30 Spectacular Fails Around the Home
Blazing wheelbarrows, exploding toilets and flaming couch cushions are among the spectacular fails.
It’s never where you left it
We live on a busy road and our driveway’s very steep. One snowy evening when I came home from work, the driveway was just too slick to climb with my pickup. No matter how many runs I took at it, I could only make it halfway up the driveway to the garage before I lost traction.
Frustrated, I decided to just lock my pickup where it was and call it a night. After a blissfully ignorant night’s sleep, I grabbed my morning joe, walked outside and mentally prepared to get back to the old grind. But my truck was gone! I looked around in a panic before spotting it – the truck had slid down the driveway, across the sidewalk and was blocking half the street. Miraculously, no one had broadsided it during the night. – Bill Parrish
Safe, but sorry
I decided to buy a floor safe to protect my wife’s jewelry. The locksmith wanted $200 to install it in my concrete floor—which was more than the safe cost! To do the job
myself, I rented the biggest jackhammer known to mankind and bought some concrete mix for the patchwork. I fired up the jackhammer and it broke through the basement slab just fine. Then it hammered through the main water line, sending water shooting up like a geyser.
The project took some extra time and an emergency visit from my plumber, but you know what? That $200 locksmith would have caused the same disaster! — Patrick Findley
Broken toy box
After several snow and ice storms up north, I received a call from my neighbor, who asked the dreadful question, ‘Remember the garage you used to have?’ The weight of the snow had caused the roof to cave in, crushing my speedboat, trailer, snowmobiles and dirt bike inside. After careful forensic study, I figured the overloaded rafters had pushed out the walls until the roof collapsed. Probably, I hadn’t used enough crossties, leaving me with the lesson that a sturdy toy box is worth spending more for. — Robert A. Jones
Can you hear me now?
Fourth time’s the charm
The ever-flowing water heater
When the plumber replaced one of the heating elements in my electric water heater, I watched carefully, knowing that the other element would eventually need replacing too. Sure enough, a year later the other element went. I checked it with an ohmmeter, confirmed my diagnosis and headed to the plumbing supply store. When I returned home, I killed the power supply at the box and at the wall switch. Feeling proud and confident, I dragged the garden hose into the house, connected it to the heater and
ran it into the floor drain to empty the heater—just like the plumber had done. Then I sat and waited for the water to stop flowing. After about an hour of a good, steady flow, it occurred to me to SHUT OFF THE WATER SUPPLY! Fifteen minutes later and hundreds of gallons of water poorer, I replaced the element. — Dianna Tucker
Plumber? What plumber?
Great balls of fire
I grabbed my son and flew out the door yelling to my husband. Luckily he was able to put out the small fire and no one was hurt. I later noticed the warning label on the can. Now we’re a bit more careful about pilot lights and spraying foam just anywhere! — Jesse and Patricia Allen
Turn down the heat
On the drive, I felt a strange warmth on my thigh. It quickly escalated to dang hot and then there was a worrisome burning smell.
I screeched to a stop on the side of the road and hopped out of my truck and my pants.
Pocket change had shorted out the not-so-dead battery terminals, making the coins hot enough to char clear through the lining of my pants and singe a few leg hairs.
Now I know where the Energizer Bunny gets the spring in its step. — Walt Parker
Well, I tried to hurry.
I was holding a propane torch with one hand while trying to join the pipes with the other. No go—I needed both hands, so I tucked the flaming torch between my knees to free up my other one.
As I reached upward, the torch flipped downward and set my pants on fire! I swatted the fire out and did a fancy two-step to get my pants off. I spent the next hour in the tub soaking off the melted polyester that had stuck fast to my skin.
Luckily, I didn’t have a serious burn. I have learned not to rush jobs—or at least to wear flame-retardant work duds when I do. — Richard Wirtz
Flames of water
She thought she was seeing a miracle, a wonder of wonders—water and fire living together!
Then she remembered the plastic water pipe running right under that spot to the garden spigot.
No wonder. — Wanda Alston
Those helpful neighbors
Overnight we had an 8-in. snowfall and awoke to a winter wonderland—and the growl of my neighbor’s snow blower accompanied by the tinkle of glass. He had forgotten all about the festivities as he kindly blew the snow from our drive—and spewed shredded bags, cat litter and broken jars all over our yard.
