool your beverage of choice quickly, place the can or bottle in a sink or bowl with a 2:1 ratio of water to ice. You’ll be drinking your cold refreshment in as little as 5 minutes.

Light bulbs explode

Halogen bulbs are the most likely to burst, though any type can explode. The reason is that halogen becomes quite a bit hotter than most other types. Any amount of oil on the bulb can make it heat irregularly and explode.

Prevention: Use gloves, a cloth, or a paper towel when screwing a bulb in. Water can also cause any bulb to burst, so it’s best to use a microfiber (not wet) cloth to clean a dirty bulb.

Shower doors seem to spontaneously explode

You’re probably thinking that you don’t slam your shower door that hard, so not a problem. Glass shower doors seem to spontaneously explode, often when no one is even in the room! The reason is that tempered glass is created using high heat, followed by intense cold, which creates what can be compared to a tightly wound spring under a lot of pressure. When the pressure is suddenly released, what seems to be a spontaneous action is really the result of a long process and usually due to a tiny crack or manufacturer imperfection.

Prevention: Watch for dips or sags that make the shower door rub against something and/or hire a professional glass company to inspect the door periodically.

Pantries are full of particles that can ignite

Hear a pop in your pantry? Smell a fire? Common items like cocoa, coffee, flour, powdered milk, or sugar can explode when they are disturbed. The particles sent into the air can be ignited by a tiny spark, but also just from static electricity or friction.

Prevention: Fortunately, it takes a high concentration of these airborne particles and some static electricity to meet at the right time to create an explosion. Just keep your pantry cloud-free.

Hot water heaters can turn into rockets

It isn’t common, but many have heard of hot water heaters exploding. On a good day, they just keep your water hot. However, if the tank’s safety mechanism fails, pressure can build. The tank can explode, sending it out through your roof. Gas leaks can cause an explosion as well.

Prevention: Have your hot water tank inspected annually by a certified plumber. They check for gas leaks, including carbon monoxide. They also test the temperature and pressure valve (T&P) to confirm that it is properly releasing excess pressure.

From power surges to explosions, these are more examples of the unexpected happening. A home or business inventory of your contents will assist with filing an insurance claim – helping to make it a faster and easier process because you’ll have the information your insurance company requires.