We enjoy our new home in Florida, but the neighbors aren’t nearly as helpful. — Jeff Hawkins
Tangled up in snow
Everything was fine until I suddenly hit her garden hose and got it royally tangled in my snow blower. I spent an hour picking out stuck bits and pieces of the hose. Later that evening, the phone rang and the lady next door said her basement was all wet. I discovered that the jarring of the hose had caused a leak inside the house behind the hose bib. I now only snow-blow my own place! — Emil Gaverluk
Quick on the thaw!
In a moment of genius, I decided to speed up the thawing process. I was in a hurry to meet my father-in-law (who had purchased the refrigerator as a gift for me a few years ago), so I moved the heater closer to the refrigerator and continued to tidy up the garage.
Well, the bullet heater sure did the job. When I returned just a few minutes later, it had not only thawed all the ice clinging to the fridge but also melted the plastic liner and shelving!
I know my father-in-law won’t let me forget it for years to come. — Rob Weisbarth
The copper stud
A light went on next door and I could hear our phone ringing. It was the neighbor calling and sheepishly asking if we were having marital problems. (Why else would I be on the roof in my underwear, begging to be let in?) Finally, the window opened and I slipped in, cold and soaked, still tormented by that slapping trim. — Jim Lyle
Last winter we had such a huge snowfall that I became concerned about the weight of the snow on our fiberglass-paneled lean-to carport roof. To relieve the stress, I decided to thread my garage broom head to a telescoping painter’s extension handle to pull off some of the snow. Just as I started pulling, the whole mass slid off at once, burying me in about 3 ft. of snow. The task was completed—just a little faster than I expected! — Brian Westerhoff
I turned on the faucet and paused to meet my new neighbor. When I finally got up to the bedroom, I discovered the hose was actually a soaker hose. I had thoroughly watered my new bedroom! — Joshua Koch
Southern snow removal
He made one pass to get me started and then went back to shoveling. I eagerly got behind the blower and started down the driveway. It was a lot harder than I expected, and it took everything in me to get down to the end of the driveway. On the way back, I was just about exhausted and sweating up a storm. I kept wondering why it looked easy when my husband did it. When I FINALLY reached the top, my husband was waiting for me. “What the heck am I doing wrong?” I asked him. “Old people can do this!” My husband just smiled, put it in gear and the thing took off on its own. I didn’t know I had to engage the self-propel lever. — Carrie Wilkinson
Is it just me, or is it hot in here?
I noticed that it was getting pretty warm up near the ceiling at the front of the store, but I didn’t pay it much mind. I went on to mud the back of the store, thinking how nice and toasty the shop was getting. When I finished up the first coat in the back, I went up front to check how well the mud was drying in the heat, and it looked pretty good. But just as I was starting the second coat, I heard a loud SNAP and HISSSSSSSS as the overhead sprinklers came on. That very long day turned into a very long night. — John Klube
Not so handy man
So being a resourceful guy, he grabbed the cushions from the couch and stacked them on the stove to support the microwave while he attached the unit to its bracket. This worked great—until he inadvertently twisted one of the stove burner knobs with his belt buckle. Of course, the cushions caught on fire. He was able to get the flaming cushions outside before they burned down the whole house.
But he learned that there isn’t much money to be made in small jobs, once you buy your customer a new couch. — Deanna Wallace
When I walked into the house that afternoon, a blast of hot air hit me. During the day, the weight of the old thermostat had pulled the duct tape from the wall, leaving the thermostat set in the “on” position. The gauge read a toasty 110 degrees! —John Lenham
Exploding toilet trick
First I sprayed silicone lube on everything in the tank to help things slide better. Then I leaned over the tank with my lighter, clicked it and…WHOOOOMPP! The aerosol silicone spray I had just shot into the tank exploded. Luckily, I escaped with only singed hair and eyelashes. But now my wife can’t stop telling people about our exploding toilet. — Ron Woodward
While folding laundry one rainy Saturday, I noticed water seeping from the bottom of a basement window. Figuring the window was unable to shut properly because the seal was dirty, I got a small rag and started to open the window to wipe it out.
What I didn’t realize was that the entire window well was full of water. When I turned the latch, the whole laundry room was hit with a tidal wave that completely soaked me and everything in it.
I went upstairs to change and told my wife the laundry was still a little damp. — Terry Jobke